September

Salam!

School was out for a week and term 4 is starting in 2 days time. I’m starting to feel bittersweet ‘cos once again, almost all of my kids are graduating. This time more are going to Pathlight and mainstream, Alhamdulillah! But then again, that is when my worry starts to kick in. Will they be okay?  This is my third year taking the graduating class but I don’t think I can ever get used to seeing my kids leaving for their ‘big school’ aka primary school and not worry at all. I guess this is where I should just Let Go and Let God and have faith in them to be okay. #overlyattachedteacher

So, 12 weeks of school term? Lets go!

#selfreminder tough times don’t last, the results will show/not show but I will try harder, work harder, have more patience, breathe, motivate more, laugh more, play more, enjoy the learning journey more for my kids.

Till the next post,
Aqh x

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September

Vendor Review

Finally! My long-awaited post is here! Sorry that it has been a delay cos my time was mostly occupied with work and family. So since I’ve some time in my hand today, (yay to finishing PTMs and case conferences) let me get some blogging done. Firstly, I would like to apologise for the lack of pictures for some vendors as I’m still waiting for the official photos to be ready.

Catering/Decor/Bride’s Room – Vynella

Working with Ella & husband has been a breeze. The food was yummy! (As told by my friends and family members) The dias/pelamin that I wanted was easily delivered by them. I particularly requested for the hexagon at the back to add a touch of modern to the whole setting. I’ve also requested Vynella to do up my bridal room and boy, I was not disappointed! In love with the corner of the room and also the fairy lights behind the curtains!

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        Credits: Vynella’s Instagram

 Credits: My own

 

Bridal – The Wedding Brocade

At the initial stage of our wedding preps, Anuar and I have already decided that we wanted Wedding Brocade to be our bridal. The mak andam/MUA , Eza was punctual, super friendly and easy-going. Her makeup skills were really the main reason why I look how I did on my nikah and sanding. Even my friends were impressed with the look. She doesn’t only make me look beautiful, she also made me feel beautiful! Hence why I chose her again to make me up for our post wedding shoot (still pending). Totally looking forward to working with her again. Here’s some pictures that Nafimages have sent us the day after the sanding.

Credits: Nafimages

Photography – Nafimages

Who doesn’t know Nafimages. He’s also one of those vendors where we have decided upon at our initial stage of our wedding preps. Do take a look at his Instagram page and you’ll know what I mean. He worked together with Harun on both my Nikah and Sanding day and I’m thankful that we have chosen Naf. They are a fun bunch and photo taking with them was such a breeze. Looking forward to our post-wedding shoot!

Credits: Nafimages

Videography – Redtape Projects 

This is also one of the vendors that we have decided upon at our initial stage of our wedding preps. Nafimages and Redtape have a lot of history working together hence why the chemistry that they had on that day was nothing but fun fun fun! They were extremely friendly. I didn’t get to catch the names of the videographers but once I do, I’ll definitely give them a shout out!

Kompang – Akrab

Love love love their performance! Definitely a fun bunch and they definitely put up a great show at both sides of our event. Definitely, no regrets having them to perform on our sanding!

Bouquet & Wedding Car – Cherriesmitten

Since there is a collaboration of Cherriesmitten and wedding brocade, there are no delivery charges for the bouquet. (YAY!) Cherriesmitten has done it again with their lovely bouquet for my event. They also have provided a great driver for the wedding car. He was accommodating and even went an extra mile to ensure that our event was smooth in terms of transportation. However, I do agree that our wedding car is on the pricier side but I have no regrets taking them due to the great service that they have rendered.

Dulang/Trays – Ola Lola

I have seen Ola Lola works most of the time when I attended my friend’s wedding hence why we chose to get them to decorate our dulang/trays. Arfah is such an easy-going lady and her work has definitely met our expectations. The items are also very secure and it feels safe handling the dulang/trays around.

