Tuesday, October 6, 2015


All this while, I thought being 18 was being an adult. You go off to college, get your first whiff of freedom. Then I get to 19, 20, 21, 22, 23. The years just blur out into one long fun university period.

I started working and got married upon entering 24 years old. We had fun, like real fun for one year. Travelling, date nights, dreams. Oh the dreams.

We decided to be parents when I was 25, I gave birth at 26.

Why do I tell the story of my 20s in family terms? I don’t know. Some people are defined by their career. Some by their travel destinations. Some by how many houses. I might have a little bit here and there. But these are nothing without my family.

So I guess my family defines me.

Being 28, I hope I’m wiser. I feel like I’ve taken quite a few of nature’s ‘hard-knocked’ life courses. But despite that I’m still smiling, still standing.

28, please be nice to me!!


Sunday, September 20, 2015

Guiding Light in Darkness

I guess it’s that time again where I’m quietly lurking in a corner in the middle of the night writing some serious self-reflecting stuff. I call it lurking, because everyone’s asleep except me and the cat.

I think my weakness is not wanting to show people how upset I am, or how bad things are for me. I tend to compartmentalize the bad stuff until it doesn’t seem real until it’s just really bad. For example the fact that I was on the breaking point last year. I was handling the kid, the house, the hot & roll business & the homestay business. It sounds crazy, I had help with all of them but it was still unbearable.

But on the outside, I looked good, I wore makeup, I dressed up, I smiled and I showed up. Plus I cooked and I was a doting mom to my baby. I put on a fa├žade to keep myself from crumbling. How crumbling was I? Well let’s say that I had evil thoughts of just dropping my baby to the ground and running away from everything.

I’ve no idea how to present myself as troubled. It seems like everything was going great, so how could  I even complain of anything? I just felt so alone. Like, nobody else knew what I going through, and who could I talk to? Ugh. I felt so helpless. I hated feeling that way.

In the end, we ended up hiring a full time helper. Alhamdulillah, it took several months to secure her, but we did end up with a good person. This solved 90% of my problems. I learned to let go. To let go of feelings of being the perfect mom, let go of being the perfect housewife.

To be honest, I now cook only whenever I want to. And that’s literally once a month maybe. Some girls really cook up a storm for their husbands and family, yes I feel a tinge of inadequacy, but what the heck, I was earning for the family and I can safely say that I manage the household—I choose the groceries, I choose the daily menu, I teach my helper our favorite meals, and I teach her how I want things to be done in the house. Then I let go. I also have to manage my jealousy of seeing my baby hugging and kissing her ‘ibu’. Yes, we taught my baby to call our helper ibu because you just have to respect her for taking care of us and the house. It’s about managing hard feelings, but at the end of the day, you gain so much more.

I don’t feel tired all the time anymore. I play a lot with my baby, doing all the messy creative stuff. I also have time to go for night dates with hubs. Exercise together. Eat together. Layan doing mint tea for him or something cute like that. There’s a lot you can do when you feel energetic. You learn to do work faster with more gusto because you wanna spend time with your baby.

I guess that’s why when people complain about their maids, I feel abit apprehensive. I hope they treat their maids right. I know first hand how hard it is to take care of a baby while running a household, so I always tell my maid what I expect from her but I try to be very understanding. And we talk a lot. I’m not exaggerating when I say that to me, she’s heaven-sent. Like Mary Poppins. Yes I felt like those lost and listless orphans. Except I’m the mother.

All I can say is that we’ve lost our innocence the moment we stepped into adult shoes. There’s no one to shield you from harsh realities of life, not your parents, not your hubs, not your friends, not your baby. It can feel extremely lonely in that little perfect life. Of course as a Muslim, I have God. He’s my strength, He’s my guiding light in the pitch black darkness. And He brings me out of it, everytime. I’m very thankful.

Thursday, September 17, 2015

Being an Airbnb Host in KL

living room2

September marks the day me and hubs have been Airbnb hosts for one year and five months. It felt just like yesterday that we hosted our first Airbnb guests. Today, we have hosted guests from 20 different countries and we don’t feel like stopping.

