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

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

A Reading List | September – December 2018

Ironically, I read the most novels in the last four months of 2018, which also happened to be the four busiest and most stressful months of the year. I guess reading really is my form of escapism.

Instead of boring you with the details of all of them, I chose my top 4 from September to December. Here goes…

Jessica Brockmole – Letters from Skye 

Set in wartime, this book tells a heartbreaking tale of mother and daughter, all through letters in two parallel time periods. Brilliant.

Paula Hawkins – Girl on the Train

I was excited when I saw this book in a secondhand stall at a market as I’d heard really good things about it. It did not disappoint. One of the most thought-provoking and brilliant books I’ve ever read.

Eugenia Kim – The Calligraphers Daughter

I couldn’t put this one down. Set in wartime (are you seeing a pattern here?) it provides insight into the cultural differences that exist in the world, all whilst telling a gripping tale.

Jodi Picoult – A Spark of Light 

The newest release from my favourite author. It took me a little while to get used to the backward timeline, but as usual, it was emotional and an eye-opening read.

Happy New Year, friends! I hope 2019 brings you much joy (and much reading).

Nabeela x

A Reading List | May – Aug 2018

This year has been ridiculously busy, but reading has been my refuge. Here are the books I’ve read in the last four months…

Nicola Yoon – The Sun is Also a Star

A really sweet, light read. I preferred her book, Everything Everything (and the movie is delightful), but it was still a lovely book. Also, there’s a movie of it being made, so be sure to read it before you watch it!

Luke Allnutt – We Own The Sky

A terribly sad book, but riveting nonetheless. My only criticism is that the ending felt very rushed. It was still a moving, and heart-breaking read, and I would recommend it.

John Green – Looking for Alaska

I’ve never read a John Green book that I didn’t love, and that didn’t make me weep, and this one is no exception. I do think I’d read it before, but it’s so well-written and one instantly falls in love with the characters.

Krystal Sutherland – A Semi-definitive List of Worst Nightmares

A vivid, descriptive and beautiful piece of writing. I adored this book, and couldn’t put it down. Many topical issues are discussed in a eloquent, profound and human way. I would highly recommend it.

Elif Shafak – Three Daughters of Eve

I adored this book. Until the last three chapters. I couldn’t put it down at first, and honestly found it a bit anti-climatic, but the writing is lovely and the descriptions are vivid. (I am planning of reading more of her works, and will report back).

Scarlett Thomas – The Seed Collectors

A really strange book but entertaining nonetheless. It’s not everyone’s cup of tea, but the storyline is pretty interesting, albeit jumbled and confusing.

Vanessa Diffenbaugh – The Language of Flowers

Possibly my favourite read so far this year. This book is so incredibly beautiful. I could not put it down. I loved every second of reading it.

Stephanine Butland – Lost For Words

I really enjoyed this too. The story line is captivating and provides a lot of insight into issues such as domestic violence.

Lily Brooks-Dalton – Good Morning, Midnight

I couldn’t put this one down. The ending still has me stumped, but its a beautifully written book.

What are your favourite books?

Nabeela x

 

 

On Journaling

In a digital world where we are always connected to others, it can be all too easy to become disconnected from ourselves. The world is full of noise, both literally and figuratively, and sometimes, it can be so loud that our own thoughts feel like too much to deal with. After all, we can only think about so many things at one time.

The thing is, with the information-overload that we face on a daily basis, it’s easy to feel as if our brains are simply overflowing. I know that personally, this usually sends me into a state of minor (read: sometimes, not-so-minor) panic. It gets a bit much.

Something I’ve been using on and off for the past year or so as a way to cope with my ever-busy brain is journaling. I’ve recently been taking some time on a more regular basis, to write things down and clear up some space in my head. It’s been really beneficial to me, so I thought I would share some practices you can use if it is a method you’re interested in.

01. / Start slow

Don’t put huge amounts of pressure on yourself to write pages and pages daily. Start slowly, and ease into it. Do whatever feels manageable and helpful to you. The minute it starts becoming stressful, and feels like a chore, it defeats the purpose of the exercise.

02. / Be flexible

Don’t try too hard to make it pretty or to always use your best handwriting (If that is something you enjoy, make that a separate journal). Make it feel low-effort and write in a way that feels comfortable, natural and easy for you.

03./ Set a time

I am aware that this slightly contradicts point 2, but hear me out. By introducing some journal time into your schedule a few times a week, it turns into a lovely, meditative and calming ritual to help you de-stress. You may find that you’ll look forward to the time you get to spend reboot your mind.

04. / Keep it safe

By keeping your journal in a place where you know no one will read it, you’re giving yourself peace of mind, and the freedom to just write and let your thoughts flow. Don’t worry too much if it doesn’t make sense or if it seems a bit messy. It is meant solely for your own benefit.

I hope you find these pointers helpful. Journaling truly is a lovely analogue way to deal with busy minds in a busy world.

Nabeela x

The Edit / 02.

