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Tuesday, 19 May 2015

A Meaningful Day


Over the weekend, Aiman and I both decided to do a dry run for Double A - at 80% complete. Only because we had a motivated team eager to serve customers, whip up some wicked beverages and offer amazing desserts! So off we went :)

Night before we went to bed at 4am setting up the POS system, sweeping and mopping the floors at 11pm before the pipe decided to burst and was soaked at midnight because the main for the water can only be handled by management and they weren't around at that time...testing out coffee machine and rearranging our set up with no lights (because lights for the front of the shop was not installed yet at that time)....basically we were in a state where we thought it was a bit crazy to want to open the shop for a dry run.

But you know what? We woke up with the biggest motivation to make do with what we had! Being the corporate people that Aiman and I are, we tend to do things a little different from how it is usually done in the F&B industry but oh heck - we've sent out invitations so we cannot back out.

16th of May turned out to be one of the best days we've ever had together, Aiman and I. We had our apron on, our Superteam with us, handled the cash machine, served customers and cleaned up all in that 3 hours that we were opened! We served about 80 customers who went back happy, and that was the only thing that mattered to us :)

It was so surreal that I am so so so grateful to God for blessing both Aiman and I with all these challenges and rezeki. You have no idea how much I'm in love with our new business. There's definitely a lot to do, and a long long way more to the end but Alhamdulillah for a start we have motivating team and I just can't. First day down and I was missing my staff already.

As I was having dinner with Aiman (more like supper since we hardly have time for meals anymore these days) I looked at him and tears rolled down my cheeks..."I miss my Double A team already. Why aren't we working on Monday and Tuesday? :((("

And all Aiman did was....laughed at me. He really has no idea how much I love my team guys, he knows me very well like that.

Saturday, 9 May 2015

Double A Cafe KL coming soon!


So much is happening for both Aiman and I right now and everything feels so quick. Soon our lil bub will be up and ready to operate! We're planning a little family day at the cafe - more like opening doors to what may be the best or worse critics, planning a private event and assembling together all brands for the official launch. Fuuuuh! Make way for panda eyebags, they're designer :D

Gosh, you'd think you'll only need to make sure there is coffee at the shop but hell no, so much more things to ensure than that  when opening up your own business. Definitely a steep learning curve for us and we can't stop counting our blessings for this opportunity He has given, Alhamdulillah. It's very much like a one-way street, you decide to build a business and then you start settling all expenditures and then there is not turning back man! We gotta make sure we can convince our strategic investors that this idea of ours would work. On top of that hope and pray that things would fall into place as planned InsyaAllah. In life, I guess you cannot predict what's coming your way, but you can definitely make the best out of what you have at that point in time.
So what is Double A?

When we created it, we envisioned Double A to be your neighbourhood cafe in Ara Damansara working towards an aim of bringing quality coffee and desserts for customers. We believe in carrying the best of Malaysia's home-bake "brands" at our place! How many of you have experienced the challenge of crazy cravings for cakes? But then that favourite cake supplier of yours sells only whole cakes. But heyyy, I still want that tiny tiny one slice. Just one.

Here at Double A, we plan to do just that for you! Give you that small bite pieces from any of your favourite suppliers!

Currently, we are working with three amazing brands for our first launch and I've learn nothing but only the greatest tips from them. Exciting times! :)) Follow us on FB (Double A Cafe KL) or Instagram (doubleacfe) to see the brands we're about to reveal! 

Wednesday, 6 May 2015

Opposites Attract

They say opposites attract.

Aiman and I....we are like night and day. So glaringly different.
  • I get ready very quickly. Aiman takes a long time to get ready. Very disciplined at having breakfast first before getting ready for work. I'm the kind who'd jump straight off from bed and get ready. 
  • I prefer feeling stressed out int he beginning whilst Aiman prefers doing things last minute and feel stressed out hours before an event. 
  • When I say 8.30, I mean 8.20. When Aiman says 8.30, he means 8.40. 
Right this moment, I just told him I finish work at 7. He says ok...

but still arrives at 8. Oh Aimannnn :D

Sunday, 26 April 2015

Last night

Both Aiman and I came home from a wedding last night with the intention to do some work before heading to bed.

