lessons from travelling with baby and parents

alhamdulillah i’m back from travelling with parents and baby to london, paris, and amsterdam. learnt A LOT from this trip because we made so many mistakes. gonna log them here to help me remember for future trips insyaAllah:

1. don’t be too ambitious

we had the classic mentality of wanting to squeeze the most out of our europe flight. after all, if you’re going to spend 11-13h to fly somewhere, you might as well spend at least 2 weeks right? Continue reading


staycay at The Residence in Bintan

we did a one night staycay earlier this month at Bintan’s The Residence to celebrate NG’s birthday. the hotel opened in Feb and is still a work in progress: there’s plenty of landscaping that’s not completed, and also the pathways have not been tarred. many activities were also not operating yet.

it was pretty empty when we checked in. most of our the neighbouring units were unoccupied, and we were pretty much the only guests for dinner that night at the “halal” restaurant. by that i mean the restaurant that also offers dishes with wine in it 🤦🏻‍♀️ ok takpe, moving on.

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umrah with baby

alhamdulillah, we fulfilled our intention to perform umrah with NG’s parents and Watermelon earlier this month.

i was anxious about what the experience with Watermelon was going to be like, but now that it’s over, i realise i need not have worried so much. alhamdulillah with God’s grace she was easy on us. save for a handful of cranky episodes, she was generally cheerful and slept well. bringing her to the mosque for congregational prayers was not too difficult — though Baby Bites (biscuits) quickly became the standard bribe 🤣

she had plenty of fans (“mashallah mashallah!”) and received a lot of kisses and sweets from strangers. the kisses, i mentally prepared myself that they might happen. so i made plenty of doa that Allah swt protects her from illnesses 😬 the sweet treats, i sacrificed myself and ate them on her behalf. you’re very welcome, Watermelon! mmyum.

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what’s going on

feels like I haven’t had much to blog about, short of updating about the mundane stuff like what I feed Watermelon for dinner (not much), how many teeth she has (zero) and if she can walk (no, not yet).

the most exciting update is probably our plans to perform umrah soon-ish, InsyaAllah. the plan is for three of us plus my MIL and FIL to go in mid-January. we chose an off-peak period since none of us are tied to school holidays. omigosh please help to pray that Allah swt will ease our affairs! my biggest worry is how Watermelon will behave when I’m joining the congregational prayers. as cute and pouty as she is, she can be clingy/insecure when she doesn’t have her hand on any part of my body so … good luck to us girrrl. other things I’m worried about are whether we can keep her sufficiently warm in the cool temperature, and how she is going to behave on the plane and on the long bus rides 😔

if anybody has tips on performing umrah with a 1 yo baby, please share! 😘

we went to KL late last month, for a super short 2d 2n trip with friends. 9mo Watermelon on a plane ride is much different from her 4mo self when we went to Krabi. this time she didn’t want to sleep and instead was very interested in the various flyers in the seat pocket, including the bak kut teh ad at the back of the magazine. astaghfirullah sis, mengucap! anyway, luckily it was just a 45 min flight but I already dread our next flight…

because we had limited time in KL, we planned a super packed programme on our full day there. it was so long that Watermelon got maaaad cranky at the end of it. even all that babywearing couldn’t save her. I learnt that babies will always need a safe and quiet place to retreat to. there’s a limit to how long you can bring them out for, even if you keep them close to you in a carrier.

what else… ooh, Aunt Flo appeared in my life again! at about 10 months post partum, not bad huh. what this means is baby number two, here we come!!! ok, ok, I kid. hold on, let me scoop NG’s heart from the floor and put it back inside him. I mean, I would really love a number two (and three! and four! cue major 7.0 on the Richter scale eye roll from my husband) but I don’t think we’re ready, if we can help it. of course if Allah swt should decide that it is our rezeki soon, then I would say Alhamdulillah, now let me shop for a newborn woven wrap… #buyallthewraps

lastly, I figured some time back that since I don’t have enough themes to group my thoughts into blog posts, I could turn to … microblogging. hee. I’ve been tweeting at @krakentweets. so that’s where all the mundane stuff have been hiding, actually. hope to see you there?

