Newlands Forest Hike

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Hey everyone! I trust you had an amazing weekend doing everything you day dreamed of doing during the hectic work week. I am back with another little picture post showing what I’ve been up to this weekend…

It was my Aunt’s birthday on Saturday which meant that she could go up Table Mountain for free. The husband and I dropped her, the Mom and Sister at the cable car station and spent the few hours admiring the sites from below, since we’re hella broke (LOL!)

Table Mountain from below

Table Mountain from below

Some of the indigenous plants known as Fynbos

Some of the indigenous plants known as Fynbos

Signal Hill

Signal Hill

Lion's Head

Lion’s Head

City Center

City Center

We waited for about 3 hours for them to return; and those 3 hours were probably the highlight of my weekend. Taufeeq and I had some ice cream, walked around admiring the beauty of our city and sang along to songs playing on the radio. We talked and laughed and acted like total idiots together, enjoying the fresh air and sunshine.

On Sunday morning we headed out for a hike at Newlands Forest. It was overcast and there was a light drizzle the whole way through; but even so the weather was perfect for hiking.

Creepy abandoned cottage

Creepy abandoned house

At the start of the trail there is an abandoned cottage which looks super creepy. I am really eager to know the history behind it because it looks very old.

Me enjoying the drizzle

Me enjoying the drizzle

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Misty view of the city

Misty view of the city

Screenshot_2015-10-26-19-52-58-1This trail was not as hard as the one we did a couple of weeks back. The trees provides lots of shade so it is an ideal hiking trail for the hot summer days headed our way. The change of scenery gives you an idea of why Cape Town is said to be one of the most beautiful cities in the world – and believe me these pictures do absolutely no justice.

Despite SA losing to the All Blacks on Sunday and being kicked out of the Rugby World Cup; it was a fun filled weekend which made me long for the Summer break!

What have you been up to this past weekend?

– Nihaad

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Read-a-thon

My very ambitious TBR pile

My very ambitious TBR pile

I am three hours into the read-a-thon and I am being dragged down by a terrible headache. So I am taking a short break to get this post up and then I will dive nose first back into the book I am currently reading. I know this post was supposed to go up before the read-a-thon started, but rules are there to be broken right? This is the pre-party post which just requires me to answer some questions:

1.What fine part of the world are you reading from today?
I am reading from the town famous for its white sand beaches and the majestic Table Mountain; Cape Town, South Africa!
2. Which book in your book stack are most looking forward to?
Well apart from my current read which I am thoroughly enjoying, The Young Elites, I am really looking forward to reading Harry Potter and The Goblet of Fire!!
3. Which snack are you most looking forward to?
My husband has appointed himself as my cheerleader and snack provider, so I am looking forward to endless cups of tea and a surprise meal he is cooking up in the kitchen (it smells yummy!!)
4. Tell us something about yourself!
I have the heart of a little bookworm, but I crave adventure – I think you could call me an adrenaline junkie. If I am not losing myself in a good book, then I can be found day dreaming of my next blood pumping, thrill inducing activity to cross off my bucket list!
5. If you participated in the last read-a-thon, what’s the one thing you’ll do differently? Or if this is your first time, what are you most looking forward to?
This would be my first time taking part in this challenge, and I am most looking forward to connecting with people across the world who are also participating in this read-a-thon.

I was planning to make use of all my social media platforms, but it seems I am paying more attention to Instagram. So if you are interested in following me, or if you feel like giving me a cheer for motivation; then please check out my Instagram account:

Instagram : The Little Blog of STUFF

– Nihaad

Dewey’s 24 Hour Read-a-thon

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Hey guys!

This is just a little post to let you know about the read-a-thon I plan on participating in on Saturday, 17 October. I only came across it a couple of minutes ago so I do apologize for this rather rushed post.

A 24 hour read-a-thon is a reading challenge where everyone participates at the same time. For 24 hours, people from around the world read books, and post it on their blogs and various social media platforms; as well as visit other participants’ virtual online homes in order to encourage and motivate one another to read.

