The Stonehenge Experience

During my trip to England, one of the places we did not plan to stop was Stonehenge. As we head home from Bath, we thought we will just pass by it to take some photographs. Stonehenge closes at 4pm hence we could not enter.

It turns out to be a blessing as I had the most wonderful experience of witnessing the most beautiful sunset. I stand by the fence and shoot photos through the holes of the fence netting. Stonehenge looks even more majestic in that setting, with a background of multicolored sunset sky. There were some campers on the other side of the plains making it more picturesque.

Although I was unable to see the Stonehenge up-close, the view from the fence was breathtakingly beautiful. I would not have been able to see it if we came earlier during the day. It is such a mysterious place with so many questions remains unanswered. As the sun sets, it became interestingly eerie. If I had another chance, I would return just before closing time, to witness the majestic stones and the beautiful sunset again. If.

And the drive from Bath to Amesbury was an experience itself. That would be for another blog update.

Here are some of the pictures I took at Stonehenge. Enjoy!!
(for details on Stonehenge, just go to Wikipedia)

When we arrive, everyone has left the Stonehenge compound, hence the place looks abandoned. It is actually very nice to take a photo without anyone walking or blocking the important object.

As it gets darker, the sky started to change in colour.

The sunset is slightly to the right of Stonehenge so I took some photos of the sun setting. There are some campers on the plains – that is the square silhouette on the right of the photo.

Just breathtakingly beautiful.

A closeup picture of one of the Stonehenge rock with 2 birds resting on it. I took so many pictures, only a few turns out well. So this was quite a challenge for me as I was quite new in photography.

Do visit my my flickr with more pictures of my visit to Stonehenge.


The Other “F” Word

JK Rowling on the other F-word — “Fat”:

‘Fat’ is usually the first insult a girl throws at another girl when she wants to hurt her.

I mean, is ‘fat’ really the worst thing a human being can be? Is ‘fat’ worse than ‘vindictive’, ‘jealous’, ‘shallow’, ‘vain’, ‘boring’ or ‘cruel’? Not to me; but then, you might retort, what do I know about the pressure to be skinny? I’m not in the business of being judged on my looks, what with being a writer and earning my living by using my brain…

I went to the British Book Awards that evening. After the award ceremony I bumped into a woman I hadn’t seen for nearly three years. The first thing she said to me? ‘You’ve lost a lot of weight since the last time I saw you!’

‘Well,’ I said, slightly nonplussed, ‘the last time you saw me I’d just had a baby.’

What I felt like saying was, ‘I’ve produced my third child and my sixth novel since I last saw you. Aren’t either of those things more important, more interesting, than my size?’ But no – my waist looked smaller! Forget the kid and the book: finally, something to celebrate!

I’ve got two daughters who will have to make their way in this skinny-obsessed world, and it worries me, because I don’t want them to be empty-headed, self-obsessed, emaciated clones; I’d rather they were independent, interesting, idealistic, kind, opinionated, original, funny – a thousand things, before ‘thin’. And frankly, I’d rather they didn’t give a gust of stinking chihuahua flatulence whether the woman standing next to them has fleshier knees than they do. Let my girls be Hermiones, rather than Pansy Parkinsons.
— J.K. Rowling

I am guilty of this sometimes. I am so used to saying someone looks great first then comments about other matters. I try not to mention about a person weight..I do when they comment. Some people expects a compliment that they have lost a lot of weight (or a little). I have to do better…


Memorial Benches of Richmond

I have not been writing about my travels. Only one word to describe that….procrastination. Sigh.

I want to write part of my travel…those that I felt left a beautiful mark on my heart. I love nature, people, and history and maybe just a little bit of art. You cannot see and visit everything when you travel but I think we do our best to visit slightly unknown places.

My sister in law lives in London…..a big plus when travelling to this ridiculously expensive part of the world. For so many years, I have been confused when referring to England, Great Britain and United Kingdom. Found out it is really simple:

• United Kingdom consists of England, Scotland, Wales and Ireland (though most of Ireland is now independent).
• Great Britain consists of England, Scotland and Wales
• England is just England.

