Musings

Viva La Femme

From a young age, we’ve always been taught that girls and boys are different. And that makes perfect sense, of course. Physically, males and females are different. But how far does it go? To the point where in some countries, our teenage sons are sent to school to grow their minds and get an education and our daughters are married off as children and made to do housework?

Unfortunately, sexism is not a thing of the past. We live in a society where gender roles are prevalent, and there are expectations attached to being male or female. But how do we still live in a world where a girl, who gets good marks and works hard at school, learns, that no matter how hard she works, she still won’t earn as much as her male counterparts?

We need feminism because females earn less than men for doing the same job. We need feminism because only 32 CEOs on the 2017 list of Fortune 500 companies are female. We need feminism because the world’s top athletes who are female, are referred to as “top female athletes” and not just “top athletes”. We need feminism because a woman with a brilliant mind will still be judged by the length of her skirt.

The world isn’t going to change overnight. But, by making people aware of the issues that exist, we can build a world where a woman president or CEO isn’t a rare phenomenon and girls and boys all the around the world have rights that protect them and allow them an education. I’m not sure what the biggest issue that sexism brings is. There are too many to pinpoint just one. What I do know is that I don’t want to have to raise a daughter in a world that’s constantly telling her she’s not good enough, just because she was born a girl…

Happy Women’s Day to all the incredible, powerful and amazing women of the world. Together, we are shaping the future and things are looking up for a more gender-equal tomorrow. Together, we are stronger. Viva la femme.

Nabeela x

 

P.S. Amazing movements 

International Women’s Day

He For She

On Building A Kinder Closet

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Over the past year or two, as I’ve continued to do reading and learning about living more mindfully, simply and sustainably, one of the topics I came across was the important and ongoing conversation around fast fashion and the out-of-control mass consumerism that is closely associated with the fashion industry. It left me feeling helpless, confused, and guilty amongst other things. With a bout of extreme guilt about what I was wearing and buying,  it felt like a problem that was too big and out of my hands.

However, after doing more research, I slowly developed small actions I can take to eventually achieve my goal of only buying clothes from ethical sources (and preferably, local ones too). I’ve been slowly implementing them as I add new things to my wardrobe. Its a slow journey, and you need to practice a little patience. Do the research, save some money, purge your closet and you’ll be on the right track.

Some things to think about…

  • Your money is your vote. By choosing to buy ethical, sustainable clothing (or anything) you are supporting the ethical product scene.
  • Knowledge is power. The more research you do, the more strongly you will feel about the cause, and the more informed your decisions will be.

Here are the small steps I’ve been taking…

Be aware. Knowing that there’s an issue is a good place to start. It’ll make the process worthwhile and important to you.

Start small. Its unrealistic for many of us to switch to an all-ethical, all-local wardrobe in the space of a season. In reality, many top fast fashion brands don’t have  ethical business practices. However, there are some that just top it all when it comes to unethical business practice. After doing some reading and watching the news, I made a list of repeat-offenders that I no longer shop at. Baby steps.

Buy less. Choose well. These words by Vivienne Westwood are my motto when it comes to curating a wardrobe. The best thing you can do is choose quality over quantity. Choose the pieces that have been made to last.

I’ve started seeing that fast fashion chains and ethical brands’ pricing can be pretty on par nowadays. If you can get it locally and ethically for roughly the same price, then do it.

Have a list. Going into a sale where everything is 70% off, it can be pretty easy to walk out with bags full of clothing that’ll ultimately end up shoved in the back of your closet. I do an audit of my wardrobe every season and make a concise list of what I need. I have also started using Pinterest and making reference boards of items I need in styles I love. That way, when you go into the sale, you know exactly what you’re looking for.

Don’t just toss it. Getting into a mindset of valuing our clothes and looking after them so that they last is key. Just because you wore it in all your Instagrams last season doesn’t mean it needs to get the boot.

Another tip I’d give is to stick to natural fibres as much as possible. They’re better for the environment, they wash well and your skin will thank you. I generally find that my clothing pieces made from natural fibres last longer too.

Here are some of my favourite South African clothing and accessory labels that produce quality, locally made pieces.

