Author: missartsycrafty

Peace in the chaos

I write this blog to share my thoughts with the world. But more than that, I write this blog for myself. So right now, while my mind feels in a bit of turmoil, I’m going to write.

What’s happening in the world right now feels unreal. It feels like the plot of a movie that I watch one afternoon and then have an unsettling dream about later that night that leaves me feeling out of sorts until the next morning. Except, it’s not a dream. Life has come to a screeching halt all around us. It’s been frightening for me to see the people whom I usually turn to for guidance and security be just as uncertain and scared as I am.  The uncertainty has left me reeling. Whilst I have not cried about it all yet (although I know its coming), I feel a sort of strange numbness. It feels as if I’m observing all this and not really living through it. Today was day one of 21 day lockdown. It feels unreal.

I’m somewhat of a control freak and I know that for many people, the uncertainty and lack of control that this situation has brought about, is torturous. The feeling of helplessness, knowing how many people are suffering and not being able to actively help in any way, breaks my heart. All my university friends live in different provinces. I wished I had hugged everyone a little tighter when we all went home 2 weeks ago after our university very suddenly shut down and canceled our exams.

The one thing this has taught me, is to stop putting things off. Life is uncertain. You never truly know what is coming your way. After this passes, I’ll stop putting things off for when “things get less busy” or “next week”. I’ll make the most to live fully in every moment. I’ve also come to realise just how truly insignificant some things are in the bigger picture. I’ve learnt to be grateful and appreciative for all the blessings in my life. Things that felt important two weeks ago feel ridiculous now. At times like this, everything really gets put into perspective, whether you are ready for it or not.

This week has had me do odd things like message people I haven’t spoken to in months and contact teachers from school because I miss them. When things feel uncertain and life feels scary, the people you truly care about occupy your mind and heart non-stop. It’s frightening and painful and lovely all at once.

I live in a city where the economic disparity is almost unbelievable. For some people, the lockdown means having to make a double shot cappuccino at home and work on their Macbook on the couch instead of going to the local coffee shop. For others, it means that they will not be able to put food on the table for their families this week because they can’t earn money right now. This makes me sad. We are in for some very difficult days ahead. I’m trying my best to take each day as it comes. We’re all doing whatever it takes to get through this. Deep breaths.

Nabeela x

The world takes a pause…

It feels a bit like everything has been flipped upside down. The coronavirus has taken the world by a storm, and it seems as if those who we usually look up to are equally as unsure and anxious as we are. Schools and universities are shutting down. People are being told to self-isolate, work from home, not leave the house unless it is absolutely necessary. It’s frightening and strange and unlike anything most people have ever experienced.

Something that’s been a big takeaway for me is just how insignificant some things actually are. Last week, a looming week of exams seemed like the biggest, most important thing in the world. And yet the university cancelled it just like that and sent us all home. At the end of the day, nothing is more important than the health and life preservation of people. It’s important to be reminded sometimes that our health really is the most valuable and precious thing.

This week has been odd. (How many times have I used that word now?). In the space of a few hours, I packed up my life at university and came back home for an extended recess. We have not received a date for when we can move back into university residence. I said goodbye to my friends  (we all live in different parts of the country) not knowing whether we’d see each other in a week or two, or a couple of months. I didn’t know whether to laugh or to cry. It’s crazy how quickly you feel connected to other people you’ve only known for a short time. When you live with people, they become a second family.

It feels odd. A part of me is still reeling from the stress of the prep from an exam week that never happened. My body is in limbo. I keep eating unnecessary snacks and watching too many tiktoks. I’ve refreshed my twitter feed one too many times.  I read a book (that’s a good thing though).

What is happening is a scary thing. Many people are afraid, and unsure of what’s to come. But I’m doing my best to hold onto the positive. Even although her inhabitants are ill, Mother Earth is healing. People have slowed down. Fewer flight are happening. Nitrogen dioxide levels are the lowest they’ve been. The water in the canals in Venice is clear for the first time in years and years. The swans and fish are back.

If you are privileged enough to be self-isolating in the comfort of your own home, make the most of it. Give yourself some time to think. If you’re overwhelmed by the media, don’t consume too much of it. Let your body rest. Make your room cosy and read the book you’ve been wanting to get to. Do the work you need to do.

But also, spare a thought for those who don’t have cosy homes to self-isolate in. Those who can’t take time off work, the medical personnel working day and night to try and control this pandemic. Take a moment to reflect on what is actually important and valuable to you.

This is not an easy thing to deal with. Do the best you can (but please, STAY AT HOME if you’re able to). Sending love and peace.