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Credits: My own

Henna & Henna party – Qfcreations

The girl who have the same name as me! One of the reasons why I chose her was because she is Anuar’s friend’s wife and the main reason why I get her was because of her work! Totally in love with the floral design that she did on me and of course the amazing dark stains of her henna. My bridesmaid had a great time and in love with the designs of their henna too. Qf even gave a balm to protect my henna from any contact with water and a spray to ensure that the henna stays wet and stays on my hand longer. Hence why I chose her to do my henna for our post wedding shoot too!

Credits: My Own

Wedding cake – Spatula Bakery

Anuar loves their red velvet cake hence why we chose Spatula Bakery! The designs and the taste of the cake definitely are the main factor why we chose Spatula. Never a disappointment!

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Credits: My own
Disclaimer: Cheesy picture of us (HAHA), please focus on the beautiful cake.

Wedding card – Kadlawo

With affordable packages and beautiful card designs, choosing Kadlawo has definitely been a great decision. The only con is that we have to take the time to travel to JB to choose our designs and to collect them.

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Credits: Kadlawo

Bridesmaid Kit – DIY/The Hanger Artist

I personally DIY the bridesmaid kit. YAY me. I bought some of my items at carousell (the box, mini perfume), SASA & Watsons (biore wipes, wet tissues, tissues, safety pins, hair clip, plasters). I got my cloth/kain at Batam (I can’t remember the name of the shop). I got my hangers at The Hanger Artist. I chanced upon them/my friend recommended me to them because of their great reviews. Their service was the best and they have exceeded my expectations. Do take a look at their page on Facebook and you will be amazed. I’ve gotten my personalised ‘bridesmaid card’ on Etsy and I am in awe of the card quality and workmanship. We also have gotten the wax seal from carousell and I had lots of fun just stamping the seal on the wedding card.

Credits: My own

I would also like to take this opportunity to thank my bridesmaids and groomsmen for making sure that our event went smoothly. I can never thank all of you enough and may Allah s.w.t repay all the great deeds (sweat and tiredness) that you all have given us on our event day! I love every single one of you! Thank you! ❤

 

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Credits: Nafimages

This is the longest post I’ve written so far this year. Will definitely look forward to updating more once I’ve received the official photographs from Nafimages. Do leave a comment if you have any questions regarding the vendors stated above. InsyaAllah I’ll do my utmost best to answer.

Till then, have a great Ramadan!

Aqh, x

Vendor Review

Change in Blog address

Hello everyone! 😀 I’ve recently changed my blog address – aqhltf.wordpress.com
So, this will be my personal blog as the mister have his own personal blog – anuartahir.com (do check it out!)

Currently, I’m pretty busy with review and goal writing cos it’s the review period once again!! Will do a decent update (I promise) once I’ve settled my case conferences and Parent Teacher Meetings!

Till then,
Ramadan Kareem!

Aqh,
x

Change in Blog address

One month later

Salaam everyone!

Wow, time really flies! It has been a month plus since we became man & wife! Life has been great so far. The wedding went on as planned, alhamdulillah! Well, except for the timeline which is expected since the mister stays at Choa Chu Kang while I’m all the way at Hougang. (Will do a vendor review in the next post, InsyaAllah.) Went for a cousin’s wedding yesterday and I totally missed the ‘Wedding atmosphere’. (Am I the only one? Haha) Sitting on the dais, having friends and families over and just feeling blessed. ‘Twas the happiest event thus far in 2017. Hence my only advice to my fellow BTBs is to just have fun & sink in every moment with tawakul. InsyaAllah everything will be as planned & even if it didn’t, I’m sure you can overcome it with faith that Allah is the best of planners. (:

The honeymoon was great & I really wish it never ended! 12 days really zoomed by in a blink of an eye! (Refer to my previous post – The campervan life – New Zealand for the deets) Days after that were a blur cos we both are busy working most of the time. But we are planning for something exciting together. InsyaAllah I’ll reveal it soon once we are able to kick start our plans. I’ll keep it here for now.
Aqidah, x

One month later

The Campervan Life – New Zealand

Sharing my Road trip itinerary with you guys!