Selfi

Jane Sews

Famke

Bamboo Revolution

Like I said before, knowledge is power. Some of my favourite places to learn more about ethical fashion:

Fashion Revolution

Tolly Dolly Posh

Nabeela x

 

Self-Care / Conscious Living

investSelf-care is an integral part of living a more intentional life. Its not all about eating chocolate cake or spending a small fortune at the spa (although those things can be a lovely treat too). Its about carving out time once a day, or once a week to care for yourself – its important to keep your well-being on track. Its easy to slip into a daily routine of chaos with little room for unwinding. Going to bed late, waking up early, eating food that doesn’t nourish us and not resting and exercising enough can leave us feeling exhausted, sort of like a bicycle tyre with a slow puncture. At some point, we need to wake up, and realize that if we don’t take some time to patch it up, we’ll be left feeling completely deflated.

Having some time each day or even just once a week to practice self-care isn’t all that hard. It doesn’t have to be long, complicated or expensive. Just something that gives you a little lift. Its an intentional action of caring for yourself. Here are a few of my favourite ways to practice self-care.

  • Listen to your body. Some days, you’ll be full of energy. Other days, not so much. I find that on days when I feel completely fatigued, doing a high intensity workout leaves me feeling dizzy and ill rather than refreshed and happy. On those days, rather do some stretching and low intensity exercising. And remember, rest days are just as important.
  • Sleep in. No amount of exercise and healthy eating can replace the healing, restorative properties of a good night’s sleep, so make sure you’re getting enough of it, and have a sleep-in day when you get the chance. Try switching your phone off before bed too. You’ll be surprised by how much more refreshed you feel in the morning.
  • Try a face mask. Or a foot soak. Anything you enjoy that gives you some zen time to just breathe and let your sole task (no pun intended) be relaxing.
  • Quiet time. Relating back to the previous point, introvert or not, anyone can benefit from a little quiet time spent alone reading, meditating, painting or even sipping some tea, with a lovely candle lit. Heard of hygge? Its a vibe.
  • Digital Detox. Its good for your eyes, and your soul. Try it and see how free you’ll feel.

I hope you take some time this year to prioritize your well-being and practice some self-care. And as a little visual reminder, I’ve created art print that you can download and print out for your wall, or set as your phone lockscreen.

Nabeela x

 

PS: Curious about minimalism, self-care and slow, intentional living? Here are some pieces I’ve written on these topics:

Lately 04 / Minimalism

Simple

Slow: What’s The Rush? 

Monotasking 

Zen / Morning Rituals

Offline

5 Ways to Live a Little Lighter This Year

Slow Living / Bedtime Rituals

Summer Break / Rest + Heal

 

Hello 2018

2018 blog

Two-thousand and seventeen.  It came and went in a flash. It was indeed a year of exploration; exploring my interests, strengths, and, of course, the world. I learnt many life lessons, one of them being that sometimes, the best thing you can do for yourself is just let go. I also know that it was a year of great hardship for some, and great success for others. So whether you fell into the former or the latter, remember that a new year is a wonderful chance to start afresh. A few things I learnt in 2017:

  • You have to do it for yourself. Intrinsic motivation is the most important kind to do anything that feels meaningful and fulfilling.
  • Take a chance. Do something that scares you. You might just find it’s the best thing you could ever have done (I did).
  • Don’t harbour ill feeling. Its poison. Make peace. As hard as it can be, it’s the purest way to stay happy.
  • Be happy and present. If ever you’re feeling in a slump, count your blessings. It’ll light your way.
  • Make your well-being a priority, always.

Wishing you a light-filled year of success, love and laughter.

Nabeela x

Summer Break / Rest + Heal

If If the thought of lying on the beach and frolicking in the ocean is enough to get you through a long, tiring double-period math lesson, you’re not alone. For many, the summer holidays are something that we look forward to the whole year. But just as quickly as they come, they go. Before you know it, you’re back in math and tackling yet another year of school or back at the office, working through a pile of stuff. It always feels as if they went in a flash.  And due to the busy nature of the summer holidays (think loads of coffee dates, dinner parties, getaways) its easy to feel even more drained than when they started. I’ve often heard people jokingly (is it a joke though?) say that they need a holiday to recover from the holidays.

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Clifton 3rd in all its glory

I’ll be going into grade 11 in 2018, the year many say is the most difficult of all the schooling years in the South African schooling system. I want to make sure that I go back well-rested and maybe sans the eye-bags that seem to constantly live on my face in term time. Here’s what I’ve been doing and am planning to do to get the most out of my holiday. Care to join me?