Nabeela x

February musings

My life has pretty much done a 360 since the last time I wrote. I moved away from home, I’m officially a university student – lots of change in a short space of time.

To be honest, I was worried about how it would feel to have a new room (and a whole new life) after living at home with my family for so many years. I am a creature of habit and it felt odd to be faced with all these changes. But as I tend to do, I underestimated my ability to adapt and get on with it. I feel like we all do that. Give yourself some credit where its due – we are adaptable!

This past month has been a whirlwind of trying to find my feet and manage a huge workload, but also achieve the balance that is required for a happy, fulfilling life. Mindset is such an important thing and I’ve always found my mind the most difficult thing to control and navigate. But I’m learning. I’m still working on finding my rhythm, but I’m enjoying the change (and challenge) for the most part. It is pushing me and humbling me and teaching me that time is precious and social media and procrastination are thieves.

Some days, I want to explode because I feel so good and amped up. And other days, I want to lie in a ball on my bed and cry (and that’s exactly what I do) because I feel like I’m not smart enough and not good enough and will never be able to get this degree. And that’s okay. I’m learning to allow myself the space to get stuff wrong. And be scared and confused and feel all the feelings. And just observe them. And that in itself is a change because I’ve always struggled with this. I’m also really lucky to be surrounded by such supportive people. It’s wild how quickly you can feel connected to people you’ve only known for a couple of weeks.

I am definitely learning that my university experience is going to consist of many hours of hard work. And that’s okay. I knew what I was signing up for, and now I’m here, living it, and its all happening so fast, and I’m trying to soak up every minute and not wish it away. Because before I know it, I will blink and time will be running away from me and I’ll feel as if I let all the fun of uni life slip through my fingers. But anyways – we’re learning.

So that’s it for now. A lot is going on. But this is a nice little constant to have. Be kind to yourself.


twenty twenty

I know I’m a little late, but happy new year! I hope your 2020 has been a goodie so far and I hope all your goals and dreams materialise into reality.

The end of my summer break is fast approaching but I feel well rested and hopefully ready to take on what this year brings. I spent some time working, on the beach, in a nature reserve, and also spent time with family and friends which is always so so good.

So much has been happening lately – I feel like I don’t even know where to start, but I’ll keep it brief. 2020 is a year of huge transition. I start university in about two weeks and it feels like everything is happening so fast! Trying my best to keep breathing and take each day as it comes (sometimes it works, sometimes it doesn’t). This year I hope not to let my thoughts get the better of me. I know that everything happens for a reason and if something is meant to be, it will. But sometimes I can’t help but marvel at the timing of the things that happen to me. I guess that’s how life goes hey?

I want to be a little more present this year. 2019 was madness. I felt like all I did was eat, sleep and study. And whilst this routine sounds pretty synonymous with that of a university student too, I want to be more intentional about making more time in my life to live and have fun. I want to keep making stuff (that I want to make), read lots of books, watch good movies and look after my mental and physical wellbeing. I’m trying my best to keep an open mind and embrace the changes and experiences that this new phase of my life will bring.

I’ll keep writing on here. I’m not sure what my “content plan” for the year is going to look like, but I’ll keep writing what I want, when I want haha. I’ve been making short little life “vlogs” on Instagram TV which has been fun too.

Sending love and peace

Nabeela x


Books I read in 2019

Reading has always been my thing. I find reading deeply therapeutic and relaxing, so it was a welcome escape from what was a stressful and pretty draining year. I wasn’t able to find time to write a quarterly reading list like I did last year, so here is a list of all the books I read in 2019. I read some brilliant books this year and  found some new authors whose work I thoroughly enjoyed and  will be reading more of in future. (If you’d like to some more detailed reviews, there’s a book highlight on my Instagram).

Here is the list.

  1. House Rules – Jodi Picoult
  2. We Are Water – Wally Lamb
  3. Emma – Jane Austen
  4. The Clockmaker’s Daughter- Kate Morton
  5. Change of Heart – Jodi Picoult
  6. It Ends With You – S.K Wright
  7. Wuthering Heights – Emily Brontë
  8. The End of Loneliness – Benedict Wells
  9. Leaving Time – Jodi Picoult
  10. Big Magic – Elizabeth Gilbert
  11. To Capture What We Cannot Keep – Beatrice Colin
  12. Nineteen Minutes – Jodi Picoult
  13. Dreamology – Lucy Keating
  14. Sad Girls – Lang Leav
  15. Dear Evan Hansen – Val Emmich
  16. The Hanging Girl – Eileen Cook
  17. The Hate U Give – Angie Thomas
  18. The Dreamers – Karen Walker
  19. The Lake House – Kate Morton
  20. Sharp Objects – Gillian Flynn
  21. The Muse – Jessie Burton
  22. The Translation of Love – Lynne Kutsukake
  23. City of Girls – Elizabeth Gilbert
  24. Night Music – JoJo Moyes
  25. The Cliff House – Amanda Jennings
  26. The Goldfinch – Donna Tartt
  27. Sense and Sensibility – Jane Austen

My only goal for 2020 is to keep reading and not to force myself to finish books I don’t like.

