Year: 2019

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

Creative

The dictionary definition of the creative is “relating to or involving the use of the imagination or original ideas to create something.”  The word itself has always been daunting to me. I’ve never felt able to describe myself as such.

I’ve been a maker my whole life. As a child, I could never sit still. Idle hands were not an option. I joined all the art classes at school that I possibly could and experimented with all the mediums. Clay, acrylics, chalk pastels, oil pastels, watercolours – the works. I’ve grown up making things. It’s just a part of who I am. I miss having so much time that was set aside for the sole purpose of creative exploration.

As I’ve grown older, and I have less time to sit and make stuff, I’ve simply grown into mediums that I resonate most with, and left the others behind.

However, I’ve also noticed this sneaky little voice in the back of my head. Enter, Imposter Syndrome. No matter how much I paint and draw and sew, I feel as if I still can’t call myself an artist (even although my business Instagram account describes me as such – thanks Facebook).

The word leaves me with a gnawing feeling in my stomach, and mean thoughts in my head, that go something along the lines of “you’re no artist.” I constantly compare myself to other artists online and feel inferior. Feel as if I’m not original enough. Not putting enough into my art. Not sticking to a style. Heck, I don’t even have a style.

Everyone else seems to have it all figured out. The seem to know what their preferred medium is, what they like to paint, and how they like to paint it.  But I still feel like that little kid who can’t decide what she wants to make. On the flip side, I end up making similar things that feel “safe” so that I can churn some or other piece out every other week just so that I have something to post on Instagram.

But, after some contemplation, I’m realising that Instagram, or no Instagram, I would probably be painting, sewing, drawing, making, anyway. It’s who I am. It’s what I do.  And whilst the inner critic can be pretty darn hurtful and hindering sometimes, I’m learning to break through it. To block out all the noise, both internally and externally and allow myself space to make things, even if it feels ugly and so not worthy of Instagram and leave room for child-like creative play, without parameters or feeling like I have to stick to a certain “style”.

There is a lot of noise out in the world. Things are being thrown at us all the time. Just keep making stuff. Don’t feel as if you have to make pretty things all the time. In a rut? Try something new. Allow yourself to make mistakes. And then just keep doing it all over again.

Nabeela x

 

The Artist | Angelyn Peh

Whilst there are hundreds of artists and makers from around the world whose work I enjoy and admire, every once in a while, I stumble upon an artist whose work deeply resonates with me. When I first came across Angelyn’s work, I was scrolling on Instagram, probably spending too much time on the Explore page, If I’m being honest. I loved her paintings and drawings and kept scrolling as far down on her account as I could. A few days later, I wanted to go back and look again, but I’d forgotten her username. So, as one does, I scrolled through my entire “following” list until I found it, and I made sure to make a mental note of her account’s name so I could go back again and again. It’s been almost two years since then, I’d say, and I continue to be deeply moved and inspired by Angelyn’s intricate, delicate and undoubtedly beautiful work. Angelyn is from Kuala Lumpur and her life-long mission is to “illustrate the intangible”.

I reached out to Angelyn recently, asking if she wouldn’t mind answering some questions about her work and creative practice, for us all to learn from. Here’s what she had to say…

Describe your creative practice in three words
Unpredictable, detailed, meticulous.

Where do you find inspiration?
Mostly through other stories, like books and movies. Nature too, and definitely songs. Beautiful places.

Many of your pieces take on themes like anxiety and other mental health issues. Do you find that making art is an important way of working through these kinds of things, and raising awareness about them?
Yes – although it happened a little backwards. I had no intention of speaking out previously as the idea was quite painful. Over time I began to realise that art was my preferred way of processing my experiences, and even then for a long time I found it hard to get these things out onto the paper because I had a fixed idea of what my art should be like and this was crossing a clearly defined line into “absolutely not” territory. So it was a lot of gradual acceptance, that it was okay (even necessary) to speak out about the issues we face, and that I had a strong method of communication if I let myself use it.

What made you gravitate towards watercolours?
My muse Pauline Baynes who illustrated the Narnia series – one look at her work and I knew I wanted to be just like her. Also, Beatrix Potter!

What advice would you give anyone who wants to pursue creative work?
Be kind to yourself. That means understanding that your process and output may be different from others, taking the time to learn about yourself, and following through on the things you want to make. Give yourself a try.

Be sure to check Angelyn out on the socials too.

Nabeela x

Reading the Classics

There’s something I find calming about reading classical literature. I can’t quite put my finger on it, but it serves as the perfect way to wind down after a stressful day. That’s probably why over the past year or so, I’ve been really into the classics – I’ve definitely been in need of relaxing pastimes. With this in mind, I’ve decided that 2019 is going to be the year where I read as many of the classics as I can fit in. Last year, I read Pride and Prejudice which I loved, and towards the end of last year, I read Emma. Safe to say, Jane Austen is one of my favourites. I read a few other classics when I was much younger, but without being very intentional about it.

Here is the list I’m hoping to get through this year:

Emily Bronte – Wuthering Heights (halfway in!)

Charlotte Bronte – Jane Eyre

Jane Austen – Sense and Sensibility

John Bunyan – Pilgram’s Progress

Herman Melville – Moby Dick

I’m not sure if I’ll get through them all, but here’s hoping!  I read quite fast, but the classics take me much longer, so I don’t put much pressure on myself to get through them quickly.

What are your favourite classics?

Nabeela x

January in a nutshell

Real talk. It’s been a grand total of 8 school days since my summer holidays ended, but it feels like I’ve been slaving away for years. I’ve found this slightly concerning due to the fact that I still have approximately 107 days (!!!) of school to go, and that’s not counting the total of about 12 weeks throughout the year that make up exam sessions. I guess this is why people keep telling me to pace myself (i.e. don’t turn into little-miss-frantic-study-work-all-night-team-no-sleep 8 days into the game) SO, as much as I would love to write a nice, neat post on staying calm, and being zen, it’s not quite that simple. Namely because I’m still figuring it out too.

