Wednesday, 29 April 2015


If you're in Wellington or anywhere nearby here, you might want to check out Castlepoint. This place is on the Wairapapa coast. It's about 2 and half hours away from Wellington. If you expect there to be a castle, then you'll be in for a disappointment. There's no castle but there's a lighthouse instead. I was disappointed when I discovered that the place has no castle. I love castles! However, I was excited and happy when I reached the place as the view is spectacular! I was mesmerized by the beautiful sea. You have to go on a sunny day to see the beautiful colour of the sea.
If you're lucky, you can see dolphins and whales during the migration season. I wasn't that lucky. Nevertheless, I spotted a  seal! But I don't have a photo of the seal, sorry. I was too mesmerized to take photos.
Some photos of Castlepoint.

Watch your steps or you'll fall off the cliff! Kidding. Don't you think this place is beautiful? If you want to come here, bring a picnic basket and sunscreen! It's a nice place to have lunch and sunbath with your family and friends. When my parents come for a visit, I would like to take them here. InsyaaAllah.

Tuesday, 28 April 2015

Cathedral Cove, Coromandel

Are you a fan of the Chronicles of Narnia? I am a huge fan! I love magical / kids' movies / books. Well I love adults' books too but sometimes I read children's books to let off some steam. They are very entertaining. There's no shame in reading them. I read all the seven Narnia books which were absolutely wonderful. I wish someday I could be a great storyteller like C. S. Lewis and J. K. Rowling. InsyaaAllah.
Anyway, the movie 'Prince Caspian' shot a scene at Cathedral Cove, Coromandel, New Zealand. As a fan, of course I want to check the place out. Plus, it's a beautiful place worth to be visited.
Cathedral Cove is 2.15 hours away from Auckland airport. You have to rent a car to come here. 2.15 hours is not bad at all. Besides, you'll be driving around with beautiful scenery around you. What's not to love?
Once you've reached the place, you have to park at the parking space provided. Word of advice, come early! There's not much parking space there. From the parking space, you have to walk / hike to the beautiful beach (there's no other way). It will take around 45 minutes to reach the beach. Bring water and food because there's no restaurant or cafe whatsoever at the beach.
Some photos for you to enjoy...

 This is where you start... you can see the beach down below.

 Spectacular view of the sea.

Inside a rock arch.

 Opsie daisy. I didn't plan to get wet. See the rock arch in the background. Spectacular isn't it?

 I can't get enough of this view.
 Pumice breccia rock known as 'Te Hoho'.

Te Hoho and the rock arch.

I googled some photos from the movie 'Prince Caspian'... See, there were at the same place!

Beautiful experience. I would love to come to this beach again someday. InsyaaAllah. Maybe I'll come with a husband? *wink*

A funny photo from my sister... (photo courtesy of Google of course).

Until next time. xxx

Monday, 27 April 2015

Hobbiton Movie Set

Let me take you around Hobbiton today. Surely, 'The Lord of the Rings' and 'The Hobbits' fans would love to visit this place if they have the chance to do so. The movie set is located at a town called Matamata. It will take you about 2 hours to drive here from Auckland. So if you're from the Auckland airport, you have to rent a car to come to this place or you can also take a bus (but I don't know how to take a bus because I think renting a car is more convenient).
This place used to be a private farmland until Peter Jackson bought it and then transformed it into this movie set. To visit this place, you have to book the ticket in advance because they have a limited space per day. You can do your bookings here. Adults' fee is NZ $75. You don't do this everyday, so why not?
Here are some pictures from my visit to Hobbiton last year (April 2014). You can see some of the hobbit holes and the Green Dragon Inn from the movie. It's amazing!



If you have extra money and if you're a huge fan, fly over to NZ soon!

May you have a wonderful time.

Toodles! *flying kisses*

Friday, 24 April 2015

Cheer Up!