krabi with baby

i’ve been dreaming about going to krabi for a long time now (like since before marriage), and thought about it again when i was pregnant. considering that i usually have to seek 2-level clearance before applying for vacation leave at work, i wanted to take the opportunity during maternity leave to squeeze in a trip somewhere. like so shiok to be free to go anywhere i want for as long as i want except … carter’s was right in their latest eDM: baby changes everything.

trip highlights

1. island hopping in our private longtail boat

most of the tour companies offered a 4-island hopping package, but we were hoping to do just 2. with a baby, we thought it would be better to settle down at 2 beaches than move around a lot. the only way to do this is to book a private longtail boat (Thai version of bumboat), which would allow us flexibility to decide on our programme depending on how Watermelon’s doing. however it’s a lot more expensive (THB 2,200/SGD 90) than if we joined group tours (THB 800ish/SGD 32 for two of us?), but we had no other choice since we were not comfortable with group tours. we ended up going to all 4 islands anyway, though we didn’t get down at the last one because it had begun to rain super heavily. the three of us got soaked to the skin, and had to ride back in choppy waters. Watermelon didn’t seem too bothered though, perhaps coz she was exhausted from missing her morning nap due to our constant movements. i wrapped her in a towel and she fell asleep in my arms, like a koala bear alright.

oh and she seemed okay with sand but not the sea. we brought her to the edges and she got all nervy.

2. visiting the night market

we slept in (after returning from island hopping) and missed the bus, which meant we had to book our own private transportation, again! ok lah but this one our fault, lol. the private car worked well in the end because Watermelon started crying about an hour in, so we cut our visit short, comforting ourselves that “there’s nothing else to buy.” plus, i could nurse her comfortably to and fro.

we had really good and really cheap food at the night market though. was fun while it lasted. a pity that it continued to rain, so there weren’t many people out at the market which is great in a way, but also made the atmosphere less merry? and the tables and chairs were wet, so it was a little inconvenient having to eat while standing around.

3. bringing baby for her first swim!

Watermelon’s first swim was supposed to be at a family chalet in April, but back then we didn’t know there were such things as swim diapers and recommendations that swimming pools may not be safe and may be too cold for newborns. fast forward one month later, we smartened up and bought her a Charlie Banana swim diaper from Mothercare, and also rented a wet suit from a mama on Carousell.

verdict: she was alright with the water. not particularly overjoyed but silent enough to entertain us while we took way too many photos of her, and even tried to dunk her once for the sake of an underwater photo. obviously she wasn’t pleased, hehe.

4. going for two massages

during her post-swimming nap (macamlah she swam laps gitu) we went to a massage parlour where they gave us the family room with 3 beds. we swaddled her and left her to sleep on the third bed, while we got our massages done. later that night, we squeezed in leg massages pulak. i haven’t been for massages (i mean, the postnatal one don’t really count yah) since getting pregnant so it was nice to go back to an old activity again 🙂 really glad we managed to do this despite the baby!

what we learnt

in summary, we learnt that travelling with a baby means very likely having to pay  “convenience fees” for the flexibility when booking activities. and perhaps, it also makes us have to isolate ourselves?

for example, at the night market, i caught sight of grilled fish which looked soooo good. however we were already full. so i thought to myself, if only our group of friends were here with us. each person could buy one type of food and we all can share2 to try. but as we left the market early, i wondered, if our friends had been there, does it mean they leave early with us too? or NG and i have to find some corner in the night bazaar to soothe Watermelon while the rest of them continue roaming? bearing in mind there are no easily available seating areas. difficult questions, aye.

all in all, alhamdulillah it was a good trip. the flights were okay too; the trickiest part for us was figuring out the infant seat belt. the stewards didn’t enforce it strictly, so i nursed her during take off and landing both ways with the seat belts pretty loose. and thankfully she didn’t poop while in the plane. would haaate to have to change her diaper in the aeroplane toilet. i’m not that high level yet eh.

p.s. have a blessed Ramadhan, everyone! may Allah swt accept our deeds during this Holy Month, aamiin.


babymoon in KL

some time in October, NG and I got scared into planning a babymoon. parent-friends be all like “you should enjoy your couple time now,” “you should go out on Friday nights while you can,” “you should watch movies now because once your kid(s) come, you may not get the chance,” “you should sleep all you can,” and “we used to enjoy doing housework together but nowadays one of us does the housework while the other person has to jaga the baby” etc etc.

