Zanzibar in photos

In June/July, I was fortunate enough to travel to Zanzibar with my parents and siblings. Zanzibar is one of those places with such a tranquil aura that even a person with an overactive mind and inability to rest (me) is forced to slow down. We spent some time on the beach and also spent a few days in Stone Town. Zanzibar is a beautiful destination and is culturally rich too. Here are my photos…

This place has my heart and I would go back in the blink of an eye.

Nabeela x

Good Stuff 04. / Best

When I stumbled upon Best on Instagram, I was instantly captivated by the beautiful imagery and graphics. But what drew me in even more was the brand’s focus on emphasising the fact that a woman doesn’t need jewellery to be more beautiful – she already has everything she needs.  This stuck with me – so many brands nowadays profit off our insecurities and to see a brand go against that notion is so refreshing. Founded by Rebecca Scher, Best has a range of understated, elegant earrings and rings that are simple enough for everyday wear, yet still feel luxurious. The range consists of pieces of varying shape and size, so everyone’s preferences are catered for. Here’s what Rebecca had to say about the brand.

What inspired you to start the brand?

There are two main reasons why I started Best. The first reason stems from a more personal story of growing up and trying to “fit in”. The person I wanted to be was different from the person I thought the world needed me to be – a phenomenon not unfamiliar to many of us! I ended up judging myself, what I was doing, where I was going, what I was wearing – all together exacerbating the self-conscious woman inside of me. Upon leaving high school, I then went on a mission to practice more self-love and felt immense power in being able to take my mask off, be vulnerable and say “this is me”.

The second reason stems from trying to understand why we put up these “masks” in the first place. There is an interesting social reality that we face in the world today. It has never been easier to show ourselves to the world. Yet at the same time, because we have so many platforms and opportunities to show ourselves, we choose to “curate” ourselves into these unrealistic images of what it means to be human. And for far too long, brands have told us stories about how we’re not good enough. This leads to a lack of self-love and unnecessary comparisons with the world around us.

I created Best with the vision to change the role of brands in our society and to step up socially and change the narrative of what it means to truly “show” yourself. I want to see a world where women can feel comfortable sharing an image of their face post an acne breakout or sharing the moment where they felt unhappy or perhaps in their assessment, not beautiful. By sharing, we can work toward influencing the way women feel about themselves, for the better.

What three words would you use to describe Best?

Authentic, inclusive and encouraging 

What are your hopes for the future of your brand and business?

I want to be able to create a global community of women who come together, support each other and celebrate all that makes us feel our Best.

Find Best online here, here and here. Here’s to another female-owned business doing pretty amazing things.

Nabeela x

Some skin things

I haven’t chatted about my skincare routine for a while, so here’s a little update. First things first, my routine is no longer 100% natural. I’ve been trying out a variety of skincare products for about 2 years now, and have found that my skin is happiest when I use a combination of products. After using only natural products for a while, I was breaking out and my skin just wasn’t where I want it to be. So, I’ve made some changes and tried my best to still use products that have good, clean ingredients. Another thing that’s become a big factor when it comes to picking my skincare products is fragrance. The more research I do, the more evident it becomes that fragrance in skincare is bad news. So, here are the products I’ve been using lately…

Cleanser 

I’ve been using the Eucerin DermatoClean refreshing cleansing gel. I’ve been happy with it so far. It leaves my skin feeling clean, but not tight or dried out.

Moisturizer

I have two on the go at the moment. For daytime use, the Eucerin Aquaporin Active. Its worked okay, but I’m not sure I’d repurchase it. The texture feels too much like sunscreen for my liking. At night, I’ve been using the Aloe Unique Essential Night Cream. It’s quite thick, so it’s been working well for me. I think when these two are done, I’ll go back to a product I can use in the morning and at night.

Sunscreen

I apply SPF to my face every day after my morning skincare. I use the Nivea Sun 50 Shine Control. I’m on my third bottle I think, simply because it works well and it is the most affordable option I can find. I may give the Avene one or even a k-beauty brand one a shot next time.