What really happened: Aiman was in Disneydreamland 5 minutes later.

So I thought this would be the perfect time for me to have some me-time and finish up work for Double A. It was really nice to just snuggle underneath the duvet in the coldest 16 degrees room and  pay all my attention to Double A. Aiman and I are currently at this stage where we have soooo many little little things that we need to sort out immediately every chance we had - at every-free time we have because weekdays are just so difficult for us to run errands for the Cafe. 

We're in the midst of something very exciting at the moment! Excited to plan our first ever event at the cafe soon InsyaAllah! So, sorted out all the operational matters and then it came to customising menu....

"I want to have this. No no....I want to have that. Perhaps along with this one too?"

Was debating with my self for about half an hour - well, me and snoring Aiman - before I gave up and thought it was time for bed. Woke Aiman up (coz he was asleep on the floor, didn't make onto the bed guys. He was that tired!), got him to sleep properly and then headed to bed. 

This morning I woke feeling satisfied that I managed to complete so much work last night before Aiman casually said...

"Did you know you woke up in the middle of the night last night? You were talking to yourself and was asking "Where's the client listttt? Where is it?"...."

Apparently I insisted on that Client list. I think I meant Cake list perhaps. Or maybe I had too much of Invest Malaysia 2015. Haha!! Aiman being the good husband tried to wake me up from sleep talking and guess what happened?

I looked at him and said "YOU"RE NOT MY CLIENT!!"...and happily snuggled back to bed. 

Haihhh so nice to be married right. I get to scold someone in my sleep. LOL!!!! Sorry sayang! :)))

Saturday, 18 April 2015

Appreciate

Lately I've realised that as humans you can take for granted even the smallest things. Small things that only when its lost will you realise it, regretting for not appreciating those things sooner. 

Some people can continue talking so harshly - taking for granted someone who doesn't take things to heart. "No matter how I speak, this person will still treat me kindly anyway". 

Some people can feel so envious of another's happiness they start comparing lives; "why does she have it and I don't?"

Some people cannot see another person so happy and content, they start making other people take sides. This I have seen a lot. 

Some people look for a person only during down times and they forget friends when they are at their happiest. 

Some people can be so calculative they expect something so much bigger because of one little kindness they may have given before. 

Some people suddenly become your friend instantly when you are recognised for something good; "Oh, we grew up together" or some crazy ancient story like that. 

Treat people with kindness, and never take for granted blessings (no matter how small) that are right before your eyes. It can a beautiful day (and people still whine when it's too hot or when it rains!), it can be a small surprise from someone, it can be a nice person, it can even be a smile from a stranger. All these little thing and kindness make all the difference. Cherish it and always count your blessings before you even ask for something, a little more. 

I just feel very thankful for the handful of people I see every single day who are always positive and happy - they never fail to make me feel content. Happiness is a choice and it's really free! So don't waste em energy competing with your inner self :)

Friday, 17 April 2015

Mix & Match

We're now in the midst of choosing and picking what we want to put into our cafe - the colours, the cups, the chairs, the tiles....everything!!! It's so super fun mix and matching everything that sometimes we tend to piece things that our ID doesn't agree with. Imagine the headache our ID has to go through, coz Aiman and I think it's a free playground.

Once, we tried to mix and match yellow, red and black cups. REJECTED.

It's like picking what you want for a wedding dress. Which and what go together. For me, I can be quite bad at it at times, because I love so many things, and these many things when put together don't go together. Hahaha!

Anyway, we're getting very excited as we plan for the opening soon, InsyaAllah if He wills it. In the meantime, we'll continue to give our ID a big massive headache :D

Sunday, 5 April 2015

DOUBLE A IS HIRING!


We are looking for driven, motivated and (most importantly) cheerful individuals who are passionate about creating a success in the F&B industry! 

If you want to be a part of the happy team at Double A cafe, do drop in your CV and the team will get back to you asap :) 

Experience? Nahhhh. I have ZERO experience, but I sure do love being a part of a happy and driven team working for something that has turn into love for me. Coffee. 