travelling at 34 weeks(!) is probably not the best idea but October wasn’t good for me and November wasn’t good for NG, so December it had to be. we drove up to KL over this past Christmas weekend where we rested well and ate well. heheh. splurged on Doubletree Hilton which had a very nice breakfast spread (but must arrive early to properly enjoy). we were torn between this and Sheraton but I mati2 didn’t want a business hotel … only to be served one. Chet! Doubletree is beside The Intermark, which is a mall + office building. seems like it’s a popular choice among business travellers after all. meh. perhaps I should have listened/gave in to my husband re: Sheraton after all ha ha mintak paiseh.

also, I could get away with travelling this late because it’s a road trip. doubt the airlines would let me board yah. I read that preggo ladies should try to avoid reclining for too long so I brought along a pillow to lean on while in the car. and also budgeted an extra day (4d3n instead of our usual 3d2n) so we would have more time to recover and enjoy. not that I did any of the driving but sitting at the passenger seat for long can be very tiring too, kay.

picking a baby name

one of the things on our agenda was to pick a baby name! truthfully speaking, I already chose a name since last year. it’s a word that I came across a few times while ngaji-ing and I thought it to be a virtuous and beautiful name for a girl. if Watermelon had been a boy, I also already have a name in mind. where’s NG in all this decision making you may ask? I also dunno hahaha #lastchildsyndrome #everythingmyway

ok but for months/weeks, we asked ourselves if that one (short) name is enough, or if we wanted a second name. and if yes, what it would be. NG wanted a flower-related name. he wanted to name Watermelon “Mawar” …

“ummm how about Lily? Dahlia?” I counter proposed, somewhat eagerly.

he changed his mind and decided he wanted a name that means “intelligent”. sounds easy right? well actually there’s not thaaat many choices, surprisingly. one of the names that cropped up a lot is “Aqilah”, but his nephew is already “Aqil”. macam dalam banyak-banyak nama, kene rebut itu satu nama jugak eh.

we finally settled on a second name on the way to KL. exciting and fun! feel sooo empowered as parents to be. this is Watermelon’s whole life we are talking about. if we wanted to, we could make life hard for her future husband waktu akad nikah — but I kid, I kid. Continue reading


NG and I thought it would be nice to relieve our honeymoon NYC Smogasburg experience, so we decided to check out the Foodgasmfest in Petaling Jaya over the weekend on Sun, 1 Nov. FGF was held at Dataran Petaling Jaya, a Singapore Padang-like field.

I know, I just complained about gaining weight after marriage, yet here we are, travelling some 360km north juuust for a food fest. Lulz.

But that’s only irony #1.

Irony #2? I was supposed to run 10km in the Great Eastern Women’s Run on Sun but I ditched it for FGF. Hee. #champion

We drove up to KL on Sat, after a late night at Halloween Horror Night on Fri(!). By “we” I mean NG who did all the driving teehee.

On Sun, NG suggested for us to take the train to FGF. I, still traumatised by the incident where my friend and I were stranded without transport at Vendeur Festival at Matrade last year, suggested we drove there instead. It was about a 20-min drive from our hotel which is near-ish KLCC. Though it turned out that there was an LRT station close by FGF so we would have been fine taking public transport.

Luckily we were super onz tourists who set out for the festival in the morning. By the time we reached (10am?), there was already a small bottleneck on the road, and cars parked by the side of the roads. NG spotted a mall so we parked there instead.

We were very excited to see all the tents. As we approached,

NG: Do I have enough money? (looks at his RM300) I think not enough.

“hmmmm which one do i go to first…”

Earlier in the week, I worried about the haze. The organisers had promoted a picnic concept, so we brought along two mats with us, but who wants to picnic in the haze right? It turns out that I didn’t have to worry because it rained cats and dogs on Sat night.

Except you know, it rained cats and dogs on Sat night. Which meant that the field was daaaamn muddy. At first I regretted not wearing my slippers. Then I saw how NG’s slippers would get stuck in the mud. As he tried to dislodge them, little mud balls would fling into the air. So my dear NG ended up having mud on the back of his jeans, some of his shirt, and maybe even some in his hair. I also had a little speck of mud on my tudung k, so the mud REALLY flew high. Eww.

