Tuesday, September 26, 2017

How to Be Above Average in Anything You Do

Dear all,

Today I am going to write a motivational post that many people can relate to whether you are a student, in college, working adult, retired, housewife and the list goes on.

In anything I do, I give my best. If I cannot or do not want to give my best, there is a high chance I will not do it or I will put it on my to-do-list and do it later on in life when I feel full-hearted about it. Some things I am afraid of doing like the 'flying fox' last July and I pushed myself to do it to overcome my fear. So it depends on the situation; sometimes you need to listen to what you want to do and sometimes you need to push yourself. Whatever it is, look at the possible outcomes, if it is a mostly positive outcome then I say go for it. 

In this 21st century and in this year 2017, most of us are driven by modern technology and all the social media there is in the world. I remember when I was in primary school, I did not even have a phone. In secondary school, these social media started appearing and I started having a basic non-smart phone. It was easier to stay focus and live the present. I feel that one of the reason people are slacking in work and study is the pressure of social media and too much time spent online looking at non-beneficial things. To be fair, there are a lot of knowledge you can gain from reading online articles, online news and it is a method of socialising with friends. These are all the good side of being online. However, I still believe that in order to excel in anything you do, you must have strong focus. In order to feel happy about what you do, you must live in the moment and feel content at heart. In order to do these things, you must divide your time well. There is a time for everything. To be above average in whatever you do, you must have strong will and strong focus. Believe that there is nothing more interesting at that moment than the thing you are doing at that time. I know I know, work and studying are not extremely interesting most of the time. However, the truth is life is not all about having fun, going for holidays, doing leisure activities and being on cloud nine all the time. Reality is about waking up, doing chores, working, studying, building healthy relationships with the people around you, commitments, cleaning up, the car, the house and then the spouse, the parents, the kids, the grandkids and the list goes on. 

In between those life-long commitments, comes the vacations, life events and all the rainbow and butterflies. What I am concerned about is that social media is implying that life is all about the latter and less of the former. All you see mostly is the excitement, vacations, good food, happy moments. The reason is that is what people wished life is all about. Those people include me ;) However, for me, it is sort of like a getaway where you only share positive and beautiful things because all of us naturally enjoy seeing beautiful and pleasant things only. That is why I am slightly concerned especially for the younger generation that they know their priorities and not get carried away. To be above average in life, you need to focus on what your life is all about. It is not about impressing people, it is about being content at heart, achieving your goals in life and doing good for yourself, for your family and for society. The problem is that when I see younger teenagers, I wonder if they even have a life goal or is it all about impressing people on social media and simply having a great social life. I will not comment too much on this because I am aware different people have different priorities but even if they do not want to go to university the traditional way but have a goal of being a great chef or a great sportsman, that is a goal right there and I am proud of them for that. I know it is not always the mainstream method of going to school, get good grades, get a scholarship, go to university, become a doctor/lawyer/engineer/architect/anything fancy and get a job with a high salary. It is not always like that. People have different ambitions and I respect that and I feel that is necessary so there is more of a variety in the society and not always the same story, the same thing.

So from my observation of people who are above average, I would suggest some of these tips:

  • Have good character. This is so underestimated and people always think how is this related to being above average but it definitely is. To climb the ladder of success, you need good character. Otherwise, you cannot go too far in life. There is a period when people do not like you and this will hinder further progress. Yes, you cannot please everyone but with good character it is not about pleasing people but about your day-to-day interaction with people regardless who they are.

  • Manage your time well. Have a schedule, know what you need to do, know your deadlines and prioritise things that need to be done first.

  • Good stress management. To be above average means that you will experience more stress than the average people do. That is fine. In times of difficulty, I always reminded myself that only pressure and strong heat creates the diamond. In order to shine like a diamond, you need to endure that temporary pressure and heat for a lifelong shine. The shine may fade with some dust accumulating but a quick polish will restore that shine. There is no need for extreme pressure and heat again. I believe in this malay proverb 'bersusah-susah dulu, bersenang-senang kemudian'. It is similar to the english proverb 'after the rain, comes the rainbow'. So yes, manage your stress well and the willingness to have stress will help you be above average.

  • Believe in yourself. Anything seems impossible until it is done. Remember your dissertation or a very difficult report? How did it feel before accomplishing it? Not enough time, machines broke down, I don't know how to do this, there are no guidelines, etc . These are all common when you are doing something difficult but in the end, it is manageable with the correct approach and belief that you can do it. Do not compare yourself with others too much. Everyone has their own capabilities so believe in yours.

  • Stay positive and restore your motivation. One of the reasons why I chose a motivational element for my blog was because I wanted to write something that I could write long-term. If I focused on only educational, the blog would no longer be applicable after I finish my education. To me, motivation is something needed at any stage of life you are in. I wanted to write something beneficial for people in the long-term because I enjoy writing and I have the patience to write long posts so motivation is the best option for me. I hope it benefits people from all over the world and it keeps us connected and motivated. I read a few comments in a few of my previous posts and replied to them today. It motivates me to write more when I realise that it really helps others and beneficial to them. I might not know all these people or met them in person but the fact that my writing made a big difference to their lives is something really big for me. If you want to read some of their comments you can go to: Popular Blog post

  • Empathise, help and be kind to others. Life is not all about you and your achievements. Use your knowledge and expertise to benefit others and help them, Help your parents, your siblings, your family members, your friends, your neighbours and colleagues with a sincere intention. This really raises your status and makes you above average. Some people may appreciate it and some may not. Remember that your intention was to help others and make them happy and that is what matters the most. Your goal is accomplished. If they do not appreciate it then they may be average or a below average person because anyone above average should have good morale and character. Expecting everyone to be your level is difficult. If you spread goodness and do good, it is easy to expect people to do the same. The problem is everyone is at different levels at improving themselves. The other person may be better than you in other aspects so try to easily pardon them when possible. Empathise with people and try to understand why they are the way they are. 