We didn’t decide to become hosts right away. We toyed around the idea while waiting to get the keys to our apartment. We did a lot of internet research. Finally in April 2014, me and hubs decided to commit ourselves to being hosts. We actually decided to give it a try for 3 months, then if it didn’t work out, we would rent it out on a normal lease term; or we would move in.

We never looked back.

Why did we decided to become hosts? Believe it or not, it wasn’t for the money. We couldn’t make up our minds if we wanted to stay in the house we bought, or to rent it out a minimum two years. We already had a rental home in the same building.

So we decided to rent it short term, which, if we changed our minds, we could stop immediately. Plus renting out short term would allow us to take care of the house better.

We also thought that it would be an awesome experience to host travellers and tourists from other countries! We genuinely didn’t think that we could earn much more than a long term lease, but we’re proven wrong.


One of our early guests from France, stayed for 3 months with us.

Hosting Our First Guest

Back in April 2014, I remember getting our first confirmed booking. We were ecstatic! We worked on the house for almost 2 months and finally we were hosting our first guest! It was nerve-wrecking! Our guest was an American family staying in Pahang, with a toddler and a baby.

We greeted the family at the ground floor, took them upstairs and chit-chatted the whole way. Thoughts were swirling in my head, all not very positive. I was sure they’ll hate the place! Maybe the curtains were not dark enough or it was too noisy! We made sure to check on them in the middle of their stay. On the check-out day, we told them to leave the keys in the house. Then I waited for the review.

A few days later, I received an email saying that my guest have left a review. That was it. Our first good review to keep us going.


Tyler from USA having a good time in KL.

Keys to Hosting Success

Over the year, we learned a few secrets to running a smooth short stay.

1. Create a keyless system for check-in and check-outs.

2. Limit turnover times or better yet, hire somebody to do it for you.

3. Create a guide book to the city. The guests will thank you.

4. This goes without saying: install the Airbnb app on the phone.

The Good and Bad

Overall, we definitely had good experiences, save a couple slipups, but that’s to be expected. Nothing goes well 100% of the time. Most of our guests were courteous, independent and adventurous. We never got our house trashed or anything like that. The worst was having a RM5 mug broken and a locked room occasionally. If anything, most of them left the house as clean as the way we prepared it for them. Some even emptied the trash before they left.

I think in the beginning it’s important to let our guests know what to expect. Someone who’s never used Airbnb before have high expectations of your place being like a hotel so that’s gonna be a problem.

The general consensus among the other hosts in KL is the same. The best thing about using Airbnb is that you get to filter your guests. You can have a conversation with them before allowing them to book. Whenever I encounter someone a little bit rude or weird (it’s up to you how to define weird), I immediately declined to host them. This saves you from the headache of having to deal with a difficult guest.

Being a host is not easy, especially when you’re doing it while having a full-time job. Or when you’re a mommy. Sometimes being hospitable requires more than a message and a phone call, and you have to rush to help them out.

And don’t get me started with sheets. If you’re a housewife, you know laundry is our greatest enemy. And it never stops coming. Imagine having to handle another load—and we run a 3 bedroom.. with three beds topped with duvet.

I don’t know how long we’ll keep this up, but right now, minus the sheets, we love hosting on Airbnb. There’s nothing more refreshing than meeting people from so many different countries and backgrounds with different languages! We’ve even hosted a group who knew almost no English. You never appreciate technology until you realize you could communicate in a foreign language without actually knowing how to, thanks to Google translator.

So yeah, if you’re an Airbnb host, do say hello! And if you’re interested to book our charming apartment in suburban KL, go here.

If you would like to host in KL and get an extra RM214 for your first hosting gig, use my referral here to get started!


Sunday, September 13, 2015

The Active Life of a Toddler


What happens if I mix blue and red and brown?

I thought I’d share what me & Naila are up to during the week. Now that I think about it, we actually do the same thing every week! We love to paint. At least I know I do. Naila loves to mix paint until it turns into the color of mud.


Look at me go!

This next activity is Naila’s favorite since she was a few months old. It never gets old for her. On the other hand, every time I find her like this, surrounded by a cloud of tissue, I feel a tear coming on. Do you know how much tissue has been turned into unusable shreds?

If only you knew.

I guess some people never learn to keep things out of a toddler’s grasp (rolls eye at hubs).


