Thursday, August 17, 2017

Arif's first visit to We Rock the Spectrum, Ara Damansara


Last week, I finally got the chance to take Arif to We Rock the Spectrum (WRTS), which is a special kids gym with an all-inclusive philosophy for kids with all levels of abilities. To me, what makes WRTS awesome are the uniquely-designed sensory equipment that are specifically-designed to aid children with sensory processing disorders, like my son Arif. 

At first glance, WRTS isn't a very big play area, but it packs a lot of sensory play into its space. We arrived early, so the place was empty and I got a chance to take these pictures.

Here's a look at some of the swinging equipment that they have, which is excellent for kids with vestibular issues (more on this later on).

WRTS' slogan, "Finally a Place Where You Never Have to Say I'm Sorry”®, really hits home with me as an autism parent. When I take Arif to play areas, I usually have to deal with disapproving or confused looks from other parents, as well as angry or upset kids, when Arif behaves inappropriately.

Did Arif enjoy his time at WRTS? Read on to find out!

Friday, August 11, 2017

Creating a sensory play area @ Home for Arif

We live in a small home, but I've always felt that it's the perfect size for us. And though we don't have an excess of space, we make it work. 

Each space in our home is multi-functional and flexible to suit our changing needs, and our living/ family room is by far the most multi-purpose space we have. We sleep, eat, watch movies, study and read here and it's constantly evolving. This year, it has developed yet another purpose - a sensory play area for Arif. 

I wanted to create a sensory play area for Arif because on top of his autism, he has Sensory Processing Disorder (SPD). Having a sensory area at home can help calm and stimulate his senses. In addition to helping him with his sensory needs, the space also caters to his home-based therapies and learning activities.

To turn our living room into an adaptable sensory room/ space for Arif, we use a foam play mat by Design Skin as a comfortable and safe surface.  The red Cake Sofa is also by DesignSkin. The swiveling egg chair and tunnel are from Ikea's Children Section, while the round and peanut-shaped exercise balls are from Lazada.

Besides displaying some of Arif's favourite books on a ledge on the wall, I also keep Arif's toys organised in a cabinet. For small items, I use shoe boxes from Daiso that I label according to the activity, like - Sensory, Fine Motor, Art, Duplo & Matching and so on. 

And while I try to keep things as organised as possible.. accidents do happen....

This alarming picture shows what happens when Arif doesn't get the sensory input he needs. Looks like a crime scene, doesn't it? I had just received and opened a package from Lazada and left the room for barely a few minutes. When I got returned, Arif was inside the box and everything else was all over the place!

When it comes to physical things, Arif is a sensory seeker, but when it comes to eating things and feeling textures, Arif is a sensory avoider. Trying to keep a sensory balance and adapting our home to suit his needs is one way for our family to support him. Our sensory space is a work in progress and I'm always looking for ways to improve or add to it.  

If you'd like to create a sensory space for your child, do check out my Pinterest page on Sensory Play and here are a few links to read up on:

Benefits of a Sensory Room

Sensory Room on a Budget

I've also included below, a few videos of awesome sensory rooms that I found on YouTube for your inspiration. Have fun creating your sensory space!

Wednesday, August 9, 2017

First visit to Starling Mall, PJ


We decided to visit The Starling Mall in Damansara Uptown last weekend, because a friend told us it's a relatively quiet mall. When we go out, we need to consider if the place is suitable for Arif, who is autistic, because he finds crowded or noisy areas uncomfortable.

The Starling is "The Mall in the Park," which accounts for the nature-inspired theme throughout the mall. A "starling" is a type of bird that is best-known for their murmurations or flocking behaviour and the mall actually has an installation of a starling murmuration, as you can see below.

The starlings here have a steampunk feel, as they have gears and bolts, like they're robot birds.

What else did we see at the mall? Click below to find out.

Thursday, August 3, 2017

Tracing & Scribbling

For autistic children like my son Arif, occupational therapy (OT) is important, as it helps them with sensory integration and to overcome certain deficits (read more here). So in addition to having him work with occupational and speech therapists, I also conduct therapeutic activities at home to supplement his therapy.

I also like to think of these sessions as an introduction to homeschooling, so that Arif gets used to the idea of learning at home. One of the activities we like to do is pre-writing skills and improving his pencil grasp. 