01. / Turn off and tune out

Even although we’re off from school (or work), with emails and even constant news and information from social media, our brains may feel as if they’re not on holiday at all. Take some time and make a conscious effort to turn off your phone and laptop, and just unplug for a while. It’ll do you a world of good, and you’ll be surprised how light you’ll feel (speaking from experience here. Mountain cabin with no reception = instant zen).

02. / Plan for nothing

Having a calendar to plan out how you’ll be spending your time off can put your mind at ease. However, its important to make some time to do nothing in particular – to check out that new breakfast spot you’ve been meaning to visit, or to get into that book that’s been on your nightstand for months.

03. / Ease up

Relating to what I’ve said previously, summer holidays can turn into the time we try and do everything, meet up with everyone, go everywhere. I have found that trying to make plans to see all my friends and be everywhere has been more stressful than anything else. Its a good time to reflect, and figure out who and what adds value to your life. You’ll feel more fulfilled and hopefully a lot less frazzled.

04. / Save it

Now, this may seem slightly unrelated, but if you’re anything like me, December is the time where all your hard-earned money seems to slip through your fingers, being lost to impulse purchases on sale items you don’t really need, and more. Be conscious. That’s all. Treat yourself, but not to the extent that your bank balance dwindles. No one wants to go into a new year broke (again).

05. / Stick with it

I’m certainly no stranger to the fact that holidays are a time that workouts go out the window and clean eating is nowhere to be seen. Balance is key. Enjoy the treats, but don’t let go of all your healthy habits. Your body will thank you for it, and you’ll feel better too.

Here’s to a more healing, restful and fulfilling summer break. Sending love and light your way. Enjoy it all – you deserve it.

Nabeela x

Have a Happier Exam Session

Exams are undoubtedly the most stressful time of the year in any student’s life. The pressure is on and the nerves are set. Believe it or not, exams have been pretty bearable for me this time around (1 week in and all is well). They don’t have the be awful.

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01. /  Organize

Although it may seem obvious, having a structured study plan helps to ease the nerves immensely because you know you’re on track and its easy to see what you need to do each day. Writing a to-do list every day when I get home has been helping me so much to clearly see what I need to achieve before the end of the day.

02. / Move 

I haven’t stopped any of my usual exercises and it’s been such a great way to relieve stress and relax. If you’re usually very active and you stop completely, chances are that you’re not going to feel very good, or at ease. So be sure to make time to move those muscles.

03. / Eat well

Eating healthily and drinking lots of water helps you to have a clearer mind and a happier body. Try some healthy snack options instead of chips and sweets (which’ll make you feel sluggish and unenergetic). Here are some snacks to try:

  • Carrot sticks and hummus
  • Cucumber cubes and feta
  • Banana and peanut butter smoothie
  • Popcorn
  • Fruit

04. / Sleep 

I know all too well how easy it is to come home early and think there’s so much time to do the things that need to be done, and put it off until later, but the afternoon turns into night real quick. Rather space your work out over the day rather than staying up too late and missing out on sleep.

05. / Unwind

Make sure that you still take time to relax, do things you enjoy and follow your self-care rituals. Its so important in order to stay happy and healthy during this time.

All the best to everyone writing!

Nabeela x

On Chasing Perfection

Today, after listening to a highly insightful episode of the podcast, Stuff Mom Never Told You, I started thinking about chasing perfection – something I often ponder over. You’ve heard it all before. How social media, and Instagram in particular is detrimental to self-esteem and mental health due to the curated, perfect nature of the content shared. But after hearing some scary statistics, it opened my mind even further to just how big the problem is.

Don’t get me wrong. Instagram is a wonderful tool. Without it, there are some opportunities I would never have had. However, its become only too easy to gloss over someone’s feed – with perfectly cohesive, magazine-worthy snaps of themselves dancing around in pretty pink dresses at sunset or sipping yet another latte from the coolest spot in town – to believe that they have it all going. To think that their life is perfect. And then comes the dangerous part. The part where we start comparing ourselves to the person in the photo. Our own lives seem dull and uninteresting in comparison…

REAL

One of my favourite hashtags is #HonestInstagram.  A much needed movement of online vulnerability and honesty. The truth is, Instagram is NOT (and I repeat NOT) real life. It really isn’t. What is shared is usually the most glamorous, impressive, glossy parts of the sharer’s life. Not the raw, real stuff that actually happens most of the time.