  • Put extra effort and prioritise. You can never have everything in life. Many people can dream to become perfect but it is impossible. You can be close to perfect but life is created in a way that nobody is perfect. Everyone has flaws and needs to improve in some aspects. Acknowledge your weakness and focus on your strengths. Work on always improving yourself. Identify your strength, this will increase your confidence. When you focus on 1 thing, you might slack on another. It may be temporary but focus on what you want to achieve one at a time. For example, if someone is studying and working at the same time, they may have less time to socialise. If working is definitely a priority at the time due to financial circumstances, go ahead and work but then in the person's attempt to ensure the family or friends do not feel neglected, keep in touch when you can. Make the effort to call, message or meet them in your free time. In terms of putting extra effort, if average people are only willing to do for example 10 a day, you do 12 a day if it is possible for you. Judge the circumstances carefully. Do not overwork. Instead, try to achieve a balance. This is all about your priorities in life. If you are single with no children, then it is possible to focus on yourself more. If you have children, your priorities change. So be your own judge of what you can put extra effort and what you can do without. For me, I would put extra effort in anything that makes me feel more positive and motivated. 

Hope this read has been beneficial for you. Have a great day and wonderful week ahead. Till my next post :) If you have any requests for a certain blog topic, please let me know xxxxx

Monday, September 4, 2017

Good News from LittleMissMeen

Dear all,

Hope everyone is doing good and having a great start of the week. It's Monday today and a public holiday yaay. I read online that Malaysia is voted as the country with the most public holidays in the world. Good for people whose salary is the same regardless how many days a week they work and bad for those whose job and pay relies on the number of working days. Anyhow, for me it's a good thing :) 

And yes, I am now back in Malaysia and have been back for 3 weeks. I have not been home for almost 11 months so this is bliss for me. We have done so much in just a few weeks and my brother convinced me to play these online games like CoinMaster and FunRun and Hexar. Oh gosh, if you know me then you will know that I never play online games. The last time I even played a computer game was The Sims and that was like when I was 13? So long ago. If there is one thing that I do not do at all (until now) is playing games. I am just not very interested. Sounds nerdy but yes I would rather read a book or not so nerdy, watch a movie or play sports. Well, now I am basically making the best of my holiday and doing things that I did not have the chance to do while I was studying. I did some travelling in Europe before going back to Malaysia so I have checked that out. Not too much travelling though because I wanted to come home soon to make it for my brother's badminton tournament which you can all watch by subscribing to Erfan H on Youtube. I also wanted to be in Malaysia for his birthday, something I would not want to miss. Well, to be fair I would not want to miss everyone's birthday, my mum, sis, dad, grandma etc but their birthday are all during term time and I do not have a choice really. But for his and everyone's birthday that falls in the summer break, I have a choice and I want to be at home. 

Speaking of doing things that I did not have time to do during term time, I am now writing with eggs on my hair. Oops, yes you heard that right. I do have raw eggs and coconut oil on my hair at the moment. Apparently, I read online and it says that eggs are good for the hair as they are a good source of protein. Egg yolk for the scalp and egg white for the hair. So I have this on now with a shower cap on and will wash it off soon. 

I am just randomly writing now because I realised that I did not write a single blog post in July and August. Unbelievable but true. July I was doing a part-time job in Imperial being a Student Ambassador for the Summer School programme. That was super amazing, I got to go on so many social programmes in London and out of London and met so many wonderful people. I made a lot of new friends and they are all so lovely. We get along really well which made it even more fun. Two weeks in August I was travelling in Germany and Netherlands and finally made it home to Malaysia alhamdulillah. This is my fourth year of studying in the UK and I am so thankful and happy for the opportunity. I made some lifelong friends, learned a long list of useful life lessons, improved myself (I hope) and finally............I alhamdulillah I achieved a First Class Honours from Imperial College London for MSCi Earth Science in the Department of Earth Science and Engineering :')
I almost teared when I received this news. I was in my personal tutor's office to receive the overall exam results and degree results. Apparently, in my department, you cannot get your results online. You must get it orally first and face-to-face or by telephone or skype. She also handed me a box of chocolates that said Congratulations. It was so sweet of her and the conversation was like this:
Me: Thank you so much, I am so happy..
Her: You deserve it, you have been working hard and I am pleased with your excellent project.
Me: Thank you. May I ask is there any sort of transcript or temporary written exam results? I might need it for some job applications.
Her: No apparently we do not have any transcript at the moment. You will receive one soon next month but today I do have these (passes me a box of chocolates) for you to say WELL DONE :)

I was so touched and it was so sweet of her.