As you can see above, Arif has what's called the cylindrical or fisted grasp. To help him with his prewriting activities, I printed a few tracing pages and laminated them so that they could be used again and again. Arif uses a dry erase pen (whiteboard marker) to trace the lines. Most of the time, he just scribbles all over the place, so to help him trace, I need to guide his hand.


Sometimes, he does what's called the palmar or digital grasp, as you can see above. It's interesting to see him scribbling all over a particular character on the worksheet. I wonder what's going through his mind when he does this!

And sometimes, he does both the fisted and palmar grasps at the same time! At present, he likes using both hands to draw or write, but his right hand seems to be the more dominant.

He holds the eraser quite well, holding the paper beneath to stop it from moving. He likes cleaning up after he's made a mess :)

And after some time, when the paper isn't exciting enough... he'll indulge in some body art! Messes are okay and perfectly welcomed in this house, because it's another sensory activity for Arif.

In case you're wondering, I also give him pencils and colour markers with regular unlaminated paper, so that he can experience the different textures and pressures needed. 

Though he's doing a lot of scribbling, which seems meaningless, it's actually good practice for holding a writing instrument. Watch this short video on the importance of scribbling:

If you'd like to print out some free activity worksheets, like the ones I'm using here, feel free to visit my Pinterest board: Tracing, Colouring & Cutting Worksheets. Happy scribbling everybody!

Thursday, July 27, 2017

FREE Online Courses on Autism

Your child has been diagnosed with autism, a term that you're barely familiar with, and now you have to quickly figure out what it is and how you can help your child. The more you look it up on the Internet, the more worried you get, because there's a whole lot to digest all at once.

Friend and family send you links and videos about autism, its causes and "cures" and it doesn't take long before you've had enough.

Whether you're a concerned parent, caregiver or teacher, there are indeed many good websites and resources on autism out there, like Autism Speaks and The National Autistic Society (UK) that can help you in your search for answers.

But rather than hopping from site to site, being unsure of where to begin and getting a patchwork of information, I'd like to suggest that you start by signing up for an online course. I'm sharing two online courses in autism that I've taken, and best of all - they're FREE!

If you're a Malaysian, like me, a good place to start would be the iKurnia Open Learning Course by Permata Kurnia.

They offer two free main courses in Bahasa Melayu - Asas Autisme (Autism Basics) and Asas Intervensi (Intervention Basics), which will help you gain a clearer understanding about autism, the characteristics and challenges children on the spectrum face, as well as the interventions they need.

Here's a short introduction to iKurnia:

Once you finish the courses, you'll get e-certificates, like these ones:


Asas intervensi

You'll even get these "badges" for completion. I got the one on the left for completing the course in one day, which you can certainly do if you have a few hours to spare.


But that's not all, Permata Kurnia also shares videos of talks by local experts via their YouTube channel: PERMATA KURNIA. If you can't make it to their lecture hall, you can watch the live streams or pre-recorded videos of past topics.

Another free online course on autism that I've come across, is offered by Autism Spectrum Australian (ASPECT), via Positive Partnerships. I found their An Introduction To Autism module to be more in-depth than the one by iKurnia, particularly in terms of the history of autism research, popular theories and tools for diagnosis. There's also a lot more to read, whereas the iKurnia course had more video content. If you're interested in this course, here's where to sign up - Autism Training Positive Partnerships.

At the end of the introductory module, there's a test that you have to pass. I took it and got 81% 👌Not too bad right? What happens if you get bad marks? Don't worry, you can retake it.

test score
In case you're wondering, the passing mark is 50%.

And just like the iKurnia course, with completion, you'll get a certificate. Here's mine:

Autism Cert1

There are a few more modules on the Positive Partnerships website that I have yet to explore, and I cannot wait to do so!

These courses have helped me gain a more thorough understanding of autism and the interventions that are out there, which believe me, can be bewildering. They answered many of my burning questions, even those I didn't know I had! 

Learning from these courses can be your first step to empowering yourself with knowledge on your child's condition. They can also help you make a more informed decision about the therapies and interventions that will suit your child and family's needs. So if you want to learn more about autism, or know someone who does, be sure to pass them a link to this blog post.

Do you know of any other online courses on autism that parents, caregivers and educators can take? What kind of online courses on autism or other topics do you wish was offered for free? Leave a link in the comments below! 

