Month: October 2018

A Note on Exams

It feels like I write a post like this every exam season, but the truth is, every time the exam period comes around, I notice new things, and learn more about myself, and others, and what works to get through heavy workloads and stressful times.

I’ve always been a planner, so planning and organizing my studying  feels very natural to me. If you’re someone who struggles to maintain order and stick to a plan, a more brief outline of the content you need to cover before your exams will work just fine. I always find that having a clear plan of what work I’m going to do and when I’m going to do it helps to ease some of my anxiety around exams, because I can see that I have enough time to get through everything.

My friends and I start asking teachers for breakdowns as soon as we get back to school in term four. It really helps to know what content needs to be covered as early as possible. For subjects where these breakdowns aren’t given, I make my own, and just keep a running list as the term progresses.

Try keeping your room and desk area neat. It  can really help to unclutter your mind. So if you have a few minutes, just spend it filing away important papers, recycling the ones you don’t need, taking the dirty mugs down to the kitchen and sorting out your pens. It’ll do wonders.

Making sure that you get enough sleep is important too. As easy as it is to stay up until 3am before a big paper, it’ll catch up with you and you’ll burn out really quickly. Set a bedtime rule and try and stick to it as best you can. (Mine is 11pm – mostly).

Lastly, just remember that no matter how important and anxiety-inducing exams may feel, they’re just exams. You have a life after them. Your self-care doesn’t have to stop. Work hard, but allow yourself enough time to just pause and catch your breath.

Hope this helps a bit. I wish you all well over these exams!

Nabeela x



The Artist | Alice Trow

One of my favourite artists that I’ve recently discovered is Alice Trow from Victoria, Australia. She recently graduated with a Bachelor of Fine Art, and paints the most exquisite scenes of mountains, waterfalls and my personal favourites, her lovely moon paintings. Alice says she paints in a way that encourages the viewer to lean in and have a closer look – a welcome moment to slow down for just a second.  When I stumbled upon her beautiful Instagram account, it was love at first sight, and spent a good while scrolling right to the bottom of her feed, absolutely in awe of her beautiful work.

What inspires your art and style? 

To put it simply, my art is inspired by my love for the natural world. I’m mostly interested in portraying dreamy landscapes where time seems to stand still and nature remains vastly untouched by human interference (Iceland is a huge source of inspiration to me for this reason), although I also paint other magical things which capture my imagination like moons and night skies.

I’m not sure exactly what inspires my style but if I had to describe it I’d say I’m drawn to representing things realistically whilst still trying to retain some of the painterly qualities of the medium – I want my subject matter to be easily recognisable and understood, but I don’t want to disguise the fact that it’s a painting, either. As for the shape of my work, I painted my first circular landscape (a small mountain scene, if I remember correctly) over four years ago and I’m still in love with the quality that a circular support lends to a scene! I love the connection they have to windows/portals, as the things which I paint are most often places I’d love to be able to gaze at through my window, or to teleport straight into!

Favourite medium? 

I’ve used quite a few different mediums over the years (I first started out by drawing with lead pencils) but I’d say my favourite medium has to be either acrylic or oil paint – perhaps leaning more towards acrylic owing to its affordability!

Favourite commission/piece to date? 

This is a bit of a tricky one for me because I find it hard to choose favourites (I don’t know from experience but I’d say it’s akin to choosing a favourite child.) There is a recent commission which does come to mind, though. A few months ago, I was approached by someone wanting to commemorate a very special sunset she had experienced in Iceland with her partner on their fifth anniversary. It was to be a surprise gift for her partner. For the commission, I was asked to combine two separate images – one of Gulfoss (the waterfall), and another of an amazing sunset cloud (which she described as a ‘dragon’ cloud) into one painting. It took a few small studies first to get the two different images to ‘fit’, and I experienced a few challenges along the way, but I think the final piece really came together – the client gave me some absolutely wonderful feedback, too, which always reminds me why I love to create paintings for people.

I was also recently commissioned to paint someone’s birth moon, which I think is such a wonderful and unique concept!

What would be a dream commission or collaboration? 

Honestly, any commission I receive is like a dream: I still can’t get over the fact that people want me to paint special pieces for them! I’m extremely honoured and grateful that people trust me to bring their ideas to life for them. Having said that, anything Iceland related is always very dreamy!

Find more of Alice on her beautiful website and Instagram account. 

Nabeela x



DIY (Five Minute) Greeting Cards

As much as I love making stuff, I often find myself pressed for time when it comes to doing so. Its safe to say that I’ve made my fair share of birthday cards whilst rushing around in the last five minutes before leaving home for said birthday event. I’m sure I’m not the only one who finds themselves in this little predicament so I thought I would share some of my favourite five-minute cards to make for those emergency (or not-so-emergency) times.

You will need:

  • Cardboard (brown or white)
  • Paper (preferably white)
  • Scrapbook paper / any patterned paper scraps
  • Stamps, stickers and washi
  • Pens (just black is good too)
  • Glue / double-sided tape
  • Extra bits (dried flowers/stickers/etc.)

01. / Girly 

Use two papers that have the same colours in them. Stick them onto the card and stamp/write the appropriate greeting in the spaces. I added a sprig of dried flowers too with washi tape.


02. / Ombre

I’ve made this card so many times. I usually use paint chips but any paper with colour steps will work. Simply cut strips of the paper in the same size and stick it on. I used pop-up sticky dots to add some interest, but glue or tape would work just as well.

03. / Washi

For this card, pick a few washi tapes in similar colours. Stick them along one side of the card, and add writing or stamps with the appropriate greeting.


I hope you find these helpful. Happy making!

Nabeela x

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