Last summer, I returned to Malaysia earlier for the summer break and it was Ramadan. Once I ate and broke fast at sunset, my personal tutor and I arranged a skype session so I can receive my exam results. 

This has been a life goal, something I worked so hard and remained perseverant for a good 18 years for ( 1 year-kindie, 6 years-primary, 5 years-secondary, 2 years- A-levels, 3 years-Bachelors Degree and 1 year Master). Alhamdulillah this is all from Allah...He helped me... In 2013, one big sacrifice I did was leaving home and going all the way to London. It may sound easy and normal to many people but different people have their own limits and capabilities. For someone like me, that was a difficult start and it took time getting used to but I did it and I ended up liking it very much. This is a life lesson for me and for many people that sometimes, things that you dread or do not like at the start might end up very interesting and rewarding in the end. Did I want to go to London at that time? Yes I really wanted to go to an Ivy League University and partially no, I was not used to living away from family and I have never been to or even went for a holiday in the UK. There were a lot of uncertainties and I did not know what to expect. I have never had a British friend so I was not very sure how British people were like. I was not sure how the city was. I was not used to doing everything myself. At home, we always had a helper who did things for me. I did not even have to wake up with an alarm because she would wake me up most of the times. Sounds like a princess (oops) but I was independent in my own way. I never had to use public transport that often. I used the LRT sometimes but we always drive in KL. But when I had to do those things, I learned. I cooked for the first time by myself in the UK. I never had to cook at home or help much. It was all done for me. I learned how to cook from my grandma beforehand to practice before leaving for the UK so that was a good headstart. I did my own banking, my own grocery, cleaned up my room and kitchen, organised my transport (I was lucky that London has a great transport system) and I made friends. Some friends were great company while some taught me a great lesson and showed me the kind of person I did not want to be. Whatever happened, I focused on my one and only main goal and asked myself why I was in London at that time. And that was to get my degree and my masters. To graduate successfully, I focused on doing things that would help me achieve my goal like doing sports, eating and sleeping well, building healthy relationships and rewarding myself. I tried not to be too hard on myself and at the same time, I made sure I was disciplined and focused. I had to pull myself away from anything that was diverting my focus. Having a good time was also on my list of things to do in London and I had a splendid time. To me, I believe in keeping your mind, soul and body happy in order to enhance positive thoughts and confidence in achieving personal goals and motivating yourself each day. If that made me happy, then go and have fun but I made sure I followed my routine and studied and did what I needed to do. During exam time, I would have to wind down and prioritise but after exams, I could have more fun again. As long as I was happy with those routines, then I would continue doing them. If I ever feel unhappy with my routine, I would loosen up and be lenient to myself. Being kind to myself but maintaining a good level of discipline was crucial for my well being while I was living abroad and studying. 

So now, I am enjoying this short holiday before I start a fresh, brand new chapter of my life:  Working Life. Am I looking forward to it? Yes I can't wait to earn money and be a part of an organisation/company and contribute. At the same time, I get that uncertain feeling at times. And I tell myself, you had a similar feeling before starting your degree in London and it turned out great. Stay positive, be confident and look forward to every new chapter in life. If you are at a similar stage in life like me, always remember that the end of student life is just the beginning of a brand new interesting chapter of adulthood. It may have its ups and downs but if you focus on the ups, you will manage to get through the downs in no time and rise up again. Keep smiling, do your best, do not compare yourself with others and be thankful for all you have in life. 

Wishing you all a beautiful week ahead xoxo

Friday, July 14, 2017

Backpacker Tips in Southeast Asia

The Ultimate Backpacker Trip For Southeast Asia

Wonderful South East Asia, the place where movies like The Beach starring Leonardo DiCaprio and Tropic Thunder with Ben Stiller were shot. Many backpackers have journeyed through stunning and culturally rich Southeast Asia to discover temples, ruins, picturesque towns and natural attractions. This comparatively inexpensive travel destination baits thousands upon thousands of backpackers every year with landmarks like the city of Bangkok, the incredible Penang Island and the majestic Marina Bay Sands overlooking the scenic Singapore skyline. Famed for offering pristine beaches, mesmerizing historical sights and exciting adventures, it can be overwhelming to decide where to start your backpacker trip.

First things first, before embarking on the best backpacker trip ever be sure purchase a reliable travel protection plan. Insurance companies like AIG offer comprehensive plans from as low as RM26. So, while you are out there having the greatest time, rest assured you will be protected from abhorred mishaps like losing your luggage, encountering flight delays or an accident. Be sure to also eat healthy so that you are in the prime of health before you begin your journey. Once you’ve gotten the basics down, move on to planning an itinerary that will help you experience the best of Southeast Asia. Read on for my top recommendations!