Sunday, 29 March 2015

hantu roti

People close to me would know I have so much love for bread. I would walk into a supermarket and take the longest time to pick out the loaf that I want. The most important criteria that would make me buy them is if they are soft, that to me shows that it is fresh from the oven. I would even attempt to kill whoever puts my loaf of bread into the fridge. You know how some put their bread into the fridge so that it lasts longer? 

No. I totally hate that. Because the softness won't be the same anymore after you put them into a microwave later on. Plus, I used to take about 2-3 days to finish a loaf :P So no thank you. I'll finish my loaf well before the expiry thank you.

When I used to live in London, I could find bread EVERYWHERE! And even those loose ones are amazingly delicious I could eat it on its own. They're not just easy for me to grab and delicious, they only costed 0.30 pence. How I miss my London times. 

Anyway, a couple of weeks back, I saw an advertisement in the Star Online (you know one of those popping up ones that annoy you because you just want to get to the news). Bake with Kuali workshop. They were advertising their workshop on Bread baking. 

"Sayang! Look!! *sends the link* "JOM?"

Before I knew it, Aiman had already paid for our spots! Too efficient. 

Initially yesterday, I was tempted to skip the course. Only because I was feeling a little under the weather. But Aiman insisted that the Double A Team do this so that we know ourselves how to make it when Double A opens. Things we do for our little baby Double A. 
It was a collaboration between Kuali and Malaysian Institute of Baking (yup! I didn't know MIB existed until yesterday!) and we were taught the science of baking before we got our hands dirty with some Pumpkin Seed loaf, wholemeal loaf and sandwich loaf. Very privileged to have been taught by Chef Don and assisted by his students at MIB. The one thing that I was very impressed about are his students at MIB. You would think they do just baking as part of their degree, but no, they are expected to also get pass accounts and economics during some semesters. CRAZY! I'd be stress! These graduates at MIB are a full package, throw them out there and they can open up their own cafe :)

Hopefully I'll be baking you guys some bread in the future at Double A, Insya Allah! :)

Monday, 16 March 2015

From Penang to KL

Over the weekend, we took off on a random flight to Penang for a mini getaway and to also visit Aiman's grandpa (we call him Tok Ayah). He is sooooo cute and such a businessman at heart. We Aiman was told off for spending 'so much' money on flights and hotel. Hehe. We explained to him how times are bad these days...haha! You know...with all the price of oil being topsy turvy and all and nothing like the price during his time and GST kicking in soon, so prices for things are going up and all.

Just a btw note, GST will actually be a substitute for the existing sales and service tax you guys are being charged now. But on what sellers are marking up post-GST, God knows.

Anyway, we had an amazing great getaway in Penang with loads of food adventures and of course a visit to the beach. I'm starting to think that I'm a beach girl. I just don't like the sun, although for picture purposes the sun will come in handy.

We decided to head back to KL in the evening because we had a meeting for Double A at night. Guess who made it possible for us not to have the meeting? Our Airline.

Our flight was at 5pm, and we were making our way to the gate at 4.45. Hurriedly we went straight to the door, thinking that we were already late because there was no queue and there was a huge sign on the board saying CALLING. I thought "s*** we're the last, it's gonna be so embarrassing to walk into the aircraft last". Turned out the plane has yet to arrive. So we thought it may be on its way. Spoke to some disappointed passengers and they said that actually the flight has been delayed to an unknown time.

My first thought: Then can you please bring that freaking CALLING word down and put DELAYED instead?

20 minutes passed and we started seeing a mini commotion at the counter. Feeling a little left out, Aiman decided to be a little nosy and started joining the commotion. Found out, the flight has actually been CANCELLED. Not delayed.

My first thought: Make an announcement.

I asked the counter why no announcement. They politely explained that they wanted to, however passengers already started attacking their counter so they did not feel the need to.  -_______-

We were then promised a flight 3 hours later at 8pm (did not bother fighting with the rest of the passengers who wanted to get on the 5.20pm flight to a different airport) and was assured that it is confirmed. So Aiman and I requested for a slip to go back out. I thought this is probably God's sign to allow me another round of Nasi Kandar before I head back to KL :D Btw, we got to McD and found out that there is a special lane for delayed flight passengers, but of course we did not get that coupon which upon checking later on, they said "oh kami ada coupon untuk delayed flight". Why thank you.