Date: 20 March – 1 April 2017

8 Days Roadtrip by Campervan + 4 Days Airbnb & SUV

After much discussion fiancée’ (now wife), we decided to go for a 12 days adventurous and laid back trip for our honeymoon. Where else than to experience kiwi (better known as New Zealand) life, up close and personal by campervan (equipped with queen bed, shower, a television, cooking utensils and stove) for 8 days and live a laidback life by living among the locals in an AIRBNB apartment for the last four days?campervan (equipped with queen bed, shower, a television, cooking utensils and stove) for 8 days and live a laidback life by living among the locals in an AIRBNB apartment for the last four days?

In hindsight, we know our first leg of the trip would be risky as we would have to drive hundreds and thousands of kilometers. But trust me, the trade-off is well worth it. Stunning landscapes and vistas are just two of many things that you can experience while driving. I’ll post pics along the way to show just how beautiful NZ is.

1. GETTING TO NZ

1.1 Singapore (SIA flight) > Sydney (ANZ transit flight) > Queenstown, NZ

2. GENERAL TIPS

2.1. Get a SIM card. I recommend SPARK NZ. They have the best coverage according to locals and from my experience. A 3 GB data plan cost around NZD 50. It is more than sufficient unless you are planning to upload videos on Instagram. Option to top up data is also available.coverage according to locals and from my experience. A 3 GB data plan cost around NZD 50. It is more than sufficient unless you are planning to upload videos on Instagram. Option to top up data is also available.coverage according to locals and from my experience. A 3 GB data plan cost around NZD 50. It is more than sufficient unless you are planning to upload videos on Instagram. Option to top up data is also available.

2.2 Use Google Maps. This is a no brainer, I live by Google maps to get me around anywhere. Locally and internationally.

2.3 Download and use campermate app. It gives you information on the nearest camp sites, diners and eateries as well as dumping stations.campermate app. It gives you information on the nearest camp sites, diners and eateries as well as dumping stations.

3. TRIP BREAKDOWN

3.1 Queenstown > Twizel > Glentanner > Mount Cook > Lake Tekapo > Lake Wanaka > Queenstown > Kingston > QueenstownCook > Lake Tekapo > Lake Wanaka > Queenstown > Kingston > Queenstown

4. CAMPERVAN & DRIVING THERE

4.1 We booked a Campervan via an online platform called MightyCamper. (we did some research on trustworthy campervan companies before booking) We booked the campervan for a week as we had plans for a laidback segment for the last 4 days of our trip.we did some research on trustworthy campervan companies before booking) We booked the campervan for a week as we had plans for a laidback segment for the last 4 days of our trip.

4.2 Our campervan is called Mighty Deuce. The campervan is equipped with a stove, cooking utensils, toilet and shower and a comfy bed cum dining area.campervan is called Mighty Deuce. The campervan is equipped with a stove, cooking utensils, toilet and shower and a comfy bed cum dining area.

4.3 Coming from SG, our driving license is internationally recognized and there was no problem for MightyCamper to process the rental agreement and I drove off as soon as it was approved. They have an in-built GPS with tutorials on how to operate the kitchen, electrical appliances and the shower. It is crucial to learn these as you will definitely use them on your road trip.in-built GPS with tutorials on how to operate the kitchen, electrical appliances and the shower. It is crucial to learn these as you will definitely use them on your road trip.

4.4. The roads are fairly easy to drive. If you are opting for a campervan, be sure to drive safely and defensively. The road limit is 100km/h. It might seem fast but in reality, its quite slow as the roads are long and winding. The winds are strong and you must have a strong grip on the steering wheel. Don’t be surprised if you see sheeps crossing, be sure to whip out your cameras to document that special moment. Oh and the roads are two way, so if you need to overtake, you have to cut through the opposing lane. And be sure to slow down when others are trying to overtake you.campervan, be sure to drive safely and defensively. The road limit is 100km/h. It might seem fast but in reality, its quite slow as the roads are long and winding. The winds are strong and you must have a strong grip on the steering wheel. Don’t be surprised if you see sheeps crossing, be sure to whip out your cameras to document that special moment. Oh and the roads are two way, so if you need to overtake, you have to cut through the opposing lane. And be sure to slow down when others are trying to overtake you.Oh and the roads are two way, so if you need to overtake, you have to cut through the opposing lane. And be sure to slow down when others are trying to overtake you.