Trying to balance all the homework for classes, essays and assignments, and still having time to study and do all the other school-ish responsibilities leaves me feeling like I don’t have time for much (or anything) else. But, despite the fact that the last few days of school have been, well, hard, something I have been getting right (small victories, friends) is making a little time each evening to wind down a little and help my mind calm down. Mostly it involves a few minutes on the Calm app, and reading a few pages of a book, (and not going to lie, some nights I just skip it, using the argument that its 10 minutes extra of sleep). Anyways, let’s see how long I can keep this whole calm thing up, but I would really recommend you try it. If you are forgetful like me, set a recurring reminder on your phone for around your bed time so that it becomes a routine of sorts. Hope it helps!

And if you need me, I’ll probs be in my room, burning too many aromatherapy candles to try and stay calm, whilst going through the 1214363 tasks in my bullet journal.

Nabeela x

Stacked Diner

I finally got around to visiting Stacked Diner in Kloof Street. I don’t think there is a coffee spot or store on that street that isn’t aesthetically pleasing, so it definitely didn’t disappoint.

Their food isn’t halal, so we couldn’t eat any of their meals. I went for waffles and an iced coffee (I probably would’ve gone for waffles anyway, if I’m being honest).

The portions are a little pricey for the size but they were delicious. Apart from the yummy food and good company, the staff were helpful and the space is just so darn dreamy. So if you’re in the area and in need of your waffle fix, pop in, and try it out.

Nabeela x

On Decluttering and Tidying

I’m lucky in the sense that tidying and decluttering comes pretty naturally to me. I just prefer living in a space that has a sense of order. It helps me to feel calm and helps me to sort through my mental clutter if my physical space is tidy. I thought I’d share some stuff on tidying and decluttering – everything from my own advice to resources I continue to find beneficial.

So, first off, I’m going to write in terms of a clean bedroom because that’s my point of reference, but these ‘rules’ can be applied to any part of your home.

The first step to cleaning your room and making sure it stays clean is to declutter. If you’re a Marie Kondo fangirl like me, then decluttering is nothing new to you. But essentially, it refers to the removal of unnecessary items, be it clothing, papers or anything that has no use to you and just takes up space. I cannot emphasise the importance of this step enough. There is honestly no use in organising and tidying things that serve no purpose to you. Whilst it can seem like a daunting task, especially if you haven’t done it in a while and a lot of things have accumulated, doing it in smaller chunks will feel less overwhelming. Work through your things category by category. I generally split things into a toss/recycle pile and a donate pile.

After deciding what things you need or want to hold onto, it’s time for my favourite part – organising. The reason why many people struggle to keep their spaces tidy is either because they have too much stuff (enter decluttering) or because their things don’t have designated “homes” so everything just ends up lying around until it gets used again. Having a specific place for everything will make keeping your room neat so much easier because when you’re finished using something, you just put it right back, and when you do need to clean up at the end of the day or week, it’ll go quicker too because you don’t have to think about where to put things.

Another thing to try is to keep the same kinds of things together. For example, I have a beauty drawer where I keep all my skincare (that isn’t on my dresser for daily use), unopened products, make-up, hair things, etc. All my jewellery is in one shelf and all my papers and books are together too (well, mostly). I find that this helps immensely too, and you’re also less likely to loose your stuff.

Here are some other quick things you can do every day (or as often as you feel necessary) to keep your room looking and feeling orderly:

  • Make your bed! Honestly, don’t underestimate the difference this can make. It’s always the first thing I do when I’m clearing up. It instantly makes your room feel more put together.
  • Throw papers away immediately when you don’t need them anymore. By doing this, you will avoid the need to sift through huge mounds of papers to see what you need/don’t need.
  • Following on from the last one, put papers that you do need into their respective files/folders as you work to minimise unmanageable piles of paper. I usually have one stack of papers on my desk with stuff I’m using (like assessment rubrics/design briefs/etc.) and need to consult often, but I sort through it every week or so, to avoid having too much stuff pile up.
  • As boring as it sounds, pack away your laundry as soon as you can. Again, this will hopefully prevent a mountain of laundry from piling up, and you’re more likely to pack neatly if you have a more manageable amount to pack away.
  • Try to avoid too much clutter on your surfaces. My surfaces certainly aren’t bare, but every few days or so, I just walk around and put things (that don’t need to be there) away.

I hope you find some of this helpful! Remember, your room doesn’t have to look like something off Pinterest. It’s a space that you’re supposed to live in, so don’t bother if it doesn’t look like a styled photograph. Also, experiment with different tidying and organising methods and create a routine that works for you, and is suitable to your schedule and life. You don’t have to spend all your waking hours trying to keep your room clean! (This took me a while to learn haha). However, you will find that having a tidier space helps to calm your mind. It is often said that the state of your physical space is a manifestation of your mental space and I tend to agree.

Here are some resources you might find helpful.

The Life-Changing Magic of Tidying Up by Marie Kondo

Honestly, this book is so good. Pretty sure I’ve read it two or three times. It really helps you to get a sense of tidying and understanding that physical stuff shouldn’t weigh you down. Find it here (e-book version).

A Considered Life blog

This blog by Sophie is really well written and has new content on a regular basis. Read it here.

Simple Life Pinterest Board

I’ve linked a bunch of resources that I reference on my Pinterest. Find the board here.

Happy tidying, everyone. I sincerely hope you reap the benefits of having a tidy space. If you have any more questions about this topic, ask away.

Nabeela x

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