Want To Write? Start With Reading!

I’ve received many requests to share my writing tips. Well, to be honest, I don’t really have any, but I’ve always loved to read. It’s been a major part of developing my writing skills and I have to admit, I have ORD – Obsessive Reading Disorder! Just one book a day can stimulate my mind into creative mode and get those imaginative juices flowing. So no, I don’t really have any tips, but I believe there is one core, essential practice which is the foundation of writing.

You. Need. To. READ.

Seem daunting? It might sound like that at first, but it is the key to writing. You’ll need to read to find ideas and check your work. It happens whilst you’re writing! When I say read, I don’t mean read for a day or two then stop, I mean read everyday! Make it part of your daily routine. Make it part of your LIFE! Keep a book close wherever you go, so if you have spare time, you can open it up and peruse with ease.

At an early age, we all learn to read and as we get older, we start to read more difficult texts. We’ve been reading naturally all this time, and yet some people sweat at the thought of having to read something. If you could do it so young, why can’t you do it now?

The action of reading has many benefits. Books can teach us grammar and punctuation skills and language basics. Your vocabulary will be enriched too. Books are like dictionaries – there’s bound to be new words on show! The human brain is similar to a sponge, so it will absorb everything it reads. For me, reading also enlarges my imagination and stimulates my creativity. Books have many other benefits, such as improving your health, helping growth and much more. It’s clear that books are a writer’s best friends!

So now you see why reading is so crucial. We shouldn’t just give up reading because it seems hard or boring. If you did, you wouldn’t be reading this right now! But then there’s the choice of what to read and what’s good to read and what’s bad. Well, like I have said in the previous post, there is nothing good or bad, it’s just what you personally prefer! I love reading science fiction and fantasy, but other people might not. However, even though I like these specific genres, I still read a broad range of books. It’s great to read many books, but if you want, you can find the genre that suits you. The best way to find your perfect genre is to read a range of them, and work out their pros and cons so you will be able to find the one that you like the most. Once that’s done, you can read with relaxation and soon write! Remember, reading is an important step towards making yourself a better writer!

Yes, I think it’s great to read, but when I say ‘read’, I don’t mean just in English. You can read in your own mother tongue or your preferred language! Be it Malay, Urdu, Thai, Arabic, Gaelic, Chinese…you can read in any language you want! Don’t let language be a barrier that stops you from reading! And of course, remember to be bold, be brave, challenge yourself to read, readREAD and never stop reading! Now, if you’ve managed to read up to this point, then you’ve successfully read 581 words! So that’s me sharing my experience with you. Hope you find it useful.

Keep calm and carry on reading so that TOGETHER WE CAN CHANGE THE WORLD!

“Never trust anyone who has not brought a book with them.”

– Lemony Snicket

mukhtar book in park.jpg

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Goodbye, 2017…

SNOW 2017.jpg

It’s the end of the year, and the time has come to say goodbye to 2017! We would like to say THANK YOU to everyone who has been part of our 2017journey! We deeply appreciate the great amount of support you have given to us and we personally thank each and every one of you who has helped us and shown kindness to us! May God bless all of you and your families!

Above all, we thank God for the countless blessings bestowed on us, not only in this year, but throughout our lives! He truly is Al-Wahhab – The Supreme Bestower – as He has continuously gifted us no matter what! We are also grateful for not only the blessings, but the trials God has put us through as we have gotten through them together as one family, and they have empowered us to be strong.

This year has been PAWSOME! It has been filled with amazing experiences with the family, welcome challenges and eternal blessings and gifts, all thanks to the mercy and kindness of God! There have been many achievements, special occasions and joyous memories shared! It has all enriched us and filled our lives with even more happiness! Like other normal families, we’ve had our ups and downs on the rollercoaster of life, but even though we’ve been tested big-time due to Mrs Mom’s health, we had faith in God and with His blessings, we managed to pull through.

However, just because 2017 has ended doesn’t mean it is the end – InshaAllah it will mean the start of another great year!

p/s: Goodbye, 2017

Written by Omar Mukhtar
@thepawsomelion 🦁
On behalf of The Family!
Sunday, 31st December 2017
Birmingham 🇬🇧

A Pawsome Project!