Wednesday, July 26, 2017

Saving money with Shopback

Last year, My husband and I were interviewed by Focus Malaysia, where we discussed the financial decisions and money-saving efforts that we do as a couple. It was then that the interviewer told me about Shopback, which is a way to save money when you shop online. Basically, with Shopback, with each purchase you make at an affiliated store, you get some cash back (which is why they call it Cashback).  

Blast from the past - our interview with Focus Malaysia.

As a work at home mum, with two kids and my mum to look after, I rarely have the opportunity to go out and shop. I pretty much rely on online shopping, which is why it made sense for me to sign up with Shopback. 

In the beginning, when I started on Shopback, I didn't quite understand how it worked. But a few months down the line, it all made sense. 

While I haven't racked up thousands of savings like some Shopback users, a few hundred back in my pocket isn't a bad thing!

Since then, I've managed to save quite a bit in my account and I've done two withdrawals. I've earned Cashback for buying stuff I need, ordering food and booking hotel rooms... and you can too! If you like to shop online, you should definitely check out Shopback!

Thursday, July 20, 2017

Giveaway Winners - Limited Edition Anmum Essential Kit

I'm pleased to announce the winners of the Limited-edition ANMUM Essential Kit! They are:

Law Tik 
Umm Ali
Nicki Kuok
Sherry & Juju

Congratulations winners! To claim your prize, kindly email the following details to me at

1. Full name
2. Mobile number
3. Address (With someone on hand to receive the prizes during working hours)
4. Product (Step 3 for age 1-3 or Step 4 for above age 3)

I would also like to thank everyone who participated, I really appreciate your support! Before you go, let's revisit the key essential nutrients that are crucial for a child's brain development.
To support your child’s growth with the new and improved Anmum™ Essential that contains Nuelipid™ for higher level of GA® *. GA® and DHA, which are key brain nutrients!
To learn more about Anmum Essential, visit the Anmum Essential website.

Friday, June 9, 2017



Hi there my lovelies, thanks for dropping by my blog! I have some important info to share with you all today about how our children's brains develop and the nutrition that's needed to support that growth, Read on to find out more and for a chance to win a prize in my ANMUM Giveaway!


FUN FACT - The brain oversees everything that happens in the body, from subconscious functions like breathing to problem-solving. This ultimate supercomputer is active most of the time and throughout the course of the day, almost every part of  the brain is in use

The growing brain
As parents, we love watching our children grow taller and stronger. But have you ever wondered if their brains are developing equally well? Unlike physical growth, we can't fully observe brain development as easily. Naturally, we always want the best for our children, which is why it's important to understand how a child’s brain grows.

Most people don’t know that brain cells start developing by about the 28th day of pregnancy  and by the time a child is born,there are approximately 100 billion brain cells  hard at work! However, it’s not just the number of brain cells that matters, it’s the number of connections too.

MISC 703 AE Media Kits Journal-SaddleFA-4

MISC 703 AE Media Kits Journal-SaddleFA-4

Brain connections
During early childhood, these connections grow exponentially. Did you know that each brain cell can form 2,500 connections with other brain cells when they are born? But by age 2 or 3, these connections would have multiplied by 6 times! 

“Connections, also known as synapses, are how brain cells communicate with each other. Early experience and the external environment stimulate the formation of brain cells connections. The more stimulating the external environment, the more connections will form,” explained Wendy Goh, Scientific and Nutrition Manager at Fonterra Brands Malaysia.“These connections between brain cells are important as they support learning, memory and other cognitive abilities. Stimulating activities and the right nutrition such as DHA and Gangliosides support brain development."

MISC 703 AE Media Kits Journal-SaddleFA-4

What you should know about DHA and Gangliosides
DHA and Gangliosides (GA®) are found in the brain and play an important role in brain development. DHA helps tobuild brain cells  and Gangliosides help to support the formation of brain cell connections. Rapid brain growth during the first three years of life is important and could affect a child’s cognitive, social and emotional growth and development. 

MISC 703 AE Media Kits Journal-SaddleFA-4


Increase GA with Anmum Essential
Though GA has a very important role to play in brain development, research showed that 1 out of 4 toddlers in Malaysia consumed 40% lower than the average daily GA® intake! Besides animal based food such as meat and eggs, GA intake can be increased by consuming milk and milk products.