Long story short, at 8pm when they called for all passengers to board, we still have yet to receive our new boarding passes! The person in front of the queue was passing the message to tell us that the Airline now may not have seats available and we may be pushed to the 8.20pm flight.

My first thought: You bring your Manager to the ground and manage this crisis. Don't go and call the poor counter girl and tell her to tell us sorry no more seats.

There was no point in getting angry to the person at the counter. She cannot make the call about who and who gets to go on the plane when there are a hundred people in front of her requesting for the next flight out. I went to the front of the line and said that they should have their manager down on the ground now to manage the many angry passengers ready to probably eat them alive by then. It is unacceptable that you promised me a seat for an 8pm flight and now you're telling me that there is no seat. It's either you take someone off the plane or you do not make a promise that you are unsure of, no?

She quickly took our boarding passes and assigned us seats in the 8pm flight. They did not even issue us new tickets. Oh well, as long as I get back to KL I'm all good :)

My point is, I am ok for a flight to be delayed or cancelled. In fact it probably saved my life if there were real problems with the aircraft and I definitely have them to thank for. But have the courtesy and better trained employees to manage crisis. Do not cancel a flight without notifying passengers because they may have already made plans for a connecting flight and stuff. And do not promise passengers something you are not sure of. I'm sure passengers would be more understanding when you tell them about your crisis management process, step by step.

Friday, 13 March 2015

Train Money

The other day Aiman was around the office area for a meeting and we decided to have lunch together. 
He doesn't work in KL, so on those rare days when he is back in KL for meetings and conveniently the meeting is around my office we will go for lunch together. He decided to take us to some nice lunch as he did not have anything to rush for after lunch. I on the other hand had a meeting at 3pm in the city, so Aiman offered to drop me off a little early after lunch before he goes off for his next meeting. 

Turned out we finished lunch way earlier than we thought we would. So I told Aiman that probably he can head back first and I'll find my own way to the city later on. At least I can finish up some work and pray in the office first before I leave for meeting, and Aiman on the other hand would not have to wait too long. Plus, there is easy access to public transport from where I was. 

He obliged and we headed to the car for him to drop me back off at the office. As I was about to get out of the car, he took out RM10 note and gave it to me. 

What's this for?
"That's your train money"
Train money?
"Yeah. Cause you never have to pay for anything ever again"
Oh no need, I'm using my staff tag to get on the train. 
"Then reload your staff tag"

Awww! Too cute and too sweet! Where did I find this husband of mine again? 

Of course as a working wife, you try to catch that waiter with the bill first before he gets to Aiman when you go out (but it's like an auto pilot thing sometimes for waiters to go to the guys to take the tab). Or pays for something behind his back and by the time he finds out, it's too late for him to pay for it. 

Sorry, did I hear you say supplementary card is on the way? 
#ithinkiseeanicehandbagtheretoo

Wednesday, 11 March 2015

Thank YOU!

Starting up a cafe is not as easy as just making sure we have coffee in the shop.

That's a good starting point no doubt. However, Aiman and I are cracking our heads to think of how to make this cafe different. Different from what is already out there. 

I love the idea of having a prayer room - sometimes I don't end up going for coffee because I have not yet prayed and that cafe that we want to try does not have a surau. So yes, I want a prayer room at Double A. And then Aiman the practical-one-who-thinks-about-everything (good thing I married someone like him!) asked me "but sayang, where will the source of water come from?". He usually asks because he already has an answer for it and wants to test how innovative I am. Pffft. Testing the wife.

So now, we're brainstorming ideas on what to have and what not to have at our little dream cafe. It's not easy, but it's nice to have a balance between having loads of ideas and having a person who comes up with a solution for just about everything, thank god :)

Recently, two of my good friends, Vivy and Kimmy posted up on their instagram about Double A. They've been so supportive from the first day Aiman and I had this cafe idea, giving me tips (especially) on how to take better pictures and take better pictures and take better pictures. LOL!