Begin In Bangkok

The heart of Thailand is a crazy, must see city. You’ll find amazing temples, palaces, spectacular floating markets and one of the most vibrant nightlife scenes in the world. Of course, one must not leave out mouth wateringly delicious Thai cuisine. This incredible country has a plethora of beautiful tropical islands too. Ko Phi Phi is home to Maya Bay, made famous by the movie The Beach. It’s also called Monkey Beach because it’s filled with monkeys. Many backpackers flock here because it’s a stunning dive site and the nightlife is awesome. For a more relaxed vibe, head to a sleepy little island called Koh Lipe. Here, the friendly locals bring in daily catch so you have amazingly fresh, delicious seafood. The beaches are immaculate and the undeveloped national marine park is incredible for snorkeling. Another place that is perfect for water activities is the Similan Islands. The water is crystal clear and the sea life is majestic. The island of Koh Tao caters specifically for dive trips, so when you are there, be sure to catch sight of the infamous Elephant Head Rock (a rock formation in the shape of a large elephant's head) and marine life such as snappers, stingrays and turtles. The most whimsical trait of Thailand is the floating markets, which can be found throughout the country. The Taling Chan Weekend Floating Market in Bangkok is one of the best. You’ll find these astounding little boats that are piled high with colorful goods. Get to some morning shopping and don’t forget to take plenty of photos.


Like everything in Thailand, transportation is very affordable. Local buses cost as little as RM1 and the Metro and Skytrain in Bangkok costs about RM2 to RM7 per trip.  Metered taxis are typically around RM8 to RM13 per ride. Trains are super affordable as well, costing as little as RM7 for a day ride. Then from Bangkok, take a train to Kuala Lumpur for about RM175.

Pause In Penang

Nicknamed the Pearl of the Orient, gorgeous Penang Island is known for its soft sandy beaches and historical sites. Fondly regarded as the food capital of Malaysia, Penang is also home to iconic landmarks like Penang hill and Penang Butterfly Farm. This UNESCO World Heritage Site definitely merits a visit with its quaint nooks and crannies of Georgetown to the exquisite Kek Lok Si Temple. The food in Penang is a wonderful hotchpotch of Indian, Malay and Chinese cuisines and for many the best dishes are found here. In the Kek Lok Si Temple, arguably the largest Buddhist temple complex in Southeast Asia, you will be left speechless at the sight of the bronze 120-foot Kuan Yin statue as well as the beautifully landscaped gardens. This temple is over 100 years old and is also home to a seven-tiered pagoda, which houses a stunning collection of Buddha statues. Once you’re done seeing this lovely temple, head to breathtaking Penang Hill. Rising 821 meters above Georgetown, this cool hill station is one of the most popular attractions in Penang. Also known as Flagstaff Hill or Bukit Bendera, this majestic hill boasts panoramic views of the whole island from the apex. On the summit, you’ll find a restaurant, a Hindu temple, a church, a mosque and a snake show. The Penang Batik Factory is one of the pioneers of batik manufacturing. Set in Teluk Bahang, Craft Batik was established in 1973 and offers a vast variety of quality batik, from block prints to hand-drawn pieces. It is now divided into three sections: an art gallery, a boutique and a workshop. It’s also a well-known sightseeing spot because it’s surrounded by lush, tropical greenery. Once you’ve picked up your beautiful batik, see some more beauty at the Penang Butterfly Farm. Opened in 1986, this popular tourist attraction is also located in Teluk Bahang, specifically at the foot of the hill between the Taman Rimba Park and the Teluk Bahang village. The eight-hectare butterfly sanctuary houses an impressive collection of more than 4,000 butterfly species from more than 120 groups as well as an assortment of other insects and reptiles.


A bus from Kuala Lumpur to Penang is about RM50, while flights can be found easily for as low as RM100. Expect to pay around RM5 to RM15 for a bus trip around the island.

Stop In Singapore

It’s no easy task to decide which attraction to explore in Singapore as this city is bursting at the seams with exciting things to see and do. It’s a must to see the majestic Merlion and the famed Marina Bay Sands Hotel for the most spectacular view of the iconic Singapore skyline. The S$5.5 billion Marina Bay Sands has undergone a transformation of epic proportions. The focal point of the bay has over 60 restaurants, a Science Museum, a casino and many high-end stores. Try to arrive at the Marina Bay by 8pm to catch the remarkable light show, which illuminates the water as well as several iconic landmarks that you’ve probably seen on a postcard. After that, head to Clarke Quay, a delightful riverside development that is packed with bustling bars, restaurants, boutique shops and pumping nightclubs. This place takes full advantage of the picturesque body of water that arises from the city’s main river so alfresco dining at the endless number of eateries is the way to go.

On every journey, you may encounter challenges. Learn how to turn obstacles into opportunities here: https://littlemissmeencollections.blogspot.my/2017/06/how-to-turn-obstacles-to-opportunities.html


Travelling around Singapore is very easy because there are plenty of buses and taxis around. The Mass Rapid Transit (MRT) runs the length and breadth of the country. The tickets are typically around RM12 but can vary based on the distance travelled. There is also an option of purchasing the Singapore Tourist Pass, which offers unlimited travel within a designated time period. A 1-day pass costs around RM32, a 2-day pass is approximately RM50 and a 3-day pass is about RM63. Best part is, there is a RM32 deposit that will be returned if you turn in the card 5 days after purchasing it.

Google map embed code for location pins mentioned in the article:
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Menaka George (menaka@considerdigital.com)
 is a professional copywriter with a Masters in Business Administration. She has written weekly blogs for Malaysia’s Largest Online Wine Shop, WineTalk and over 1000 product descriptions for EBay. She currently contributes digital articles to various commercial and corporate giants.