But we travelled 360km all the way there right? So ok la cannot let our mood get dampened so fast. We walked around the stalls, carefully watching our steps. There were over 100 vendors so after a while it got a bit overwhelming on what to buy. So here’s what we got:

first up, a safe hipster drink. think it was RM6 or RM8.

rocky road. i’m a sucker for marshmallows. this was a lil too sweet (and trust me when i say too sweet cos i have a super sweet can-eat-cake-icing kinda tooth) for my first meal in the morning.

we were intrigued by the sotong. korean style, apparently.

i thought we would be getting the whole sotong. i think they did sell those, but probably called a different thing from what we ordered. anyway this was damn pedas and my lips were tots on fiyahhh 🔥🔥🔥

another hipster thai ice milk tea drink to calm my tongue down

Halfway I got a bit restless from all the walking, so we sat down at the grand stand. (Not gonna dirty my picnic mats! *ngada-ngada*)

someone brought their mobile oven y’all!

couple strolling in front of a yellow truck. artistic tak my gambar?

While people watching I noticed that the food trucks seemed popular, so I randomly picked one to queue up at.

sanggup queue so long even though i had no idea what they sold. haha. so singaporean. turns out they sold spaghetti. it was decent but not really wowzers.

I had split up with NG at this point, so he could get us other food, and grew more restless while waiting for him to find me. By then it was starting to get humid, and the crowds were building up.

Sat down again while NG waited for our drinks to be ready. I was starting to get really flustered and hot and bothered by then.

first we had to queue up at this drink stall then we had to wait 15-20 min for them to make our drinks.

while waiting for the drinks, i went to get ice cream. this mexican-ish stall i approached had a flavour called Key Lime Pie. “cool!” i thought, “it’s gonna be just like solero!” but no. the popsicle had actual pie inside. so… i… didnt finish it. 🙈

the long awaited drink. to its credit, it was sedap. thank you to NG who determinedly waited in front of the stall while i whined that i needed a seat.

NG bought these mac and cheese balls (macaroni balls rolled and into a ball and then fried) which frankly were not that great.

last purchase from the fest: strawberry soda. the stall didn’t have a queue and they were priced RM4 and NG liked it (what is up with guys and strawberries) so thumbs up to this one.

Then it was time to leave, yay. From the first time we sat down, I’d noticed that the traffic surrounding the area seemed to get worst. So I was dreading the drive out, thinking we would be stuck for an hour just to get out of the car park to the main road to the expressway.

But we were very lucky. Although there was a queue of cars going out, the line moved. At first it was a little slow on the expressway and then the jam cleared up, so we reached our hotel earlier than expected. Alhamdulillah!

The traffic going to PJ was not pretty, though. We passed by a loooong queue, equal to say 2-3 exits on the PIE. Reason for the jam? A sand truck couldn’t get past the cars that were parked on the sides of a slip road….. so pitiful.

Some of the festival-goers later took their unhappiness to the event page on Facebook. I was reading the posts back in the hotel. Fun! They griped about the mud, the jam, the lack of parking, the long queues, and the overpriced food :/ And apparently some stalls closed for lunch. The people were like “hello? we are here to buy lunch?” Also some stalls sold out by 2pm, when the festival was supposed to end at 10pm. The organisers then addressed the feedback through a FB post.

So yeah overall I think NG and I got super lucky by going early and escaping the jam and the huge huge crowds. As I scrubbed my feet in the bath tub, I told myself to pretend that it was a mud spa. Haha.

Overall the food was ok-ok je to me. I wish I found corn in a cup. The Mexican version we had in Smogasburg was sooooo good. And also lobster roll. That would have been yums.

Alhamdulillah the KL trip was still fruitful and enjoyable. We visited our friend Tony Roma’s at Pavillion – my favourite! love their service – and I got to check out Publika for the first time. Love it! Restocked my supply of contact lens. Also bought kain from the new Jakel Mall and sent it for tailoring. And I, I, got to lay my eyes on Zul Ariffin at Publika. Oh yeaaaah.