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NZ: Drive Hokitika to Wanaka

17 Jan

I guess the effect of the trip has almost rubbed off thus I forgot to continue blogging. Ok maybe that’s not entirely true but the things to do in my personal life and work life engulfed me…

So back to beautiful New Zealand!

It was a long way from Hokitika which is a little north west of south Island to somewhere to the middle of South Island. We travelled along the coast to Franz Josef Glacier which was a manageable 2hrs drive from Hokitika. 

We stopped along the way and saw some beautiful alpine parrots, the kea, for the first time. 

Some of the views on the way to Wanaka from Franz Josef Glacier. We were supposed to stop by lake moeraki but we couldn’t really find a nice spot to look for penguins in the heavy downpour. 

This photo was taken when we all attempted to climb up to see the face of what’s left of the Glacier. Around 30 minutes into the hike a nice lady told us that it’s not suitable for a baby as it’s not the easiest hike. So we all went back down sent the kids and my mum to the car where they took shelter from the rain and had their lunch. 

The husband, father and I went all the way. Beautiful sights or nature all the way, it was drizzling all the way up and back. We were all pretty drenched after the 2.5 hours hike. 

Honestly I didn’t plan the details of this hike but alhamdulilah it worked out alright for us all. 

I would say that the Glacier wasn’t spectacular though, not sure if we went with guides it would have been better. The place though was beautiful and I love nature so being in nature with the husband was a nice experience. There was a beautiful waterfall, rock formations, streams and boulders. 

I think my hp battery went flat so I couldn’t capture much photos but the memories etched deep in my heart. That’s what matters most right?

After Franz Josef Glacier, we headed to Wanaka I think a 3 hours drive. That’s when we first spotted the lupins. It started with yellow ones then purple ones. As we travelled further, we saw so many beautiful colours of lupins lining the roads. 

Basking in the beauty of Allah’s magnificent creations surrounding us. I got the chance to talk about Allah and all his creations around us with Ds1. 

We arrived in wanaka at 8.30pm, grabbed dinner at an Indian restaurant ( there were a couple of them) and reached our accommodation at 10pm.

NZ:Hokitika, Hampden cottage 

4 Jan

We drove Rangiora to Hokitika which was around 3-4 hours drive. 

On hindsight I wished we spent more time in Hokitika, a beautiful cottage in a beautiful town. 

We loved the sparse cottage we booked on airbnb! There were toys, books, games, a backyard for the kids to run around in, a ramp at the back. My mum loved the toilet. The open concept kitchen was lovely. The host had some eggs, milk and seasonings to cook and even bake something simple. It was super clean and tidy. The cottage was tasteful decorated. We highly recommend the place to anyone who would like to visit hokitika. Even the garden was lovely and well-maintained. It’s pretty close to town, the beach and shops.

We only had time for dinner at an Indian restaurant, hokitika beach and the glow worm dell when it got dark.

The beach was very windy and the waves huge they almost engulfed my curious preschooler who wanted to get closer to the water. I grabbed him as soon as I sensed that the waves were more dangerous than it looked. We were drenched but safe, alhamdulilah. 

 I chose this glow worm dell instead of te anau because it’s free. It was actually quite magical but I wish we could get closer. It looked as if we were under a blanket of stars in the Dell. I’m not sure if it’s much nicer in Te Anau. 

NZ: Pete’s Farmstay, Rangiora 

29 Dec

We had a nice relaxing breakfast at Pete’s cottage. There were the usual bread and spread, cereals and hot drinks and cold juice. 

Their kitchen opens up to the fields where you can see the sheep’s grazing and the clear blue sky. 

We had to drive to Christchurch for our meals, which we did. We had Nandos which serves halal chicken and they only serve chicken. 

We actually went to this place called Argee Bhajee but they served pork even though the chicken was halal. 

On our last day we went to this Afghan restaurant. 

I think I’ll have a separate post for food as I had difficulties finding information on halal food in South Island, NZ.