This article is written by a guest writer on LittleMissMeen. Hope you find the tips useful, enjoy the read :) 

Friday, June 30, 2017

Comparing Yourself to Others

Dear all,

Happy Friday :) Hope everyone is having a great week so far and looking forward to an exciting or relaxing weekend. For those celebrating Eid, Happy Eid Selamat Hari Raya Maaf Zahir Batin! I am so thankful for today. The final month, the final week and the final day of my university life at Imperial College London is today. Alhamdulillah. 

I was browsing through one of the motivational pages I follow on Instagram and instantly thought of a motivational article to write. It's called 'motivationmafia' and apparently has almost 2 million followers.

This topic I felt was applicable at whichever walk of life or stage in life you are in, there is a tendency to compare with others. Even those who you think are better than you also have a tendency to compare with others too. It's a very unhealthy habit that most of us adopt. Whether you are that person that people compare themselves to or you are that person always comparing yourself with others, both situations are not too pleasant and can lead to negative feelings.

I feel that one major thing that we all need to realise is that each and every person is different, in many many many ways. No two people are exactly alike. This is the nature of life. If you continuously compare yourself to others, it will be a never-ending lifetime commitment. At one point, you need to stop and reflect. When I observe people, I see many people who are at the two extremes. They are either too proud of themselves and look down on others or they are constantly comparing themselves, feeling low and at times jealous of other people. There are not many people in the ideal situation whereby they are confident of themselves, happy for other people's happiness and happy to be who they are. This ideal situation is where all of us should want to be. I feel that only people with a good and clean heart can achieve this and be at this level and it is one thing that everyone should thrive to be.

The first extreme is being too proud of yourself and looking down on people. Honestly, I cannot stand people who are like this and I think nobody can or would want to. People like these drive friends away and create haters. They are too consumed by their own life and vain that they forget about others. They look down on other people's achievement and only think that they are the best. This too is a comparison to others. Not only the other extreme. That is why comparing yourself, in general, is unhealthy. It can lead you to either of the extremes. People like this cannot go too far in life, in my opinion, because at one point people who they are dealing with for example a company will want them to go or if they stay, they will have a hard time with other people. The thing is that people in this category usually do not really care. They feel too good about themselves that making others feel bad is not even affecting them one bit. Sometimes they do not even realise it. There is this common act of feeling superior and you often see this behaviour in bosses. That is why you must be thankful if you have a reliable and efficient but humble and understanding boss. Commonly, people adopt this habit or reach this extreme when they are in a high position or when they get so many things in life. 

It's a good idea to remember to be humble and respect everyone around you. You never know who can help you in life, it could be anyone. Once I had a very important interview it was actually my interview in Autumn 2012 to go to Imperial College London and I was extremely nervous I do not know why. When I left class early (it was during A-levels) to go home for the telephone interview, I bumped into a cleaner. We started talking, I told her I was heading for an interview and she gave me one of the best motivational words and support I could ever ask for at that time. I still remember that and we met like on the ground floor, near the area where the sweepers sit to rest. She also mentioned her daughter and told me I would do great and gave me some tips. It really does wonders when you think of how random people can positively impact your life. It's simply amazing alhamdulillah. It's really a matter of having that good morale and mindset when you meet people from all walks of life.

The second extreme is not too harmful to other people but more harmful to yourself. It is comparing yourself too much to others and feeling low confidence. Some people stop there and just continuously feel bad about themselves, but some people develop the next negative feeling which is jealousy. When it involves jealousy, it starts to be more harmful to other people as it will affect your relationship with others. The root of this issue is insecurity within yourself and feeling that you are not good enough in a certain aspect. You then compare yourself to someone who is better in that aspect and feel jealous. Little did you know that that person has their own insecurities themselves which you may not know and which they do not share with people. I know someone who only shares her insecurities with people she feels 'safe' and this means people who she knows will have her back and support her with positive words. Some people nowadays just want to know what problems you are facing but they have no support to offer which is unfortunate. And something I watched in a motivational video about friends is that some friends are like leaves, some like branches, some like tree trunks and some like roots. The roots are the keepers, the leaves are people who come and go and are only there for a certain period of life. It is not easy to identify the leaves and the roots but my advice is to be the best version of yourself and the best will come to you. 

There is really no point being jealous. If you realise, the more you are jealous, the more reasons you have to be jealous of that person or situation. The only way out is to stop the jealous feelings, appreciate what you have and make other people's happiness a motivation for you to reach your goals. If it is a good friend, then there are more reasons not to be jealous. You should feel happy for the other person and proud because it is your friend or family member that is doing great in life. To the person doing great in life should also stay humble and thankful and spread the happiness in any way that they can. That's what they call sharing and spreading the love. Life is really too short for all this negativity and one day, you will look back and say 'I wish I did so and so' or 'I wish I was more so and so'. You do not want to have regrets on your behaviour or actions in life so again, be the best version of yourself and better. To those who have people feeling jealous of them, stay cautious. It is also not a good idea to be too nice to everyone. Not everyone has good intentions and you should differentiate those who you can trust and who you are not too sure. Stay guarded but respectful and nice. Your safety and well-being is also important and it would be a good idea to avoid people who you feel a negative vibe. If you have been nice constantly and did what you could and they are still behaving negatively, stay away. You have done your part and there is no need to waste too much energy to please people who do not appreciate it. Stay confident and keep doing what you do best. 