At the end of the day, we’re all just humans trying to figure out this thing called life. No one is perfect. Everyone screws up. By being more present and being aware of these facts, you may find more peace and unshakable happiness. Disconnect sometimes. Allow yourself to do stuff just for the sake of it, and not to document and share everything with the world.

You’re worth so much more than the number of followers you have and how many likes and comments you get on your photos. Never forget that…

Nabeela x

On Creating Weekly

Hello

If you’ve been following me on Instagram, you’ll know that I have been doing a weekly project where I have been creating one watercolour piece a week for 2017. It’s week 40 this week, and so I thought I’d share a bit about my project with you.

After completing my 366 days of quotes project last year, I knew I wanted to do something this year, but just not as intensive as a daily project. I thought about skills I wanted to hone, and decided that a watercolour project would be perfect. Watercolours are easy to use, they don’t smell bad, clean up is quick and painless and the paper and paint is relatively cheap (well, as cheap as art supplies get. Emphasis on the relative part). And so I set out to paint 52 paintings by the end of the year.

There are many perks of doing a weekly project. It’s a wonderful way to force yourself to carve time out each week to create, and my weekly paint and paper sessions are highly therapeutic and rewarding. It can suck slightly when you feel as if you run out of ideas and feel as if you don’t have much time. The best advice I can give you is to push on, and not be too hard on yourself. After all, it is supposed to be enjoyable and not feel like some kind of creative torture.

So if you feel as if you could use some practice in a new skill, or you just want to create some intentional time to create, try a weekly or daily project. You’ll be surprised at how much you’ll improve and how innovative it’ll make you!

Here are some of my favourite pieces from my project so far.

You can see all of my paintings on Instagram, under the tag #52weeksofwatercolour.
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Nabeela x

Curate / Light + Detail

Minutiae / the small, precise details that makes one unique; the finer points and subtleties

As a visual person, I am very much aware of the little things. I have a deep appreciation for details, and they make my heart sing. (I know that I’m definitely not alone on this).

I especially love beautiful light and intricate detail in architecture. Here is a photo essay of some of the light and detail I’ve snapped over the last little while…

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“To create something exceptional, your mindset must be relentlessly focused on the smallest detail.” – Giorgio Armani 

Nabeela x

Exercise for Happiness

Exercise. It means something different to everyone. It evokes a different emotion within everyone. For some, it’s lovely. Others, dreadful. Believe it or not, exercise doesn’t have to be something painful and exhausting. I’ve finally got to a point where exercising feels good. It helps me to calm down and de-stress, and it makes my body feel awake. I’ve found that taking on exercise in a positive way has helped tremendously in improving my attitude towards it. Here are some things that have helped me and may help you too…

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01 / Its not punishment

Don’t use exercise as a way to punish yourself. By doing that, you’ll create negative attachments to the process. Instead, see it as an opportunity to improve yourself and your health.

02 / Don’t go too fast

Take it easy. You need to be realistic in order to avoid injury and burnout. Slowly ease yourself into it so that your mind and body can adapt. Its about creating a sustainable, healthy routine.

03 / Do What You Enjoy

I personally have a few exercises that I can’t stand. I don’t enjoy them at all, and I dread seeing them pop up in a circuit. Sure, sometimes they just need to be done, but other times I replace them with a similar one I do enjoy. If you’re not enjoying the exercise you’re engaging in, try something new. It’s easier to stay motivated if you’re having fun.

04 / Rest 

You need to rest your body and give your muscles time to recover. Don’t do too much, too quickly – don’t overdo it.

05 / Be realistic

You need to be realistic with your fitness goals. If you have a busy schedule, and you come home late at night a few days a week, don’t plan workouts on those days. It shouldn’t feel like a chore. Again, its about sustainability. Trying to do too much too fast will just leave you feeling unmotivated.

These are a few things that I try to keep in the back of my mind all the time. Exercise has become something I love, and I find it therapeutic. I hope that you find a form of exercise that makes you feel good!

Nabeela x

{Disclaimer: These are all tips that I have picked up, based on my own personal experience and journey into wellness.} 

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