Toner

I’ve been using the Cosrx AHA/BHA Clarifying Treatment Toner and I’ve enjoyed it. I was hesitant to use a product with acids originally, but it has proven to be quite gentle. I also use micellar water to remove make-up. Usually, I switch between the Garnier one and the Bioderma one.

Exfoliator

I have used Ocean Salt from Lush for a while, as it feels like the only one that actually works for me. However it can be quite harsh, so I use it only once a week or so, and quite gently.

And that’s that. If you have any recommendations for toners (or anything else), please leave a comment! I’ve always looking out for new brands and possibly more affordable options.

Nabeela x

 

On Pressure and Expectations

As someone who places an incredible amount of pressure on myself, crippling self-doubt and unrealistic expectations are two things I am well versed in. I know that this is something that many people struggle with too, and it can be so exhausting to try and navigate.

There is a quote that reads “diamonds are coal that did well under pressure”. These are the types of quotes that make me hate Pinterest. And I love Pinterest. We live in a society that glorifies working yourself to the bone to achieve something, even if it is at the expense of your mental health and physical wellbeing. I’m here to tell you this – we’ve got to stop. And I say “we” because I’m talking about myself too. It can be so easy to get caught up in trying to achieve highly all the time. But sometimes, this is not realistic and can be unsustainable.

Now, I’m not saying that we shouldn’t have goals or aspirations. I believe that having a clear purpose or goal is one of the most important elements to achieving success, no matter what area of your life it falls under. Goals motivate us, keep us going and remind us why we started. But. They can also overwhelm us, and make us lose sight of how well we’re already achieving. It gets to a point where nothing feels good enough. This is not a happy or healthy place to be.

Recently I’ve come to realise just how critical I am of myself. I’ve had to think about whether I’m doing more harm than good, and challenge my thought patterns which I previously just took as “being driven”. I have also realised that when I don’t achieve some ridiculous goal I’ve set for myself, the only person who is mad about it is me.

I’ve learnt that sometimes, it’s not worth the drama. It’s not worth the “its not good enough” dialogue that seems to play out constantly in my head, and that not getting a 90 on a test doesn’t mean much in the grander scheme of things. Life will go on.

So, here’s to being a little kinder to myself. To giving myself a little more room for error. To breathe. To be a human being. I hope you’ll join me.

September Musings

I know I’m not alone in saying that 2019 has simply flown by. Next week we go into the final quarter of the year! It almost feels unreal. My online presence this year has been erratic to say the least. School has been busy and life in general has not left much time for my usual pastimes. I’m back nonetheless to do a bit of blogging – things feel a bit slower right now so it feels like a good time to pop back in.

It’s been an emotional rollercoaster of a month for South Africans. August is Women’s Month, and September saw violent, horrific crimes committed against the women in our country. Like many women and men alike, it has left me feeling incredibly overwhelmed, helpless and scared. All of this  has been weighing heavily on me and I’ve found myself having to take a step back every so often just to calm down and collect myself. It’s been quite a thing to navigate.

On a happier note though, there has also been so much good! The summer is approaching, which means that Cape Town experiences all the seasons in a seven-day period. Think sweater weather one day and beach weather the next. The sun has such a wonderful effect on me and always makes me feel uplifted and happy, so I’m grabbing any opportunity to soak up some sun as the warmer weather approaches us.

I’m hoping to do some more writing over here over the next few months. It feels so unreal that I started this little blog when I first started high school, and here I am, finishing off high school (but hopefully not blogging) next month.

It’s been a wild ride – thanks for sticking it out with me!

Nabeela x

It’s Okay Not To Know

Being young is hard. There is this expectation to be bursting with excitement and full of ideas, youthful and energetic, yet still sensible and mature. No pressure, right? Having said that, being young is also exciting. The world is your oyster and there are many opportunities to make your own decisions and determine the narrative of your life for the first time. 