Oo oohh mommy is here to take me out of the pool. Better pretend to be busy.

One of the perks of living in an apartment is that you have a swimming pool an elevator ride away! We make it a point to go swimming at least once a week. I do my halfhearted ‘laps’.. meanwhile… Naila cheers me on and try hard not to succumb to the temptations of drinking the pool water!


I want ice-creammm!

The park is a perfect place to let Naila burn away her excess energy. She runs around the park. By the time we get to the car, she’ll be all drowsy. Doesn’t take long for her to doze off into dreamland.


*flips page*

We read one or two books before bedtime and a few more during the day. She’s got her favorite books that she chooses to read over and over again. She’s stopped tearing books to my relief! That’s Naila’s typical weekly activities. On some days that I’m extra pumped up, we’ll do mega projects like cooking together or doing artworks from felt and stuff!

Have a good week ahead everybody <3

Tuesday, September 8, 2015

Favorite Pastime


Our favorite pastime as a family has got to be going to the park. It keeps you healthy, and it’s free! We go to the park around twice a week. Sometimes less, sometimes more. Thankfully we’ve got a park 5 minutes away from home.

During the weekends we prefer to find bigger parks in the city like FRIM. But last week, we went to Taman Tasik Perdana for the first time in like, 15 years! I remember going there as a kid, and so does hubs. It’s in the middle of the city, the opposite side of KL Sentral.

I gotta be honest, nothing’s changed. It’s still very well-maintained and bustling with activity.


Bubble play for kiddies.


Hugeee playground area. This was one tiny section. I didn’t take a photo of the whole area.

I don’t know why we didn’t visit this park earlier. It’s pretty awesome actually. Very big, wide pathways perfect for strollers. We no longer use strollers though, since Naila prefers to run!


What are your favorite pastimes as a family?

Friday, September 4, 2015

Cat & Baby

cat and baby

Hi there, I’m just chillin’ with my homie!

Now that Naila is almost two, we’ve kinda got the hang of balancing the cat and baby living situation. Last week I came across so many adverts for cats, namely, people letting go of their cats. The reason? Because their wife was pregnant. Naturally I was shocked! I started complaining to hubs about it.

Apparently people think that just because they’re about to have a baby, they have to get rid of their pet cat? Didn’t they think about it before they got the cat? It got me thinking about how many people simply abandon their cats for this reason. It’s inhumane.

There are plenty of ways to accommodate both baby and cat. I’m talking about normal living arrangements. This isn’t for the special cases---babies are allergic to cats and stuff. 


Favorite sleeping position.

What did I do different when I got pregnant? I stopped cleaning Chanel’s litter box. The cleaning duty was taken over by hubs, shameless to say, until now! I think number one reason people got rid of their cats are because of toxoplasmosis virus.

That’s what people are most scared about. But if you clean the litter box yourselves, just make sure to wash your hands properly. Indoor cats rarely have the virus anyway. If you have an outdoor cat, then you better keep extra clean. Did you know that toxoplasmosis can be spread by eating uncooked meat too?

Some people just oversimplify the problem by blaming cats!


Really what did I do wrong?

Second reason why people get rid of their cats is because of their fear of their baby getting asthma or allergic to the cat. Again, back to what I was saying earlier. Cats aren’t a 2-3 year commitment. They are life-long. My grandma’s cat lived for 17 years so it’s not supposed to be spur of the moment decision to have a cat. Getting rid of the cat for some reason such as a baby is coming is so selfish and very poorly thought out!

That said, when a baby arrives, do make extra effort to reduce the fur shedding by vacuuming everyday or by confining the cat to a space of its own, until you figure out living arrangements. Keep the litter box away from the baby, obviously.

Let your cat see the changes that are about to happen—the crib, the new bedding, stroller whatnot. When the baby arrives, let them smell the baby’s clothing. Introduce them gently to the baby because they actually feel alarmed by the new presence.

If you think that it’s hard work, well, remember that you want both in your life. Believe me, when they get along well, everything is bliss. You’ve got the cat at one corner, the baby in another corner.

When Naila grew into a toddler, Chanel unfortunately turned into her favorite thing to bully. How do I manage it? That’s another story to tell.


Toink toink!

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