Anmum™ Essential is formulated with DHA and Nuelipid for higher levels of GA®, and contains no added sugar*.  In addition, Anmum™ Essential also contains gut-friendly prebiotics FOS and Inulin, together with other important vitamins and minerals to support children’s overall growth. This is whyAnmum™ Essential is pleased to introduce Grow Amazing, a new educational initiative to help parents understand how their child’s brain grows and what supports its healthy development.


ANMUM Essential Giveaway!
Have you always wanted to give Anmum Essential a try? Here's your chance! To thank my readers for supporting my blog and to share my love for Anmum, I'm giving away -Limited Edition Anmum Essential Kits to FIVE readers.


How to participate
All you need to do is complete this slogan and leave it in the comments section below:

“I want my child to Grow Amazing because __________________” (in not more than 20 words).



Terms & conditions.
1. The prize is a Limited Edition Anmum™ Essential kit. FIVE winners will be selected to win ONE kit each.
2.  The contest will close on 22 June 2017 at 12 noon.
3. The winners will be announced in a separate blog post.
4. Winners must email me at with the following details:
a) Full name
b) Mobile number
c) Mailing address (to receive the package from Pos Laju/courier company during working hours)
d) Product selection (Step 3 for age 1-3, Step 4 for ages 3+)

5. The prizes will be sent within 15 working days from the date of the winners’ announcement.
6. Judges’ decision is final and no correspondence will be entertained.

So what are you waiting for? Share your best slogan with me below! If you'd like to stay informed about how to support a child’s brain development with Grow Amazing and learn Amazing Facts about a child’s brain, visit the ANMUM website.


Tuesday, June 6, 2017

How Autism Has Changed My Life


It's been 8 months since Arif's autism diagnosis and I can concur that raising a child with autism certainly comes with its own set of unique challenges. There are financial, emotional, psychological and even physical demands, but it can also be a rewarding and positive experience. 

Here are some of the ways that autism has changed my life... for the better.

1. More focused on my children
Autism has shifted my focus. These days, much of my time, energy and resources are dedicated to helping Arif cope with and slowly conquer his inability to speak and communicate, learning delays, sensory processing issues and behavioural challenges. But because I am dedicating so much attention to Arif, I also have to make sure that my eldest son, Amir, does not feel left out. Amir is an intelligent child, but he has a problem with keeping his focus. He needs constant help to keep motivated and to try his best at school. So I would say my life priority now, more than ever, is my children.

2.  Learning to say "no" and working less
As a freelancer, I don't have a steady income, and in the past there have been times when I felt I had to take on every project that came my way, so that I can save up for the future. After my son's diagnosis, and realising the costs that it would entail, I unconsciously went into a kind of "overdrive." I took on lots of projects back to back and sacrificed rest to get more done. I suppose I was worried that we wouldn't have enough money to pay for Arif's therapies or for future contingencies.

As a result, I exceeded and doubled my target savings for the year. But that came at a price. At the end of the year, I felt almost completely burned out. I was physically, mentally and emotionally drained. I realised then that this was no way to live. So, at the start of this year, I made a conscious decision to become more selective of what I choose to spend my time and energy on. As someone who is a bit of a workaholic and can't really sit still, I'm still learning to say "NO," not just to potential job offers, but to myself. I found this quote and it's what I live by these days.

"I don't say NO because I am so busy. I say NO because I don't want to be so busy."

3. Embracing minimalism
Autism is a life-long condition and therapies, such as occupational and speech therapies, as well as Early Intervention Programmes (EIP) are costly. Arif also needs special toys and equipment that we use for his home therapies and sensory integration activities. Since I have reduced the amount of work I can take on, I'm also earning less and much of what I earn monthly goes to our savings/ emergency fund and paying for therapies.

So you see, autism taught me the value of money. I am a collector... I love collecting, especially vintage pyrex and collectible tins. But since autism became a part of my life, suddenly these things don't hold the same appeal to me anymore. I find myself not wanting more collectibles and I've been reading up on embracing minimalism as a way of life. I started selling my collections online, on Facebook and via my Carousell store Rifimemeshop, to help raise funds for Arif's therapies. Online garage sales take time and energy, and it's often a slow process. Sometimes, it's hard to let go of things. But I always try to think of the bigger picture and why I'm doing it in the first place.