I’m in my final year of high school, and to be honest, and it all feels quite surreal. Milestones are flying past, and it feels as if life is a treadmill going just a little too fast for comfort. Applying to universities, looking at possible career options and deciding what to do with the rest of my life feels overwhelming to say the least, but at the same time, it feels like a good challenge and something to look forward to. 

Something I’ve been struggling with is how much my mind has changed about things like careers, universities and study choices in the past year. At first, this stressed me out. How was I ever going to decide? There are so many degrees and institutions to choose from. But as I started to think about it more and more, I realised that I don’t owe anyone any explanations (except my parents, of course). If my mind has changed twelve times since I last spoke to that distant relative who seems to have an awful lot of opinions about my life, so what? I am allowed to change my mind. I’m allowed to discover new options and learn new things. I’m allowed to feel good about something one day and be not so sure the next day. It comes with the territory of growing up. And its okay. 

There is also a lot of pressure on young people to make many difficult, life-changing decisions at a young age and in a very short space of time. Again, this is a lot of pressure and can be difficult to cope with. Let me tell you something, friends. Life is not a movie. When the credits to your high school life roll, you don’t have to have your whole life planned out, your bank card loaded, your skin cleared, and ride off into the sunset with the love of your life (although that would be great). I keep saying it, but there is an immense amount of pressure on young people to have it all together and make the right choices. Making mistakes is okay. If you plans change, its okay. You will end up where you need to be.

Nabeela x

(This piece was originally written for and published by Comeback Magazine)

Taking A Moment To Reflect

Every time I’ve planned to sit and write a new post, something has gotten in the way. Either my immense amounts of school work or just that nagging feeling in my tummy that what I’ve written isn’t quite worthy of being read. I’m so glad that I’ve finally gotten around to sitting down to write, and it feels good to be back!

Life has been busy – I’m sure I’m not alone in saying this. The year is flying, and I want to hit the brakes and also want it to be over all at the same time. Since I’ve last posted, I’ve written a set of important exams, turned eighteen, done some travelling with my family, read a LOT of books (don’t ask me how – I don’t know where I got the time to either), and have just generally been caught up in a lot. But so it goes.

The middle of the year has also come and gone, so that, together with having a birthday recently has left me in a slightly reflective mood.

I was going to share 18 lessons I’ve learnt in 18 years but I opted for quality over quantity instead (read: I couldn’t think of 18 good ones). Anyways, here they are…

  • I always underestimate my ability to get on without other people. It sounds bad, but its not really. I just feel that sometimes we feel as if other people are our be-all and end-all. We feel as if we really cannot live without seeing certain people every single day. But, that is not true. We are adaptable creatures, and I’ve found it kind of comforting to learn that I’m pretty okay looking after myself.
  • You don’t have to mold yourself to fit into places where you feel unwanted. This has always been something I’ve struggled with a bit. I’ve always fallen into the minority (in terms of culture, race and religion) in my social circles, and it used to make me insecure. But as I’m growing up I’m learning that its okay to not fit in in every place. But on the other hand, its okay to be in places where you’re different. It doesn’t mean there’s anything wrong with you. It just means you’re different. And that’s okay.
  • Taking care of yourself is important. Enough said.
  • I’m learning that I can get through anything if I just allow myself the time to cry and be upset, and then move on. Suppressed feelings are the ones that tend to turn nasty. Someone once told me that feelings are like naughty toddlers. The more you try to make them go away, the more bothersome they become. So allow yourself to let your emotions run their course and acknowledge that they’re valid.

This year has been crazy so far, and I have many long months of hard, hard, hard work ahead of me. BUT I know that once it’s all over I’m going to be so sad and wish I could go back in time. Here’s to the bittersweet moments.

Nabeela x

P.S. I’m also a monthly writer over at Comeback Magazine now, so if you’re keen you can read my first article here.

The Orange River on Film

Every year, the whole of my high school goes away and spends a week in nature, be it hiking or paddling. This year, as is a custom at my school and many other schools across the country, we spent five glorious day on the Orange River, which serves as a border between South Africa, and our neighbouring country, Namibia.