Woah. I haven’t done one of these in ages. The holidays often bring some time to actually think about the things we use and consume in our daily lives rather than just racing through it all, so I thought I’d share some things that I’ve been loving lately.

Reading

I just finished the book, The Language of Flowers by Vanessa Diffenbaugh and I adored it. It is a beautifully written book and definitely worth a read.

Next, I’ve really been enjoying these blogs, and I find myself checking back at least once a month.

Taste and See 

Miss Moss

Into The Gloss (All-time favourite)

Listening

I’m a huge fan of the Stuff Mom Never Told You podcast by How Stuff Works. They tackle important and sometimes touchy subjects in a open-minded and interesting way. The episodes always leave me thinking about things in a different way and make for a fantastic listen. I particularly enjoyed this episode and this one too.

Billie Eilish is my favourite musician at the moment. I love all her songs and find them so calming. She’s also only 16, which is crazy inspiring. Even although her music isn’t the style I typically listen to, I find myself turning on her songs every day.

Loving

The Detoxifying Facial Mask by Naturals Beauty is such a winner. I find that it helps with breakouts almost immediately.

Since having some stomach issues last year, I started drinking kombucha and now I’m hooked! My favourites are the Rooibos Chai one by Happy Culture and the Ginger one by Culture Lab.

Instagram

I love Morgan Harper Nichols’ Instagram account. If you’ve scrolled on Pinterest or Instagram, chances are you’ve come across some of her writings. I adore her work – its a perfect pair of art and words, something that I, as a visual, word-lover, appreciate deeply.

That’s all for now, lovelies.

I have some exciting things coming soon, and some fun content planned, so stay tuned and keep your eyes on the ‘gram to stay up to date.

Nabeela x

{image source of Billie Eilish photograph is unknown}

 

 

 

 

 

Lately 06 / Exams

Alas, I have not disappeared. My radio silence has been due to school becoming pretty all-consuming this year. I know I’ve been quite quiet on the socials too, often only been posting once a week on Instagram to share my weekly project. Safe to say its been slightly manic. As exam season sets in, don’t forget to take some time for yourself. Don’t abandon your wellness. Deep breaths and take each day as it comes. In the June-July holidays, you can expect some cool content, but for now, its going to be a bit quiet around here. Good luck for exam season, lovelies.

Much love

Nabeela x

A Reading List | Jan – April 2018

“We lose ourselves in books but we find ourselves too…”

I love reading and I adore books. One glance at my banking app would make you quickly realize that I spend most of my money on books, plants and art stuff, in that order. I love seeing what other people are reading so I thought it’d be fun to share what I’ve read so far this year. Here goes.

Jane Austen – Pride and Prejudice

I decided it was time to read this classic and although it took me four months to read (!!!) and I’m pretty sure I restarted it at least once because I didn’t know what was going on, I enjoyed the second half immensely. Plus, it’s a classic, so I thought it totally necessary to read.  I plan to work my way through all of Jane Austen’s novels, so this was a good start.

Nancy Tucker – The Time In Between

This book really changed my perspective on eating disorders and I found it highly informative.

John Green – Turtles All The Way Down

John Green is an actual genius, and as all his books always are, this book is amazing. It’s relatable and made me weep. (I can’t be the only person who cries more for books than for movies?)

Corban Addison – A Walk Across The Sun

This book opened my eyes to the huge issue that is human trafficking and how it may be happening under our noses without us even knowing about it. I found it gripping, and it finished me emotionally. Out of all the books I’ve read this year, I’d recommend this one first.

JoJo Moyes – Me Before You

I’ve never cried so much reading a book. It’ll play with your emotions in ways you didn’t think possible. You’ve been warned. (Read it anyway).

JoJo Moyes – After You

And so the emotional journey continues. Some parts were a bit slow compared to the first book. Still made me bawl my eyes out.  Need I say more?

I’m currently reading The Sun Is Also A Star by Nicola Yoon, and I’m really enjoying it. Plus, I hear they’re making a movie!

What are some of your favourite books?

Nabeela x

 

On Keeping Your Room Calm and Tidy

Your environment can have a big effect on your mood without you even knowing. It has been said that a clear room equals a clear mind. Sound far-fetched? Try it. I have definitely found that the state of my room has a direct effect on how calm I feel. I can’t work (or sleep well, for that matter) in an over-cluttered, messy room- I simply find it too distracting and overwhelming. I’d like to think that I’m finally reaching a point where I’ve figured out a few ways to keep my room in a general state of orderliness without it feeling stiff. I’ve also been working towards having a calming space that is easy to unwind in. This can be difficult to achieve as a student, because chances are that you study in your room too, so it is important that you allocate certain spaces for certain activities, no matter how small your room is – but more on that another time.

Here are some things that I find help me in keeping my room clutter-free and calming. It also helps me to ensure that my room doesn’t turn into a complete mess within a few days of life’s general crazy busyness.

01. / Clear daily 

Although this might seem annoying, by doing a quick 5-minute tidy-up daily, you can keep the clutter at bay. I usually just spend a few minutes picking up dirty clothes, packing away anything that belongs in cupboards or drawers and throwing away unwanted papers. I usually do this in the evenings before bed (it can be quite therapeutic actually – or is that just me?! LOL) but pick a time that suits you and run with it.