4.5 Parking the campervan is quite hard in big towns such as Queenstown. There are pay & display parking areas where you pay a fee to park your campervan. Just display the receipt on your dashboard and you are good to go. I remembered paying NZD 2.50 for whole day parking. Oh and remember there are certain places where you can’t park the campervan as it is huge. Plus there are parking areas with 30, 60, 120 and 240mins free parking.campervan is quite hard in big towns such as Queenstown. There are pay & display parking areas where you pay a fee to park your campervan. Just display the receipt on your dashboard and you are good to go. I remembered paying NZD 2.50 for whole day parking. Oh and remember there are certain places where you can’t park the campervan as it is huge. Plus there are parking areas with 30, 60, 120 and 240mins free parking.

4.6. Parking the campervan in the open roadsides in the countryside is permissible. Be sure not to block the traffic. Just prep your camera or drones (if you have) to take scenic pictures and videos!

4.7 If you come across any powered camp sites along the journey, be sure to visit them! On average, they cost roughly 25-30 NZD per pax. They provide 240 volts’ power to your campervan so that it can provide power to appliances such as the radiator and the power sockets. They also provide hot showers, self-cook kitchen, laundries and BBQ pits. I made sure to visit them. It makes things much easier in terms of amenities.

4.8 You are also responsible for basic upkeep of the vehicle. If you shower or use the toilet in the vehicle, the excess water and waste will have to go somewhere. Fortunately, the campervan has a good sanitation outlet. Once in every few days, it is recommended for you to remove excess waste by dumping it in a dumping station. Use campermate app to find the nearest dumping station.

5. FOOD & BEVERAGE

5.1 Food is aplenty and I heard their beef steaks are to die for. As a Muslim, I cannot eat them unless they are halal. To satisfy our hunger we only ate fish(Salmon especially) and kebabs. At least they are halal!

5.2 Visit supermarkets such as Four Square and New World often to top up your groceries. If you are into Asian food, try out Asian Food Mart. You can cook them in your campervan!

5.3 You have to definitely try Patagonia Chocolates. Best of its kind!

6. AIRBNB

6.1 We booked an Airbnb apartment in Kingston, about 30 mins drive away from Queenstown. We booked it months before our trip and we fell in love with the décor of the house. The hosts were warm and friendly and gave us a head’s up a compendium of what to do i.e outdoor activities. Nothing much special about this 2nd leg of the honeymoon. The adventure was the campervan trip.

7. ACTIVITIES

7.1 We booked our activities via a travel agent/consultant in Queenstown. We booked from Freedom Travel, located in the heart of Queenstown. Our agent, Sabine was nice enough to recommend us the best activities to do in Queenstown. She gave us a hardcopy schedule to take note of our booked activities. We just have to make sure to be at the location on time. The campervan/car really helped a lot in getting us around.

7.2 Here are the activities we booked during our honeymoon

• Glacier Explorer booked @ Mount Cook Activity Centre
• Skydive Wanaka
• Skippers JetBoat @ Queenstown
• Scenic Helicopter Ride @ Queenstown
• Skyline Gondola & Luge + Restaurant at Stratosfare @ Queenstown
• Puzzling World @ Wanaka
• Milford Sound Cruise @ Milford Sound

7.3 These are paid activities, the real gem came from the road trip itself. I will tell you more about the road trip in point 8.