 

Hey there pawsome peeps! Hope you’re doing OK.

Because the one week school holiday started, I really wanted to do a fun activity. I was being ambitious and wanted to fit another project into my jam-packed time table. But, I had dozens of things to do. People were visiting, Mrs Mom and Mr Dad had lots of work to do, I had to look after Little Miss Diva and Baby A and I ALSO had a Drama Club rehearsal to attend! WHEW!!! I was definitely worn out after everything!

pawsome project

Although I had a very tight schedule, I still wanted to do something lively. So, Mrs Mom and I searched and searched. That’s when Mrs Mom said “Why don’t we try baking?” And that’s how I came across something called Onde Onde!

the-onde-onde-cake

Onde Onde is a type of Malaysian dessert or Kuih. They are small, poached dumplings in the shape of balls that are coated with shredded coconut. The pandan, which they are infused with, adds an amazing flavour. The brown palm sugar filling that floods your mouth with scrumptiousness makes them simply irresistible! It’s almost like it bursts in your mouth! They are little bites of satisfaction and deliciousness! YUM!!! 😛

Because I’m so passionate about my wonderful Malaysian heritage, I decided to use Onde Onde as my inspiration and concoct my own creation-with Mrs Mom and Dr Auntie by my side! So, instead of the Kuih Onde Onde, I turned the classic Malaysian favourite into…Onde Onde CAKE! It’s something bigger and bolder! I’m sure lots of people will fall in love with it!

onde-onde-cakeNow I know what most of you are thinking. What is the recipe for the cake! Well, I’m truly sorry but I can’t give it out to other people. It is TOP SECRET TPL business only! However, there is one thing I can share…my first time making it! Let’s get to it!

tpl-business-only-new

The first thing that I had to do was chop up a couple of pandan leaves and grind them with a pestle and mortar. It was hard work but I eventually managed to do it! I also needed to add a splash of water whilst I was grinding. This was to get the pandan essence out of the leaves.

grinding-pandan

Next, I had to strain the leaves and squeeze them so the essence would come out and drip into the cake batter. It gave the cake a light green colour and a fantastic aromatic smell. The remaining crushed leaves were discarded because no one likes something gritty and chewy in their cake, at least I haven’t met anyone who does!

cake batter

After the batter was mixed thoroughly, it had to be equally divided into individual cake cases. I had to be careful with the amount that I poured in. Too much batter and the cake would be all over the place!

Then, I sprinkled some desiccated coconut onto the tops of the cakes. This was to add some extra crunch in the cakes. It also had a nice, fresh flavour, which goes great with pandan!

coconut

I also scattered some Malaysian palm sugar or Gula Melaka over the coconut. It adds sweetness to the cake and it almost has a decadent caramel-like taste. It is also very fragrant.

gula-melaka

All I had to do now was wait for it to cook. So, Mrs Mom set the timer and put the tray of cakes into the oven. When Mrs Mom bakes cakes, she has her own special way of checking if they are cooked brilliantly. If she pokes a skewer into one of her cakes and it comes out clean, that means that they are perfecto!

Finally, the cakes had finished baking in the oven! The finishing product didn’t look flawless as it was my first time making it. But, it still tasted delectable! There was a hint of sweetness from the palm sugar, crunchiness from the coconut and a wonderful smell from the pandan! And to top it off, once I have polished my baking skills and tweaked the cake a bit, I can hopefully start selling my cakes to the public! So, maybe you might be able to get your hands on one of them!

finishing-product

To conclude this post, I would like to share the recipe for the original Onde Onde. It’s fun, easy and great to eat! Here is the video:

Sorry guys, I’ve got to go now! It’s the first day of school tomorrow and I need to get my beauty sleep! But, I hope you’ve enjoyed reading this post! Don’t forget to try out the recipe for Onde Onde! See you later!

p/s: Follow me on Instagram, Facebook and Twitter @thepawsomelion for regular updates!

*Media Sources: Google Images, YouTube & The Pawsome Lion*