And that is my motivation of the week for all of you. Happy last day of June! Wow, we are half way through 2017 and happy July tomorrow.

Warm wishes from me,

Monday, June 5, 2017

How to turn Obstacles to Opportunities

Dear all,

First of all, thank you for dropping by. Hope you are doing well and for those who are fasting, happy Ramadan. 

Today I am writing a motivational topic on how to turn any obstacles into opportunities. May it be while studying, at work, in relationships or any aspect of life. Life is a rocky journey and there are ups and downs at times you least expect. I hope this article will give you an insight on how to improve your perspective on any life situation to the better. 

I read an article today that mentioned about the importance of having stress. Without stress, your life would be full of boredom and monotonous. However, moderate stress levels are crucial in ensuring a healthy lifestyle and success in whatever you do.

This topic is very general so I will try my best to write in a way that benefits most people. 

When you face an obstacle, the first thing to do is to not panic. Stay calm and cool. It's not the end of the world and always have that mindset that tells you that there is a solution to every problem. Even if you do not see the solution yet, there will be. That slightest ray of hope is important so that the person is not in despair and lose motivation.

Think of possible options that can solve the issue and consider the pros or cons. I guess sometimes in life you can only choose this or that. For example, when I was selecting majors for university education, I was choosing between Geology or Medicine. Tough decision but today after 6 years making that decision, I am thankful to say I am glad I made the decision best for me. 

Next, you can speak to people about your issue to get different opinions. It will be nice to see how other people perceive your situation. However, do remember that different people will have different views and different views of life so eventually it is your decision and what you feel is best for you. Decide accordingly and although you value people's opinion, decide rationally on what you feel is best for you. There may be a few people in your life that might play a stronger influence on your decision like parents or partner or bestfriend. Whoever it is, your decision will be in line with your priorities in life. There is no right or wrong answer in my opinion. It is just a matter of personal preference and life motivation.

Ask expert advice on your situation. If it relates to studying, go to your study advisor. If it relates to work, speak to a senior colleague for advice or your boss. If it is related to feelings and motivation, go to a counsellor. There is nothing to be ashamed of. If you need help, seek it. Everyone needs help in one way or another. You can be surprised on how much other people can help you. If not direct help, maybe some of their words can help you think of opportunities or possible solutions or even help create a completely different perspective of a situation. When a close aunt passed away last year, I was in London. My family only informed me a few days after and I was devastated and immediately arranged an appointment with my university counsellor. It helped so much with moral support and the good thing was that we even spoke about things that I was not planning to talk about but it was good fun and I learned so much from the lady I met. Another example is when I was given the option to study Geology, I had no idea what the subject was about but I was very interested. I reached out for help and contacted a person working in an international oil and gas company for advice, I asked around and found a kind couple in Texas willing to share their experience. When I had the interview with my sponsor, I was so excited but nervous at the same time. I reached out to an American colleague where I was working part-time in 2011 to help give me a mock interview. I was only in my teens and these were like professional working people but I tried not to feel intimidated and did what I needed to do. When people help you, remember to ask and thank them politely and stay humble. If they really went out to help you maybe even give them a small gift as a token of appreciation. My parents always taught me from when I was small the importance of showing appreciation to others like my teachers, friends and family. Giving a small sincere gift will cheer them up and it's always  good people to make people happy.

Focus on the pros. Every situation be it good or bad has its pros and cons. Focus on the pros and learn from the cons. After all, most of us usually learn from mistakes. As long as the mistake involves a learning process, assume you are on the winning end. 

Make the best of the situation. This is similar to focusing on the pros mentioned above but making the best involves action while the former involves mindset. Look at how you can make the situation exciting. You must be thinking what's exciting about obstacles? Well, look at the bigger picture. If it relates to studying, be thankful you are going to an amazing university or if you do not think your university is amazing, be thankful for even having a chance to go that far. Not everyone finishes school and not everyone has the money, opportunity and chance to do what you are doing. Be thankful and make the best of it. If its work, be thankful you have a job and earning money. Many people are trying to make ends meet. Imagine the beggars and those who are still searching for a job. If your job sends you to somewhere you do not like, think of something exciting you can do at that place. It may not be as amazing as what you wished for but it's something unique and adds to your life experience.

Focus on what you are good at. If all the above does not apply to you, think of something you are good at. Yes, you have that obstacle but give some time to yourself to have a little getaway doing something you enjoy be it art, sports, reading, writing, gardening, music, anything really that you truly enjoy and keeps your spirit alive. Allow yourself that time to unwind and have some 'me time'. 

Finally, have faith that it will all turn out well. You are not in full control of the situation and there are many other external factors. You can only do your part and leave the rest of it to Him. 

With this, I end this post and wishing you a wonderful week ahead :) 

Tuesday, May 16, 2017

How to Study and Not Get Bored

As I am writing, I have just completed my final exams of my final year at university, or at least a major part of it. One more exam to go! :)

I have received multiple requests to write on study tips and today I will share with you what I believe is ultimately a crucial aspect when studying for any exam and that is MOTIVATION.

Trust me, I know how it feels to suddenly feel like you have no motivation to study. You feel like doing something else instead and then you know you cannot because exams are drawing near so you feel down. You get your books to study and you genuinely do not feel like it. You feel like everyone else is having fun, the time of their lives. You feel like want to study but you do not have the 'mood'. 