Will I be getting rid of all my collections? No, probably not. I'd still like to hold on to a few things that "spark joy" in me. A person like me needs a hobby :) 

Have you had a life-altering experience that has changed your life and the way you look at things? Let me know in the comments below. 

Friday, May 26, 2017

Our 1st Personalised Raya Packets from Acewin

Ramadan begins tomorrow! I'm so excited! And while I can't say that I've made much preparation for the upcoming Eid al-Fitr, I can cross one thing off my list - I've gotten my Raya money packets! But these aren't the usual free packets that I normally get from buying stuff. This is out first personalised packets! Check them out!

These Raya packets are from Acewin and they have a very unique retro shape. I really love the floral pattern contrasting against the dark green background - so pretty and classy.

The packets have a nice beaded texture to them, which adds to their exclusivity.


Here's our personalised message - Ikhlas dari Rezad & Adline in gold letterpress. You can get free name printing if you order five sets ;) ORDER HERE 


And on the back of the packet, there's a Hari Raya message too. Sweet! I love these packets and I cannot wait to give them away to friends and family. If you're interested in getting personalised Raya packets, visit Acewin - Designer Prints & Gifts today. They have lots of cool designs to choose from!

Happy fasting to all my Muslim readers and take care guys!

Wednesday, May 17, 2017


Motherhood is certainly an extraordinary journey! But it all begins with extraordinary changes. For example, did you know that a pregnant woman’s heart pumps 20 more beats per minute compared to a non-pregnant woman to supply enough oxygen and distribute nutrients for herself and the child within? These physical changes which help a mother to nurture life have an impact on her daily activities, turning mundane activities into extraordinary feats! 

Experience an extraordinary ride with Anmum Materna
Recognising what pregnant mums go through every day, Anmum™ Materna joins forces with Riding Pink to support these amazing mums this Mother’s Day by giving them a hand while performing their everyday tasks via an extraordinary experience.

03_Anmum Materna Extraordinary Campaign in conjunction with Mother's Da
Anmum Materna Extraordinary Campaign in conjunction with Mother's Day

So from 8-31 May 2017, the first 25 pregnant mums who sign up with Riding Pink receive a FREE extraordinary ride from Anmum™ Materna – whether it’s for a pre-natal check-up appointment, to work, grocery shopping, or a girls’ day out. To make it a special ride, mums will get a special Mother’s Day musical selection to enjoy, plus the expert advice of a – pre-natal yoga teacher to teach breathing techniques to relax herself to ease her pregnancy for select mums. 

04_Anmum Materna Extrordinary Ride with Fitness Expert
Anmum Materna Extrordinary Ride with Fitness Expert

At the end of the ride, they will also receive an exclusive Anmum™ Materna gift pack to enjoy which features a nutritional pack and some amazing goodies for a mum-to-be in preparation for labour. The next 100 mums who sign up will enjoy RM5 off their ride while enjoying their, a Mummy Survival Kit packed with useful mum-friendly products and the Mother’s Day music selection.

01_Mum receiving Anmum Materna Kit Vital Mama on the ride
Mum receiving Anmum Materna Kit Vital Mama on the ride

To be among the first to redeem free and discounted rides with Anmum™ Materna and Riding Pink, in addition to exclusive gift pack, simply by write  to: Alternatively visit them on or to learn more about these extraordinary experiences and connect with other mums.

Assurance mums can appreciate
Riding Pink, Malaysia’s first ever women's-only transportation platform, was founded as a way for women and mums to support each other while earning additional income through a safe, female-friendly transportation service. Similarly, Anmum™ Materna wants to offer mums assurance throughout their motherhood journey, by providing the right nutrition to support their pregnancy. With this shared vision, Anmum™ Materna and Riding Pink have developed this initiative to create an extraordinary experience for pregnant mums to enjoy. 

02_Fitness Expert and Riding Pink driver sending off the rider
Fitness Expert and Riding Pink driver sending off the rider

Importance of nutrition during pregnancy
Triggered by the knowledge that many pregnant mums may not receive adequate nutrition for herself and her child based on a paper published by Jurnal Sains Kesihatan Malaysia in 2014ⁱ, Anmum™ Materna’s “Extraordinary Mums” campaign shines a spotlight on possible nutrient deficiencies.  For example, only 3%ⁱ of pregnant Malaysian mums get enough folate  from their dietary intake and only 23%ⁱ of pregnant mums consume the daily recommended requirement of calcium from their dietary intake.