8. ROADTRIP

8.1 The road trip started off in Queenstown on the first day and we headed off to buy and stock up our groceries at New World supermarket. We also bought our sim cards at Queenstown centre. Do take note to buy SPARK NZ sim cards. Vodafone’s signal strength was dodgy. Once we are done with admin stuff, we headed off to 12 Mile Delta near the Queenstown Centre. We overnighted there.

8.2 The next day we booked our activities through our travel agent at Queenstown Centre and paid cash upfront for all the activities. The activities will be done during the 2nd leg of our honeymoon. Once we booked the activities, we headed straight to Mount Cook.

8.3 The journey to Mount Cook was a very long one. Approx 4 hour + drive. We made sure there was enough diesel for the journey. We made a pitstop at Twizel to have dinner at Jasmine Thai Restaurant before continuing our journey.

8.4 From Twizel to Mount Cook highway was a short one if im not wrong. About 1 -2 hour drive left. Before my wife and I continued our final drive to Mount Cook, we booked two nights stay at Glentanner Holiday Park. About 25 NZD per pax for a night. They have a kitchen, shower facilities and a powered site for your campervan. Before setting off to our next destination, we emptied our waste tanks and topped up our water and diesel.

8.5 The next two days were spent at Mount Cook. We opted for a glacier explorer activity where both of us were in for a cold treat. We had to mini-hike our way to Tasman Glacier lake and a boat was waiting for us. The guide was knowledgeable and taught us a thing or two about icebergs and glaciers. The next day at Mount Cook had us photo-taking at the scenic sights in and around Mount Cook. The drive was the best over there. You can never go wrong with that.

8.6 Once we were done with Mount Cook, we headed to Lake Tekapo. It is one of the best sites for stargazing. It is even awarded the honorary title of being a “International Dark Sky Reserve”. Trust me I saw the milky way and literally thousands of stars painted the sky. The night never looked so beautiful. The next day had us having breakfast at the Lake Tekapo Village. Before setting off to our next destination, we emptied our waste tanks and topped up our water and diesel.

8.7 We headed off to Lake Wanaka on the same day and it was approximately a 2hr+ drive back towards Queenstown. That’s where we had our Skydiving Activity. My wife was against it even before our honeymoon but somehow, I managed to persuade her to jump along with me! Kudos to her! You wanna try skydiving, try skydive Wanaka. The aerial view is to die for!

8.8 We overnight at Wanaka Holiday park for another two days to explore the area and we made sure to visit the lonely tree @ lake Wanaka. It is also known as being the most photographed tree in the world. Such a surreal experience. Before setting off to our next destination, we emptied our waste tanks and topped up our water and diesel.

8.9 Once we were done with Lake Wanaka, we headed back to Queenstown to return our campervan (it was a sad day for us because we have been so used to being in the campervan) We booked a simple SUV as a replacement for our campervan because hey, we need a transport for getting to places! We had our scenic helicopter ride on the same day and checked in to our Airbnb apartment at Kingston (a 30-min drive from Queenstown)

8.9.1 The next few days was spent at our Airbnb and we had our remaining activities lined up for us. Mainly the jetboat, gondola ride and lunch at Stratosfare and Milford Sound. Fired up my Google Maps and we drove to the desired locations via SUV. Our Airbnb hosts were so friendly and warm! They even made popcorn and muffins for us! Won’t dwell too much on this as the highlight was the road trip.

9. FINAL THOUGHTS

9.1 New Zealand is teeming with life and character. The life there is laidback and slow-pace. When driving, all you can see is endless plains and mountains and lakes. Life is meant to be lived in that environment, where nature is king and humans leave minimal carbon footprint behind. I can say I am truly impressed with the culture. Where everyone smiled at us and even greeted us saying how was our day. Such a stark difference from being here in SG. New Zealand has this aura where it unlocks your creativity and has an uplifting atmosphere that brings you to high spirits. I can truly appreciate god’s creation and wonders by admiring his work in nature.

You have to definitely visit NZ once in your life. Immerse yourself in the Kiwi life. Immerse yourself in nature.

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Top of Crown Range
The Campervan Life – New Zealand