Responds were continuously flowing in with amazing amazing new ideas - some we've never even thought about like lone ranger. That little space of your own. I never knew there were high demands for this! And then the idea for a kid friendly corner which of course being a kid-lover, I jumped at that idea was all YES YES YES! but Aiman was asking me to justify my YES (he's like that auditor that checks every cent that comes in and goes out, my kids will never get toys so easily in the future).

Humbled by the overwhelming responds really, Alhamdulillah for such great and supportive friends and people who shared and gave great comments and ideas for our Double A. May Allah grant you guys His blessings for spreading kindness to a stranger like me and Aiman :))) We will definitely jot down every single idea and give them all some thought on whether it is doable or not at Double A.

Tuesday, 3 March 2015

Which way should it be?

Recently we went through some reshuffling in terms of seating in the office - we had a few colleagues joining the floor so we had to make space for them.

As the secretary was trying to finalize the seating quickly for new joiners on the floor I looked around and saw everyone making rounds-on-the-spot. So imagine me standing on one spot and twirling like those in the traditional musical box...

...but with a compass in my hand.

Everyone was looking for a good 'feng shui' and where their seats should face. Some used the compass to see where North was, some used the compass to see where the Kiblat (direction for prayers for the Muslims) was. Turned out the arrows were pointing in so many directions at one point, it was such a cute sight!!!

God definitely made space for everyone because every single one of us found a spot we wanted. As for me, I did not need to move. Maybe I should open up that compass to reconfirm... :))

Saturday, 28 February 2015

Khao Lakkkkk

So Aiman decided to take me away from work and fly me to Phuket for the loong weekend last weekend.

Sorry, no. Not Phuket. 

Khao Lak. 

MasyaAllah, it was too pretty there that I couldn't stop snapping photos of everything I set my eyes on. Even the fishes in their pond looked pretty! Unfortunately, the phone camera can never quite capture what we see right before our eyes. So I thought why bother, it's probably a sign for me to put my phone away and have some husband and wife time.

....FULL BAR WIFI at the beach?! Seriously?!

Aiman who?
hahahaha! Thank god I married someone who understands my crazy need to always have access to my phone. Once we went for Kim's wedding at Janda Baik, we were supposed to stay over. But we eneded up driving back down to KL that night itself after the reception because there was no network up there in Janda Baik! I know it's supposed to be romantic and all but...but...

Aiman knows I'm that psycho who needs to have access to my family 24 hours - even if I don't talk to them every minute, I know there is connection and I can call/whatsapp them anytime. Before boarding a flight, I'll be whatsapping with the family group chat till that very minute when they tell us to shut off our phone. With Aiman, every week when he's about to fly back to Johor for work I'll be on whatsapp with him till he flies off (well, not that he replies till the very last minute la) :P

Back to Khao Lak, we decided to stay at JW Marriot and my goodnees when we arrived we surely were treated like kings and queens. We got to the airport and the Marriot taxi was already waiting for us to take us to the hotel and on the way to the hotel the driver received a call from the receptionist who called to actually check if Aiman and I are doing ok. Service tip top! Mind you we have not even paid for the hotel.

Upon arrival at the hotel we were attended to from the checking in all the way till the room. The hotel was a PARADISE! I went ooh and ahh whilst the receptionist patiently explained to us that Marriot has the longest pool in South East Asia. So imagine, everything in the mega huge gorgeous beautiful perfect hotel is connected through the pool, no gate no doors whatsoever! How awesome is that?! It's like a gateless community but in the hotel. #jakun. Got to the room and the first thing we were shown was our room access straight into the pool - the drinks bar and jacuzzi was just a few backstrokes away. Spoiled much? *haihhhhhhh*
Each room came with a float and of course my dearest husband was kind enough to blow it up for me. We decided that the first thing we should do was to swim around the entire hotel. It has this unique thing about it where you basically get to see people swimming around at all times but at the same time you don't feel like it's crowded but instead you still get that personal-space-private feeling to it.
The beach area I was told was rebuilt post tsunami and MasyaAllah, everything about the beach was just so so so perfect. Yup, we could swim our way from the room to the beach area :P The beach was clean and just nice, not too crowded and well designed with the palm trees and comfortable beach chairs for us to just get some sun tan. Not to mention, there was also a restaurant by the beach that sells ice cream and shakes and pizza and salmon wraps and cold fruits and....full bar wifi.
All in all, I would so recommend this place for honeymooners! We literally did not leave the hotel. Well, there was no need for it though. Definitely going back there! :))

Wednesday, 18 February 2015

DOUBLE A CAFE

Aiman is one who is very very (and I mean VERY) passionate about coffee. If coffee was human, he'd probably end up marrying each and everyone of those coffee beans. He's so passionate that he joins coffee-making classes and even bought himself a manual coffee machine to be used at home. Since then, goodbye 3-in-1, you've lost Aiman's heart to the coffee machine. 