Anyway, I visited England . My sister in law lives in Richmond; naturally I visited many beautiful places surrounding Richmond. I wrote a little bit on Richmond Hill last year.

One of my favorite things to see is the benches. Most of the benches in Richmond are memorial benches. The first time I sat on one of those benches, I imagine myself taking a picture of one bench a day for 365 days! The inscriptions were beautiful, funny, heartfelt and very personal. Although it is not cheap (I was told the price is above £1000 per bench), it is a brilliant way to remember your loved ones and support the city council too!

These memorial benches can be found if you walk along The Thames, in Richmond Park, Richmond Hills and even at Hampton Court. If you’re in a hurry, you just won’t be able to appreciate these benches. Go for a stroll. Here are some of the pictures taken by me….enjoy!

Below: Richmond Hill (I was told one of those homes belongs to Mick Jagger. I was hoping for him to walk his dog so I could see him…no luck).
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Below: My husband with one of the bench dedicated by a man to his wife who happens to be “Nora” just like my nickname. Errr….
I love the location of the bench near this pub by The Thames. Beautiful. 7704106098_4bbc6057cd_k

And this one which really makes you want to sit and read a book or just watch the river flows, birds flying and the ducks play. Can you imagine how beautiful this place would be during other season?

Do visit my my flickr with more pictures of the benches – Wooden Bench of Richmond

In My Arms

As I scatter rose petals onto the wet soil
I wonder if you are resting
I wonder if you can smell the roses
I wonder if you are well.

As I scatter the orchids on to the wet soil
I wonder if you know I am here
I wonder if you can feel my hand touching the soil
I wonder if you could see me.

As I raise my hands to pray
I wonder if you know how much I love you
I wonder if you can feel how weak I am
I wonder if you can see my heart.

My heart
Broken and mended
Wounded and healed
Broken and wounded repeatedly
Mended and healed repeatedly

I miss you, my first child
I will be there with you when the time is right
When the Almighty decides it is time
I know you will be waiting with a big smile
And you will once more be in my arms.

13th February 2015

It was really hard to be so far from my friend and not be able to be there in person to help her when she lost her son (her eldest). And it was harder to speak on the phone. I put myself in her position and as a mom; I would probably just want that time alone – me, my family and God.
There are no words or understanding or gestures which would make someone heal from such a tragedy in a short period of time. Heartbroken would be a word to use but it really does not explain how the heart feels and how physically exhausting it is.

May Allah bless you with solace, strength and steadfastness. May you find happiness daily. May your family be strong together.

I love you, Julie.

La Tahzan Innallaha Ma’ana
“Don’t be sad; indeed, Allah is with us.” [Surah At-Taubah: 9:40]

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Salt Body Scrub by Dr Neesa Amran

I have not seen Dr Neesa Amran for 3 years and we finally met up on Saturday Jan 31st. She has 2 children now and was still on maternity leave. It was good to see her although we do keep in touch via social media.

She gave me a jar of her homemade salt body scrub – Coconut Moroccan Rose. It smells heavenly. I have been using it quite often on my feet, knee and elbow. I just love the smell and the smooth feeling it leaves on my skin. The coconut oil makes my dehydrated skin very supple. Love, love, love the smell!! Good job, Neesa!

Now to order more scrubs!!

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I Cry by Tupac Shakur

Sometimes when I’m alone
I Cry,
Cause I am on my own.
The tears I cry are bitter and warm.
They flow with life but take no form
I Cry because my heart is torn.
I find it difficult to carry on.
If I had an ear to confide in,
I would cry among my treasured friend,
but who do you know that stops that long,
to help another carry on.
The world moves fast and it would rather pass by.
Then to stop and see what makes one cry,
so painful and sad.
And sometimes…
I Cry
and no one cares about why.
— Tupac Shakur

Loneliness is indeed a really painful experience. I do believe that being lonely is an acceptance to who you are. Every choice we make in life has consequences. We have to take responsibilities of those consequences. We have to create our support system. We do not expect, we always place hope. We fill the void, we create happiness. And sometimes…..we just have to cry.


Picture taken near The Lourve, Paris (2012)