If you are feeling like this, the first step is to be aware of it. Aware that your motivation is slightly low today or at that moment. So how do I deal with it? Well first and foremost, I will ask myself why do I feel like that and what do I feel like doing? If the answer is simply that I felt bored doing the same thing, I would try to implement some changes. It is very important to listen and be kind to yourself. Do not spoil yourself too much but listen to what your inner self needs and wants to do.
Usually, if this happens after some time of studying, I would stop to take a break. But if this happens at the start of my study session which is usually in the morning, I would try to implement a change in one of the ways below:

  • Change the subject, maybe you feel bored studying that subject.
  • Change the method of studying between reading, writing, listening to lecture recordings and watching helpful Youtube videos and highlighting. Always doing something in your study session makes it more interactive
  • Change the location of where I study. If I am really unable to go to the library or university at that time I will just change position. Please believe me how much this reaaaally helps. I change from studying at my study table to the floor (I even bring my study lamp to the bedroom floor) and to studying on my bed or in the living room. Changing your posture really stimulates your focus when studying and prevents boredom.
  • Do what you felt like doing. Go out, watch a movie or something on Youtube. Make yourself spend some time completely not thinking about studying then you feel guilty and this gives you a push and the drive you need to continue studying.
  • Buy something for yourself to motivate you to study. For me, it does not have to be something expensive. I got myself two new highlighters which I was excited to use and some healthy study snacks which I do not buy on normal days. I treat myself to a McD ice cream which I love every time I accomplish something.
  • Study in groups or with people around you like in a library or with friends. When you see many people doing the same, you will realise you are not the only one in the position and you will naturally feel like you want to study just like everybody else.
  • Have a clear plan on what you need to do each day so you are motivated to meet that target for the day. For me, if I have no target for the day I can easily feel demotivated but when I set a target I am more likely to stay focused until I reach that target then I say to myself 'Well done, target achieved for the day' but if I do not manage to reach that target I will say 'Well, maybe the target was too high, no worries I did my best. Let's continue tomorrow or another day, I will make sure I set a day at a later time to make up for what I did not finish that day. This way I can fulfil the target for tomorrow and only if I have extra time that I will fit in whatever I missed. Do not be too hard on yourself.
  • Remind yourself why are studying, what results you want to achieve and imagine yourself getting that amazing results. It will motivate you.
  • I read before that imagining and believing that you will do well in an exam is so important for you psychologically. Imagine you going to the exam hall and able to answer all questions well and result come out and you excel. Imagining good things in your mind will make it even easier and eventually a reality. If you go into the exam hall with a mindset that says 'I will be able to do this' it is proven scientifically then you are more likely are even if the questions are difficult because you already told yourself it will go well. I am not sure how to explain this in a better way but I hope I made it clear, any questions do feel free to ask me :)
  • Exercise exercise exercise. Your body produces happy hormones and it helps you stay positive and motivated when you exercise. It could be cardio, yoga, dance, anything but do not ever underestimate the power of exercise. If you observe the people around you, those who are cranky and always in a bad mood are those who do not exercise ;)
  • Eat healthy and at regular times. It does not help if you are feeling hungry. You will easily feel demotivated just because you are hungry. This is a no no for me, I always make sure I eat a big healthy meal for lunch and on time. I try to buy different things so I do not get bored. I buy lots of fruits, walnuts, dates and raisins. Also, some of my favourite chocolates. They help me stay motivated when studying. 
  • Finally make prayers. For me this is crucial and my prayers helped me so much throughout. Whatever religion you are, it feels good to know there is a higher power  in charge of what eventually happens and has control over everything. In my religion, I need to work hard then just pray to God and He will do the rest and help me. Its called tawakkal and for me it helps me so much. 

All the best and hope these tips helped :)

Wednesday, April 26, 2017

How To Eat Healthy and Feel Happy

For those of you who are new to my blog, here is a short background about myself before I start giving tips. I am a final year university student, in my early 20s and my height and weight are 5 foot 4 and in the 50s. My BMI is thankfully normal and healthy. I recently had a blood test last year and when the results came out the doctor went through it thoroughly. When he started discussing cholesterols, he said 'bad cholesterols' within the healthy range, 'Good cholesterol' .... interesting. It is well above the healthy range. He also commented that this is one of the rare cases where he sees the 'good' cholesterol at this level and asked me about my diet and what I eat. My iron level is low however and that is clearly reflected in my lack of fondness of iron-rich food like peas, seafood, dry fruits, red meat and internal organs. I do not eat these much. So I now know where I need to focus. I started buying iron supplements for that. It is highly recommendable for all of us to do a blood test and a health check up from time to time. Aim for once a year, if not then once two years. Put a reminder on your phone for this. 