What did you read this year?

Nabeela x


My journaling practice this year

Since I was a little girl, I’ve been a keeper of diaries. It was always more a record of my days rather than a deeper delve into my thoughts and feelings. As I’ve gotten older, it has turned more into that. But I’ve always found it slightly terrifying to write my feelings onto paper, where other people could possibly stumble across it.

However, this year, I’ve found journaling to be an immensely valuable practice. It has helped me to unpack the many things that cause me to be anxious and has led to my being more aware of how these things affects my daily thoughts and wellbeing. I’ve always been quite self-aware which can actually be quite frustrating. Imagine knowing how toxic your thought patterns are, knowing exactly where they stem from and what they are caused by, and still not being able to do anything about it.

Another thing that has kept me from journaling in the past has been the pressure (that I’ve placed on myself of course) to write neatly, fill up journals and actually feeling like I have something interesting enough to write about. But once I gave myself the freedom to let my handwriting be messy and my entries erratic, I ended up doing some of the most useful journaling I’ve ever done in my life.

It gave me a place to physically get out my concerns and things that cause me to be anxious. I could read through my thoughts, and use it to come up with ways to deal with issues I was facing (when I could), and seek help when I couldn’t. It was not foolproof. Sometimes, it just became a place where I brooded and wrote awful, negative stuff down. But other times, it was lovely. Even just writing it all out and seeing everything on one page, in one place was enough to calm myself down a bit.

I let go of the idea that I have to write every day or even every week. When I felt like writing, I did. Sometimes it was two sentences. Other times it was four pages. And then sometimes I just didn’t write at all. I stuck random things in or used highlighters. when I felt like it. And sometimes, I just imagined writing stuff down (when I was too tired or lazy to actually put pen to paper) and that in itself was enough (I promise I’m not nuts – try it).

I made use of resources or prompts at times. Other times, I just did whatever I felt like. But the one common theme for my 2019 journaling practice is that I did what worked for me, at a given time. My journal is not a pretty thing to page through and it’s not meant to be. It’s the one space I allow myself to be messy, inarticulate and inconsistent. And I love it.

I really enjoyed this video and these journaling prompts, so check those out if you want some extra insight. (Some of the prompts felt a bit too intense for me, so I didn’t do them all. Just the ones I felt like doing).

Another thing I found since starting to journal is that my writing has improved a bit, so that’s another plus.

I hope you can find some value in picking up some kind of journaling practice. May 2020 be full of self-improvement.

Nabeela x

On making peace with imperfection

When I was about 7 years old, I decided to move bedrooms. One day, I just packed my stuff and moved from my pink-walled, pink-curtained, little-girl room into the guest bedroom. And I’ve been here ever since. At the time, it was chaos. I was a messy child. And then one day something clicked and I went from one extreme to another. In senior primary school, I was one of the tidiest, organised and most pedantic children you’d probably ever come across. My school books were in alphabetical order in my bag. And basically everything I owned was organised in rainbow colour, or alphabetically. Everything had a special place, whether that was in my desk at school or my room at home. I would spend ages cleaning my room every day and even sometimes let it get super messy for a day so I could have the pleasure of cleaning it up. If something was out of place, I would feel a physical discomfort. Everything had to be exactly where it was supposed to be, at all times.

Thankfully, as I grew older, my perfectionistic tendencies decreased. The sight of a messy room no longer causes me physical discomfort. (More just a nagging urge to clean frantically). However, I am more picky about other things now. Like no bright colours being an absolute necessity. (To such an extent that photos of my bedroom have been mistaken for a hospital room. How charming).

However, one thing has remained. In times of chaos and stress, when I feel like my life is out of my control, I cling to the areas I can control. Keeping my room tidy. Controlling my food. My sock drawer. And whilst I’ll admit that this hasn’t always been the healthiest thing for me, it has helped me to make peace and release control in the areas where I simply don’t have any.