02. /  Keep your surfaces clear

This is just about the easiest way to instantly make your room look and feel clearer. Cut back on the excess (be flexible though. Your room doesn’t always have to look Pinterest-perfect. You live there, remember?). Best advice I’ve ever been given. Best advice I can give.

03. / Give it a home

You might find that there’s always that one object that kind of just floats around because you don’t really know where it goes. To avoid having any of your things just floating around, ensure that everything, no matter how small, has a home. This way,  when the time comes to pack it away, there is an actual place to put it.

Here are some things you can do to create calm vibes in your room.

IMG_8602

01. / Candles

Candles don’t only create a calm mood, but they also leave your room smelling positively delicious. I currently only burn candles that don’t have any whack ingredients – don’t want any nasties floating around in the air. My current faavourite is this lemongrass one from Wellness Warehouse. It’s made from soybean wax, so it can be used as massage oil when it melts – double whammy. My other favourite candle is from Rain, but it’s quite old (as in, I found it in a chest somewhere in our house), so I don’t think it can be bought anymore.

02. / Colours

I’m the kind of person who actually really adores colour, but chooses not to show it in my dress or decor choices all that often. The only place in my room that is really colourful is my workspace, but that’s just what I like. Find a colour story that works for you, and try and stick with it. It’ll make your space feel less crazy. I find that having a more cohesive colour palette in my room makes for a more relaxing space, and is easier on the eye.

03. / Plants

Anyone who knows me well enough in real life (or even online) will know that I adore plants. Not going to lie, if I could, I’d pack up my room and move into someone’s greenhouse in a heartbeat. But seeing as that’s not exactly realistic (yet – some day maybe), I bring greenery into my space by keeping houseplants. They’re air-purifying, beautiful and quite literally add life to the space. Not a very good plant parent? Don’t despair. Just pick up a cactus. The only way I’ve ever killed one is by drowning the poor thing from too much water. (Oops).

IMG_8609

So there you have it, folks. My best zen room tips and tricks. (How am I not a Hygge spokesperson yet?) Hope you found this helpful. Until next time x

Nabeela x

On Being Organised

Although those who know me now would never say, I was an extremely untidy child. Upon entering senior primary, I made a complete three-sixty turn. I guess you could say that I went from zero to one hundred real quick. As I grew older, I quickly saw the immense value in being organised and planning my days out properly. It made my life a hundred times easier, and still does.

IMG_8314

I often get asked how I stay organised, so I thought I’d share a few of my favourite methods for organizing my life, and keeping it that way.

01. / Write it down

Although I love the digital world (I am a blogger after all), I find immense value in analogue tasks such as writing my to-do lists down on paper. It may seem like extra effort, but by writing down lists instead of typing them, you’re also calming yourself down by making your tasks seem finite and not just a pool of thoughts floating around your head and phone. The very act of writing a physical list is useful. Everyday, when I get in from school, I take ten minutes or so to write a list and prioritize my tasks for the afternoon and evening ahead. This helps me to feel less overwhelmed too, and makes everything feel a bit more doable.

IMG_8272

02. / Sort daily 

It may sound laborious, but by spending a few minutes each day sorting through papers I have and filing them or tossing them, I never end up with piles of filing or papers I no longer need. I have honestly found it the most streamlined way to keep up to date with filing my school notes and other papers.

03. / Prioritize

It is easy to feel overwhelmed when six tasks are handed out on the same day, even if the due dates are staggered (I’m looking at you, Grade 11). I find that working back from the due date is the easiest way to make sure everything is done on time, without feeling as if everything has to be done at once. Break down each task into smaller, daily tasks you can do so you don’t have to slave away for hours the night before its due. Chances are it’ll also be done more thoroughly if you don’t feel rushed.

IMG_8308

04. / Don’t hoard

I mentioned something about this in point two, but just by having too many papers, one’s head and space can feel cluttered and unorganised. If there’s one thing I’ve seen people do often, it’s hoard old papers they don’t need. As soon as I no longer need a paper from school or anywhere else, I put it in recycling immediately. Again, it keeps things so much more streamlined. If you think you may need to information at some point, scanning it in or taking a photo of it and putting it in your Drive or Cloud also works well.

Something else I’ve found that helps me generally to get tasks done in a productive manner is by setting a timer for 25 minutes and working flat out and then taking a break. I find that when I know exactly how long I’m going to be working for before my next rest, I get a lot more done in a short space of time. Having a tidy, clutter-free space to work in makes me feel a lot calmer and more focused too.

Lastly, some wise words on organizing…

“For every minute spent organizing, an hour is earned.” – Anonymous

I hope you find these tips helpful! I’ve created a fun printable to-do list for you here.

(Enjoy it, and tag me in your pictures on Instagram if you use it! I’d love to see x It is my own creation, and to be used for personal use only, please). 

Nabeela x