I on the other hand have always loved the cafe-hopping-and-coffee lifestyle since my London days. Not quite a coffee drinker though, but I love everything about coffee - the aroma that wakes everyone up in the tube every morning, the sight of people having the happiest conversation over coffee and cake, my boss buying all of us coffee to prepare for when the market opens,  the gorgeous latte art on each coffee cups and the warm comforting feeling it gives out during winter. Everything about coffee and cakes are beautiful! :)

Put together, a day after Aiman's birthday few weeks back, he mentioned about opening a cafe of his own and I just happened to have a location in my head with a very excited eager tone. Few hours later, we went to sleep that night DETERMINED, MOTIVATED and with a name for our then only-a-dream Cafe. 

Alia. Aiman. That makes up our company name - ALIAAIMAN VENTURES

First letter of our names combined - A and A. 
DOUBLE A CAFE 

Follow us on instagram at @doubleacafe to check out how we're progressing! 

Thursday, 12 February 2015

3rd National Aspiration and Leadership Symposium 2015 (#NALS2015)

Last weekend was my first time speaking in front of 1,600 young student leaders at the National Aspiration & Leadership Symposium (NALS). When I first got invited to speak at the event, I was shocked. I thought maybe they were actually looking for a different Alia Ishak. I had a look at the list of speakers, YB KJ, Dato' Seri Hishamuddin, Saiful Bahari Baharom and....they definitely got the wrong Alia!

Jokes aside, I was impressed from up on stage seeing the number of young leaders who made time on Saturday to attend NALS. Their level of energy was just amazing! Reminded me of YCM and I guess that's probably what the speakers usually feel. Proud to see so many enthusiastic young blood ready to learn, feel motivated and get inspired to rule the world!
On the panel with me were Michael Teoh, Rahman Hussin and Rizmel. So you can see the demographic of the session - political leaders (Rahman and Rizmel) vs non political leaders (Michael and I). We had to share our thoughts on Credibility in Youth Leadership. Whilst Rahman's and Rizmel's were more skewed to the political goals, Michael and I touched more on the corporate and entrepreneur side. 

I shared my thoughts about the importance of having Integrity, especially when working in a Banking and Customer Service sector as well as my experiences as a student leader in UKEC and Chairman of YCM. I've always believed that you have to do what you love, only then would you wake up excited, eager and happy to go to work every single day. When you're happy, every negative becomes a positive. Additionally, to do more than just study whilst you're in University - be proactive, get involved and boost up that CV of yours. 

My experience working in London tells me that paper qualification for Asian students doesn't really mean much because everyone scores string of As these days! What can differentiate you is your extra curricular and how those experiences further build your character. These value-added characteristics are what (potential) employers look for in a person. 
All in all, I had a priceless experience speaking with the very energetic and inspiring line of youth leaders moderated by the ever so cheerful Danni Rais. I'm not a fan of politics, not a fan of even talking about politics (I will become that person who will question you whichever party you are for, just because haha!), but I have to give it to Rahman and Rizmel - they shared some very crucial points about doing something you are passionate about and going down to the ground and getting your hands dirty. 

I've learned that it doesn't matter who you work for, what is important is you have to always make a conscious effort and have the best of intentions in making sure you do things the right way and InsyaAllah you will go far - (slowly but) surely. Religion has taught me that Allah SWT will always know your truest intentions. Humans tend to always remember that one bad thing but have less capability in acknowledging the good and right deeds that you do. Just do good (deeds the right way) anyway. Allah SWT knows all your intentions :) 

Once again, thank you for the very kind invitation NALS! I had a blast with the 1,600 attendees :)))