For me, every time I can go for a few days in a messy room, or miss a 90 on a test and not have an existential crisis, it’s a small win. I’m learning to make peace with the part of my personality that values control, order and tidiness whilst still allowing myself room to be a little messy and have some room for imperfection. To allow for the fact that things do not always to go to plan. And learning that that doesn’t mean I’ve failed or that everything is ruined. It’s a process. I’ve also realised that my anxiety is best kept under control when I feel in control. So, I’m learning what that looks like and how to help myself. It’s physical for me. Writing everything down. Making lists and plans and calendars and timetables and spreadsheets. And it might sound a bit much, but it works (most of the time). That’s all I guess.

Nabeela x

Good Stuff 05. / Pichulik Plenty

I’ve written about Pichulik before, but I just can’t help writing about them again. Every single time I get an e-mail to announce the launch of a new collection, I eagerly go onto their website to moon over the new pieces. And every single time I am blown away by the incredible detail and beauty of it. Plenty, the SS20 collection, is no different. Aiming to “invoke the notion of abundance without excess”, the range is striking, luxurious and interesting. As usual, the campaign imagery is an absolute visual feast. So I’ll keep my two cents brief and let the pictures do the talking…

Nabeela x

(I had such a hard time picking which images to put in!)


What no one tells you about Matric

About 10 days ago, I wrote my final paper of the National Senior Certificate, which is one of South Africa’s school-leaving examinations. Matric is an intense year to say the least. From university applications and a seemingly endless stream of work due to the daunting reality of being thrown into the “real world” pretty soon, there is much reason for anxiety and stress. However, as someone who has anxiously anticipated matric for a very long time, and having been through it all, I feel like there is a LOT of stuff that people don’t tell you about matric. Sure, they scare you by telling you how stressful it is and how much work it requires, but there is a lot that I was never prepared for and it left me feeling a little unsure of myself from time to time. So here are some things that no one really tells you about matric…

  • Every single person you meet who hears you’re in matric will ask you what you’re studying next year and where you’re studying and how exams are going and what subjects you do. And it will be annoying and may add to your stress, but best you get used to it because you will be answering those questions about a million times in your matric year. Also, some people will have strong opinions about your choice of course and place of study and will try to convince you to do something else. Be prepared for this and remember that you don’t really owe anyone anything. Eventually, I just adopted the smile and wave approach in these situations. You get used to it.
  • It’s not quite as awful as people make it out to be. Sure, it is really stressful. You spend most of your matric year studying and preparing for exams and it leaves little room for anything else. But many schools finish the bulk of the syllabus by June so that gives you a lot of time to revise your work before finals arrive. Matric is a really special year with so many opportunities to make precious memories with your friends and grade. Try your best not to let the stress of the year detract from these moments (I know its easier said than done). The work you do in matric isn’t any more difficult than the work you do in grade 11 either. So you can have some peace of mind about that.
  • Having good grade 11 results saves you a LOT of stress in matric. So if you’re in grade 11, do your best, make good notes, and try to achieve the best results you can – your future self will thank you.
  • The end of finals is anticlimatic. Maybe its just me, but I kind of know it isn’t. You just look forward to it for so long and when it finally arrives, it’s kind of like an eh moment. You go from working like crazy to literally nothing. And it kind of sucks.
  • At the end of the day, it’s still just school. Your health should never be put second to school work or anything at any point – please try to take care of yourself and not let your mental or physical health slip if you can help it.
  • You will be pushed. Hard. If you are someone who is academically strong, the pressure from your school, family and yourself can be a LOT to handle. I know that I’ve felt like I’ve had to prove myself which I’m starting to see is not true. I would urge you to just try to be focused on your own goals and what you’ve set out to do. I know it sounds cliché, but if you do your best, no one can expect anything more from you. Working for yourself is SO important. The only person who can impact how well you actually do is you. And you’ll find that once you put other factors aside and just work hard for yourself, when you achieve things, it will be so much more rewarding.
  • You WILL get through it. There will be days where you will wish that it could be over. There were days where I felt so overwhelmed and scared and alone that keeping my tears back felt like an impossible task. But there will also be days when you feel confident and in control. Ride the waves. Ask for help. Take things day by day. And just keep breathing.

There are a hundred more things I could say, but I feel like these are the most important ones. I’m certainly no expert on these matters, but I really wanted to get all of this down before I forgot it. If you’re in grade 10/11, I really hope this offers a different perspective to you. Good luck! Also, to all my fellow Matrics of 2019, I hope it went well! Results day is in a month (yikes), so hang in there and have a lovely holiday.

Nabeela x

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

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