Pregnant mums need 600µgⁱⁱ of folate during pregnancy to reduce the risk of neural tube defects while 1000mgⁱⁱ of calciumⁱⁱ is essential to fulfil her own needs while supporting bone development for her child. While most mums know they need to consume a healthy, balanced diet for two, it’s difficult for busy mums to obtain sufficient nutrients from regular meals alone. For instance, the daily requirement for 600µg of folate would be equivalent to 75 cups of brown rice, and 1000mg of calcium is found in 10 pieces of soybean cakewhile 11mg of zinc would be found in 52 slices of white bread or 55 large bananas.

To help mums get the nutrition they need for themselves as well as their child, two glasses of Anmum™ Materna provides pregnant mums with 100%ⁱⁱ the daily recommended requirement of folate, calcium and zinc, in a convenient low-fat milk powder formula.

05_Contents of Kit Vital Mama for Passengers on Anmum Materna Extraordinary Journey
Contents of Kit Vital Mama for Passengers on Anmum Materna Extraordinary Journey

Monday, April 17, 2017

April is Autism Awareness Month :)

Hello my lovelies :) I've been meaning to post something for Autism Awareness Month, but I haven't had the chance to do so. But I told myself, I have to get it done before Arif's birthday, which is on April 30th. Can you believe it, he will be turning three soon!

Since Arif's autism diagnosis in October last year, Arif has been attending occupational therapy and he is showing many positive signs of progress. He also started speech therapy early last month and we are so happy for him.

I recently came across this great article about autism awareness in Malaysia, and if you're interested to know more about autism, it's a must read. Click here to read it. It talks about stigma and misconceptions, as well as lack of expertise and opportunities, which are just some of the challenges faced by people with autism.

PS: To raise funds for Arif's autism therapies, I am having an online garage sale via Carousell, To check it out, visit:

Friday, March 17, 2017

Bre-Adventures: My Tesco breadmaker

I have three resolutions for 2017. 1. To get healthier as a family, 2. To embrace minimalism and 3. To be more self sufficient. And part of being self sufficient (at least in my view) is to learn how to make and do things for myself. To me, there's pleasure in slowing down and learning to make things by hand, even the basic things that we've taken for granted in our busy lives... Like making bread!


I've gawked at The Baker Brothers' bread-making videos for ages and they make it look so easy, but where does a novice like me even begin? I thought I'd start by getting myself a bread maker. So a few months ago, I bought the Tesco BM1333 2L, which I got at a discount from Lazada, at around RM170. Here's what it looks like...

Image result for Tesco BM1333

How do I like my bread maker and what kinds of breads have I made? Find out after the jump...

Thursday, February 23, 2017

The Case of the Rotten Frozen Drummets from Tesco Delivery

Hi everyone! I've been meaning to blog about this for a while, but I've been rushing to complete a few tasks that I had on hand. Today I want to share with you my experience receiving a bag of rotten frozen drummets (yuck!) from Tesco Home Delivery AND how I got a replacement for them.

The bag of rotten drummets :(
I've blogged about using Tesco's Home Delivery service before, which is absolutely heaven-sent for me because trips to the supermarket are tough with Arif's autism and sensory sensitivities. But once in a while, a slip-up will happen, but thankfully they have a pretty good customer service team on hand to help customers. 

I had ordered a bag of Ayamas frozen Drummets along with my other groceries and was going to make some for dinner, but when I opened the bag, I was greeted with an unpleasant smell. No doubt the drummets had gone off. They were clumped together like they had thawed and refroze. There were black spots on the drummets too. I fried one in my air fryer and it turned out horrible. Just the smell alone made me gag.

So the next day, I PM'd Tesco Malaysia's FB page. They replied and said it is against their policy to offer reimbursement for frozen foods, but that I should call their customer service centre and explain. So that's what I did. I called them up and told them my situation. The lady on the line called up the Tesco branch in Puchong, which is responsible for delivering my groceries. They said they would give me a replacement.