NZ: Collection of Apex Rental Car

14 Dec

I searched high and low for an affordable car rental company and this was the best for a 8 seater car. The customer service was good and fast; I emailed to make changes a number of times and they were understanding but I have to say they did not go out of their way to help you. They provided good service but they didn’t go the extra mile. For instance j asked them how much would petrol cost for a full tank, they could have given me a range instead they just said they are unable to do so. Otherwise the service at the rental place itself was fast and efficient, the were professional and ensured we knew the rules of driving in NZ before they allowed us to go on our way. 

I was made to read through the manual of around 5 pages on their Road rules and had a simple verbal theory test and a practical test as well.

Can you imagine having a theory and practical rest after travelling for close to 16 hours?! It’s for the best anyway, I got accustomed to the car while the staff sat next to me. 

After setting up the GPS, off we went on a what was to be a 6 hour drive which ended up to be a 8 hour drive all the way to Takaka.

NZ: Plane to Christchurch via Qantas and Emirates with kids 

13 Dec

Our plane out of Singapore was an evening one which makes it easier to manage kids. They had home cooked dinner at the airport before we checked in thus what was left then was slumber in the plane.

For me, it is important that they have as many home cooked meals as possible especially since travelling usually means they won’t stick to their usual food.

After priority boarding into the plane and settling down, the pilot announced a delay of around 1hr45mins so we had to leave the plane. 

After prayers in transit area, we realised that we could have dinner for $20 per boarding pass at burger king so that amount to $60! We managed to spend $40 but had to throw away the drinks as it was almost boarding time. 

The kids slept after an hour of taking off and ds1 slept through most of the flight while ds2 woke up a few times to nurse. It was great having the bassinet seat but a shame ds2 don’t like to sleep in it. I wondered though if it is because he is used to sleeping with me on the bed and not in a cot on his own. 

Due to the delay, we headed straight to the gate for boarding for our connecting flight from Sydney to Christchurch on the Emirates flight. Emirates was simply amazing when travelling with kids! We got the bassinet seat but who needs a bassinet in the morning right. Extra room and leg space for our stuff and kids to move around while the crew gave out toys and an activity book for ds1 to entertain himself. The crew were great with the kids and considerate that we would have our meals later because of the care of the kids.

Tips for travelling into NZ: 

Don’t bring fresh food and fruits otherwise you’ll have to declare and they will throw it away. It is also a waste of time having to go through the customs checking your luggage thoroughly so we were delayed quite a bit because we brought some vegetables to cook for the kids in case we did not have time to go to the supermarket.the customs were very nice about it when I asked for an explanation, they said that it was because of fruitfly contamination and spreading to their fresh food.

Don’t bring meat at all.

You can bring biscuits and dry food stuff.

Conversation this morning with my 17 month old

3 Dec

DS: go down
Ummi: careful (as he maneuver his way down the bed, climbing over me)
DS: open the door
Ummi: where do you want to go?
DS: shop
Ummi: what do you need to buy at the shop?
DS: egg
Ummi: what are you going to do with the egg?
DS: cook
Ummi: who are you planning on cooking for?
DS: (his name)

———
After looking at some word and picture cards, he wanted more of a particular type of cards and insisted he see it. I said no as I was about to leave for work, he insisted.

He likes to say push ummi just for fun at times and he did that.
ummi: sayang ummi
DS: push ummi, carry you.
Ummi: ummi go to work, you push ummi

DS kept silent as ummi walked away. Sat on the swing and looked down at his lap. I checked on him a few times. He didn’t try to free himself from the buckles of the swing. He looked so sad it made me sad.

Ummi came before leaving from work and asked for a kiss, he said push ummi and kissed ummi. I carried him around before leaving for work.

I wonder if he knew I wanted to leave for work and instead of telling me not to go, he using reverse psychology on me? If I tell ummi to stay, she would go. Of I told ummi to go, she would stay.