Cheer Up!
Smile through sorrows
It can melt the snow
For a good morrow
Which no one knows

Flowers will still bloom
They never skip a season
Even when you meet your doom
It adds a degree of frisson

Life is a roller coaster
It rolls you up and down
It is always brighter
When you have the crown

Pain is a part of living
So is cheerfulness
Misery is often dissolving
To give way to peacefulness

So smile through strong thunderstorms
For even hails can be calmed
Stories are needed to brainstorm
Because happiness is in your palm

fwy, 25th July 2013

Thursday, 23 April 2015

Oral presentation

Phewwww.... I finally did my oral presentation (for PhD proposal) yesterday. Never thought I would make it, but I did. Alhamdulillah. I was so worried that my proposal wasn't good enough for a PhD level and I also imagined myself packing all my belongings and have them ship back to Malaysia asap. Such negative thoughts I had. My friends said, I'm being dramatic but honestly, I think it's normal for PhD students to think that way. Everyone I know said they were like me when they were in their first year. Thus, I'm normal, right?

So, about the presentation... A week before the presentation, my faculty will announce to the public that a certain student with this and that project title will be presenting on such a day and time. When I saw my name being announced in the faculty's email, I freaked out. You see, I have stage fright aka I don't like to talk in public. But you have to do what you have to do. So I prayed that nobody will turn up for my presentation.

On the day of the presentation, more than 10 people showed up. Gosh! Sweat started to build up but I forced positive thoughts in my head. I started out really nervous at first (even stumbled on my words) but after 5 minutes I managed to calm myself down. Then everything just unfolded itself smoothly. After 25 minutes of talking in front, everything was over. Yeay!!! I jumped really high on the inside when I clicked the last presentation slide. I made it! My supervisors were there cheering for me at the back. They were so encouraging, I held tears back *being dramatic*.

Then, questions and answers were opened to the public. I prayed that I won't get any questions that I can't answer. My prayers were answered because I could answer all the questions the audience asked. Thank you Allah.
Presenting your proposal is really nerve wrecking, I won't lie, but it isn't that bad either. I'm glad mine is all over. If I could do it, so can you.
I got a card from a lovely friend, Sharifah,
and then we (Sharifah, Syerina & I) celebrated with Vic Books' coffee at the uni's cafe hahaha. We'll have a real celebration later soon, InsyaaAllah. Maybe seafood at Crabshack? Well, that will be another story at another time. *smiles*

Monday, 20 April 2015

When I need to chill

When I'm not studying, I usually sleep... Zzzzzzz. When I'm bored of sleeping, I either read story books or stream tv series online.
What do you watch?
At the moment I'm watching these four series....

Photos courtesy of google.
Tell me about your fav tv shows. Who knows, I might get hook on them too. *wink*

Saturday, 18 April 2015

Mount Victoria

Do you watch Lord of the Rings trilogy? Well, if you do, you have to know that Mount Vic in Wellington was used twice as a location in the film.
Before I came to NZ, I always dreamt of hiking the mountain just to get that hobbit feelings. Well, I can now cross that off my 'NZ to do list'. The mountain is 196 meters high. It was quite a challege to get up there, but I made it and so can you *wink*. 
I hiked the mountain several months after I arrived in NZ last year. My team and I went before sunrise so that we can catch Mr Sun breaking the dawn. The view was spectacular. Subhanallah.
Some photos...


Up next on the wish list, I want to see the sunset and full moon on Mount Vic. InsyaaAllah.

Friday, 17 April 2015

Post-holiday syndrome

Everyone is different. So this does not apply to everyone. If you're like me, then maybe you can relate to this.
You see, I usually get post-holiday syndrome after I take some days off from work. I was in Malaysia for 2 weeks last March and when I got back in Wellington, it took me a week ++ to get back in the studying mood. However, I think my timing was perfect, Alhamdulillah for that. I went back to Malaysia when my thesis proposal was under reviewed and I didn't get the feedback from the reviewers until 9 days or so after I came back. Allah knows best. He knows that I needed my rest. I'm so grateful I didn't have to start work immediately or else I would have had a hard time motivating myself.
Thus, word of advice: If you plan to take some days off from your PhD, plan your holiday well. You might need some days off when you get back from the holiday, like me :p
I didn't take many photos while I was in Malaysia but I have a favourite photo that I want to share...
This was at Serai Thai, Section 3, Shah Alam. My colleagues (who are also my good friends) from my former work place treated me to a delicious lunch. I'm touched and soooo grateful to have friends like them.
If you are reading this, I hope you know how much all of you mean to me.
Flying kisses, Hana 