About the good cholesterol, it seems like a few things contributed to this. I like eating salmon which is common in the UK. I always remove the fatty parts of meat and most of the time even the chicken skin. I like eating chicken breast because it is easy to eat (no bones) and has no skin. I really like whole grain bread. I started putting olive oil in my salad and use vegetable oil or sunflower oil before frying food. When I fry something I soak out most of the oil using loads of kitchen paper and only eat it when most of the oil is gone. I love love orange and grapefruit which apparently are high fibre fruits and good to lower bad cholesterol levels. I eat chocolate with hazelnut & dates with pecans. Two of my ultimate favourite combinations. I started eating avocado out of curiosity because it is so common here in the UK and its green. I like anything green usually. I like spinach and basically all those green veggie like broccoli, salad, celery, cucumber, lettuce, anything green you can think of except for courgette (I do not like soft veggie too much so I started buying less avocado, I like the crunchy ones better). Salad for dinner or with lunch happens at least 4 times out of the 7 days a week. In a way, some of the things I like are healthy by chance. I have been eating salad for instance since the age of 3 or 4. It was very common at home as my dad had a garden and planted so many veg and fruits and I loved it. Maybe that is where my love for veg and fruits started. My boyfriend says that I literally am half vegetarian because most of the time, 2 of the 3 main meals I eat a day are all vegetarian -friendly. But no, I am not vegetarian. The meat I eat is only chicken, beef or lamb. I like these especially during lunch or chicken cubes in my salad. 

                                         Image result for green vegetables

So what do I eat in the day? 

Image result for mark spencer pecan cerealBreakfast: The first thing I consume in the morning is a quarter glass of lemon juice for detoxifying purposes. I just cut a small slice of lemon and add hot water or some people add it with sugar but I am fine with just lemon and water as I like sour things. I used to enjoy eating cereal with milk. I like this pecan and maple. I absolutely love this! However, this year I seem to be fond of eating bread for breakfast because I tend to get hungry early if I just eat cereal. As I am speaking, I literally have been surviving on cereal for breakfast for 3 years and only this year I started eating more peanut butter and Nutella sandwiches or baked beans with toast or tuna sandwiches which I would prepare quickly in the morning before starting my day. A cup of black tea is a must. I am a big fan of tea. 

Lunch: This is the main meal for me in the day. I eat a really big lunch. I would cook my lunch on the weekends or eat at the university cafeteria on the weekdays. I would normally eat rice with chicken or salmon and a veggie/salad side. Sometimes I would have pasta with chicken or beef. Once in a while, I would have a shawarma wrap. Whatever it is, it must be anything heavy. I can rarely survive on sandwiches or just baguettes for lunch. I remember during my field trips I used to get hungry because I would only eat light lunches. Whenever I do not have a chance to eat a heavy lunch (which happens rarely) I would get so hungry by 5 pm and would need to eat a heavy dinner earlier than usual. If I eat a heavy lunch, I can have a light dinner. It's easier for me because then I do not have to cook in the weekdays. 

Dinner: Salad is the norm. If I am hungry I would add chicken cubes that I stir fry with mixed herbs and turmeric and salt. If I do not have the patience to cook chicken, I would just make eggs and toast and sometimes with broccoli. If I am feeling too hungry, I would just buy chicken wings at a shop opposite my house. I am lucky that there are so many halal options in London, even at university. Sometimes when I am not hungry like last night, I just had grapefruit for dinner with a cup of hot milk and plain biscuits. That is something about me. I like many things plain. I do not like too much flavour. People have commented on this a couple of times. I could just eat white rice as it is because it is so yummy to me and quite sweet. I could also just eat a French baguette or toasted bread just like that. I like the original taste of food without anything mixed with it. 

Image result for picklesSo, if I make sure I have these 3 meals in a day, I would less likely eat tidbits and junk food. However, I do drink a lot of tea. Like today, morning black tea, afternoon milk tea and night (recently) decaffeinated earls grey tea. To me, it helps with digestion and that is what I aim for so I won't eat too much. Also, I try to eat a lot in the day when I have more time to digest it compared to at night when I just have a few hours before sleeping. I eat a lot of fruits as snacks. Pickles are also my all-time favourite finger food.


                                        Image result for tea

                                       Image result for tea

Image result for lemon and poppy seed muffinsI am one of those people who believe life is too short to put too many restrictions on yourself. Eat well and enjoy what I eat is what I aim for when planning my diet. I love hazelnut coffee cake, blueberry muffins, lemon and poppyseed muffins, ice cream (I just had one today, I treated myself as soon as I came out of the library), potato chips and chocolates. Do I restrict myself? Well, not really. I still allow myself to eat these but I choose one a day. I do not go eating all of this in a day. So I choose one or two if I feel like it. If I do not feel like it I do not make it a must to eat one of these every day. Also, try eating sweet things and these in the middle of the day and when you are busy so that you can burn the calories sooner. It is important to eat what you crave for. Otherwise, you might end up eating a lot. You eat everything and still not feel full. So my tactic to ensure I do not eat too much is to ensure that I do fulfil the cravings from time to time. When you eat what you like you also feel happy. So this also helps with feeling happy.

Image result for mark spencer coffee cake                                           

The thought of eating healthy food makes me feel happy about myself and my body. Also, do not worry too much about gaining any extra weight. Remember to balance it with exercise at least 3 times a week. And for women, adding some weight would be helpful to enhance the curves (speaking from experience ;) There are is so many exercises even on youtube and there should be no excuse to spend at least 15 minutes every time you exercise. 

Listen to your likes and dislikes and try to balance the two. Eat healthy food yet still eat the food you enjoy, I do not like garlic but I swallow some small garlic pieces from time to time to keep me healthy. Read up on the benefits of garlic. Hope some of these tips helped and all the best with eating healthy and staying happy! :)