We drove up (it took almost 12 hours), and after multiple toilet breaks and burger stops, we finally got through border control and were in another country (!!!). Being out in nature with school  always make my heart so full. Without much signal or technology (I always make a point of leaving my phone at home), we have so much time to just chat to each other and engage and connect in ways that the busy everyday school life doesn’t really leave much room for.

We paddled for three of the five days, and the other two days were for traveling. The Orange River is so beautiful. We’d start in the morning, and pull up to a sand bank for the night just as the sun was setting.

I can’t quite put into words how it feels to fall asleep after a day of paddling down the river, with the moon and stars above your head, huddled in a little group, sleeping amongst some of your favourite people, whilst listening to the sound of water running gently over the rocks, and listening to the chirp of insects. It’s magical to say the least. Whilst the paddling was physically taxing at times, it was so fulfilling and it makes me a little teary if I think about it for too long because my longing to go back is that great. We have a beautiful continent, that’s for sure.

Nabeela x

Lately 07

We’re almost a quarter way through 2019, and it feels unreal how fast time is flying by. Getting closer to the end of a chapter of your life is bittersweet – you want it to come and you also never want it to come, all at the same time.

I have been busy to say the least! You may have noticed that both my blog and Instagram have been a little quieter than usual, and that is due to the huge workload and other responsibilities that have been consuming most of my time as of late. As a result, making stuff and writing for the blog hasn’t been very high on my to-do list (but I do want to get back into it a little in my one week of holidays coming around soon).

Next week, I’m off for the week on a beautiful river just outside of South Africa and I’m looking so forward to a week of sunshine, sand, paddling, no phone or signal, and spending time with my friends.

Lately, I have been:

listening to: a bunch of music on Spotify, including all the Sabrina Claudio, and Post Malone (always, always, always).

reading: Grit by Angela Duckworth. Just got into this one, and I’ve heard its a goodie, so I’m looking forward to that.

wearing: this body mist from the Body Shop that smells like a garden in a bottle.

using: this face cream from simply bee

writing: lots in my journal to try and keep calm and stay zen. I also wrote for issue 10 of Comeback magazine.

bullet journaling: to stay on top of all my schoolwork

trying my best to: live in the moment, and enjoy every second of my last year of school

all the love

Nabeela x

Good Stuff 03. / In The Mood For

I’m a self-confessed stationery addict. I love any kind of stationery. Notebooks, novelty pens, markers, stickers, the works; you name it, and I want to try it out. As I’ve mentioned many times before, Instagram is where I find most of the cool stuff on the internet and since I’ve gotten into bullet journaling, I’ve started to find a couple of cool, little online stores that sell the prettiest stationery and paper goods. My current favourite is In The Mood For, an online stationery shop based in Singapore that sells the most lovely washiest tapes and paper goods, as well as tote bags and phone cases. I asked Vee, the owner a bit more about the brand.

inthemoodforaestheticstationery01

1. Where are you based?

I’m based in Singapore!

2. Your brand in three words?

Ordinary (simple objects with meaning)

Mindful (encourage mindfulness)

Calm (invoke a sense of calm)

3. Your one tip for growing on social media?

Be consistent in the things that you share, and only put out what you truly believe in and not what you think people would like!

4. The person you have in mind when creating your ranges

I usually create my items while being inspired by my surroundings (nature)/ places that I want to go/ scenes that make me feel calm. The products on my store are greatly inspired by ordinary objects, and the subtle little things in our daily lives that we often overlook.

If there is a person I have in mind when creating these products, it would be the best version of myself that I want to be. I create these products by imagining what I would find helpful in helping myself to transition from where I am now to where I hope to be, and I hope they would also be helpful to the people that these products end up with.

When certain things invoke certain moods that greatly inspire me, I try to recreate these feelings and introduce them into my products so that hopefully, my customers can feel these moods and feel the same way that they inspire me.

inthemoodforaestheticstationery02

You can find them on Instagram and their online shop.

Nabeela x

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