Tuesday, 14 April 2015

PhD Proposal

The best thing about doing your PhD is when your supervisors or reviewers give good comments to your work. So, you can imagine how I was when I received an email saying that my proposal has been approved! I was on top of the world! Alhamdulillah.

Some of their encouraging comments...

"I enjoyed the chance to read your review of this fascinating field and am happy to recommend that you proceed with this study"
"I would like to congratulate the candidate on a thoughtful and well prepared proposal"

Aren't those lovely words? I had tears in my eyes when I read the comments. I never thought I could make it this far. You have no idea how many times I felt like giving up while writing the proposal. It was hard work. Even so, I had fun in between the sweats and tears. Knowing that I have passed the probation period made everything worthwhile. Alhamdulillah. :)

Photo taken from here.

I suppose each university or country has a different style / process towards gaining a PhD. For example, in the USA, students are required to take courses in their first-two years, and then start their thesis proposal in their third year. In my university, I am given one year probation to do my thesis proposal and if I want to enrol in courses, it has to be within that one year probation as well. I enrolled in one course (advanced qualitative research methods) during my first semester here and I sat in one undergraduate class as well. Thus, in between doing assignments, presentations and readings, I had to write up the proposal. I am grateful that I made it and I know I couldn't have done it without the help of my supervisors and supportive family & friends around me.

My books, a motivation frame and a loyal companion, Pandy the panda.

Now that my proposal stage is over, the next stage for me is to do a pilot test and if everything is alright, I shall begin my data collection very soon. Wish me well! If you are doing a PhD or is thinking of doing a PhD, I hope you are motivated to pursue that dream. Keep going and never give up. Walt Disney once said, "If you can dream it, then you can do it."
Good luck to all of you. xxx

Friday, 10 April 2015

A day out at the market

Being here in Wellington is great! I get to experience new culture, new food and new way of living. For example: Back in Malaysia, I would drive to go places (even shops which are 7 minutes away from home) but here, I don't even own a car! I have to walk most of the time. Either that or take the bus.
I also learn how to cook (but not very good at it yet) and do grocery shopping. I seldom do grocery shopping in Malaysia because my parents usually do that (yes, I live with my parents and I love it because they are my heart and soul and to be near them is a blessing). And oh! I go to the market! (I don't go to markets back home). Going to the market here has become one of my favourite weekend activities. I suppose if you come to NZ's markets, you would love this activity as much as I do too.
Let me take you around Wellington Harbourside market... 

Look at that carrots and radishes! 

Many types of apples. My favourites are Braeburn and Jazz. 

Pears and oranges.
Pre-packed fruits and veges are cheaper but I like mine loose so that I can choose the best.
Tamarillo! My first time eating that. It kind of taste like passion fruit.

Eat your greens!
Plums! I love Omega plums! They're divine!
Kale. Not my fav but they taste good in sandwiches.
Feijoas. Yummy! One of my fav NZ fruits. It taste a little bit like guava, but softer. 

White mushrooms for pizza, maybe? 
Strawberries. For jams or strawberry shortcakes.
Apart from buying fruits and vegetables, there are also food stalls selling burgers, noodles, pizza etc but obviously I can't eat them as most of them are non Halal. Anyhow, I enjoy eating real fruit ice creams, hummus and churros (no pic of churros today. Sorry).
Real fruit ice cream stall. 

Strawberry ice cream for breakfast!

Many flavoured hummus. 
Oh yes, you can also buy fresh fish on the boat.
And when you come home with your fruits, you can decorate your plate like this!
I Hope you enjoy the market tour! Today is Friday, I can't wait for next Sunday! :)
Cheers! Have a happy weekend everyone!