I miss him! Together, we miss ayah 😦

When fathers dress the little ones and are you walking somewhere baby?

26 May

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*notice the bears are behind and not in front where it’s supposed to be.

My little sunshine is taking his first few steps as he slowly stabilizes himself. Alhamdulilah.
@ 11 months 10 days

Korean food

16 Apr

Since we went on a Muslim tour, we ate mostly seafood in places like Jeju Island, Mount Sorak and Pyeong Chang. Only in Seoul, we had the luxury of having Indian/ Arabic food. We had halal beef _ bulgogi and halal ginseng chicken in Seoul.

We had the chance to try kimchi and I have to say it’s not to my liking. Far too spicy for my tastebuds. There are more than a hundred types of kimchi and we were priviledged to try a few at the Kimchi school where we had fun making our very own cabbage kimchi.

The other fun thing we tried was making our own cottage cheese in a place near Pyeong Chang where we also fed sheep. We enjoyed the cottage cheese with some corn crackers and orange juice thereafter.

At some restaurants, we had to sit on the floor, Korean style and at others we could sit on chairs.

One thing in common in all Korean seafood restaurant is the utensils. All had the same metal bowl with a cover where rice is served, metal pair of chopsticks and long metal spoon. Even their tissue box was similar and the watery tumbler. Is there one supplier/ manufacturer only? I wonder…

Do enjoy some photos of the food we had…

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To the goat farm we went

15 Feb

We went to the goat farm- Hay dairies at Lim Chu Kang.

It was so far away but worth it! Fun fun fun. Smelly too.

We learnt how the goats are milked and what happens to their milk. We bought some to try too! AVA has approved it to its clean and freshly pasteurized.

Unfortunately, we couldn’t touch or feed the goats.

We saw some kids in the enclosure.

We leant loads of stuff which we didn’t know before.
Did you know that goat’s milk is alkaline whereas cow’s milk is acidic?

Did you know goats produce so much less milk than a cow?

Did you know the mutton you eat is from Sherpa and not goats in Singapore?

Did you know a female goat is called a doe and a male goat is called a buck?

Did you know the doe is usually carrying 2 kids in a pregnancy?

Here are some photos from our excursion:
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The most amazing 7 months with you

14 Jan

Dearest son,

We are having much more fun together be it at a playground or the pool, it’s a really nice time for ummi reliving my childhood days.

You’re starting to carry your buttocks and push your chest off the floor/ bed. You have this way of moving forward by swinging yourself back and forth. You’ve had your first fall since and we notice that you’re very curious about the edge of the bed. I guess you aren’t able to negotiate distances and don’t see the consequences yet. Your ayah lets you hang from the edge of the bed with just half your body on the bed. I dare not.

You are enjoying the lifts in the air and moving through air. You’re kicking a lot more in the water during baths but that has transformed to other activities in the water.

You’re flexing your leg muscle by bending your knees and straightening it when I hold you while you stand on my thighs or a bed.

You’re crawling already! You’re curious about everything and anything. You try to look out the window while I carry you. I want to watch you crawl!

Your wonderful smile warms my heart every single time! You are so observant now, you even notice your ummi in the dark and smile.

You feel asleep on aunty Robina and aunty Faridah. I think you were too tired. We shall visit her in New Zealand one day insyAllah. You’re a darling to anyone who looks at you.

Lots of new experiences and lots more to come insyAllah.

You’ve had a taste of avocado, banana and sweet potatoes! Actually you tastes apples too but really not for you.

Your Emma mentioned that I’m very protective of you and I’m struggling with the idea of being your mother. I love it to bits! I’m absolutely enjoying it Alhamdulilah. I tend to put up fences to block people I feel threaten my bond with you. The slightest actions, words or even body language of anyone (no matter who) which my motherly antenna picks up will immediately put me into action. Sometimes social rules stop me from grabbing you and running away so I sulk. I’m sorry. I should not apologize for feeling as a mother should but the world is not just you and I.

With bubbling love,
Your ummi