I have never participated in a read-a-thon before, so I am extremely excited to take part in this challenge. I don’t want to commit to a full 24 hours, but I will do my best to cram in as much reading and blogging as I can considering that a Saturday is after-all my day to get house chores done that I unfortunately neglect during the week.

Please check out Dewey’s 24 Hour Read-a-thon for more information, or better yet, sign up and join me in this challenge. This is a great way to get some reading done to boost your Goodreads reading challenge if you have fallen behind like I have.

If you would like to follow me as I take part in this challenge, you will find me on these social media platforms:

Instagram : The Little Blog of STUFF

Twitter :  NihaadG

Facebook : The Little Blog of STUFF

Goodreads : Nihaad

To find out what time it begins in your part of the world follow this link. For the Capetonians, it starts at 14:00 and ends at 13:55 on Sunday afternoon.

Until then, have a great Friday!

P.S. Jumuaa and Muharram Mubarak to all Muslim readers.

– Nihaad

Wheel of Excellence Experience

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I left off my last post saying that I will write a separate blog post on what else I managed to do on Sunday. As I mentioned, we went for a morning hike which left me feeling with this incredible zest for life – a great way to start off a new week, I must say. After resting a bit to recuperate, the husband and I set off to the V&A Waterfront for a little date on the Wheel of Excellence. We bought a ticket off Groupon which gave us 50% off and since I always wanted to catch a ride on this beauty of a structure, we took advantage of the deal.

The view from the top

Table Mountain


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Taufeeq watching the Jolly Rodger Pirate Boat

Taufeeq watching the Jolly Rodger Pirate Boat


Signal Hill

Signal Hill


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The SA Rugby Museum

The SA Rugby Museum


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My husband and best friend

My husband and best friend


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I know that going out these days, especially with the economical climate here in South Africa, can be really tough. Petrol is a big consideration where ever you want to go because it costs so darn much. But I refuse to accept this as an excuse to not be able to explore. I love adventure and it is my dream to travel more, which is why I am starting in my own city. Hopefully this will encourage you to get out more too, I tell you, it makes Mondays a lot less blue.

– Nihaad

Sunday Morning Hike

After writing my last post, I’ve been more motivated to explore this beautiful city that I call home. Summer is headed our way and it feels like a long lost friend that we are welcoming with arms wide open. I want to start writing more about Cape Town with all that it has to offer, and to record the places I have seen. Hopefully this would inspire me to do more so that I can combat the FOMO.

Sunday morning we went for a hike with some of the cousins. I have seen so many pictures of the Cecilia Forest and I just had to get out there to see this beautiful piece of Cape Town that up until recently I never knew existed. Even though I am feeling the after effects now, it was amazing to get out of bed on a beautiful sunny morning and be outdoors.

The start of the hiking trail

The start of the hiking trail

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My sister in law and fellow book worm

My sister in law and fellow book worm

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The cousins and one dog

The cousins and one dog

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A kiss under the water fall

A kiss under the water fall

When we reached the waterfall I was blown away. Believe me these pictures do absolutely no justice to the beauty of it.

It was wonderful to get in touch with nature and enjoy the fresh morning air. The hike made me feel like I’ve done something productive for the day with so much time left to spare. But I am keeping that for a separate post… So this is it for now – I hope you take advantage of the beautiful weather we are having here in Cape Town. And if you are reading from a different part of this beautiful world, then I hope you stop the FOMO by being a tourist in your home town.

– Nihaad

September Reads

I know, I know, September is long gone and believe me when I say it could not have been over sooner. But before I can send September officially packing and embrace the new month, I have to share my thoughts on the books I have read during the month that was supposed to bring Spring to Cape Town (FYI it has failed miserably in that department too)…

You guys, I am proud of myself! Even with all the stuff that went on, I still managed to do some solid reading – an improvement from the amount of books I read last month!

Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets by J.K Rowling

My growing lil' collection
I think Harry Potter has released me from the crappy reading slump I’ve been in this year. I am sure there is no need to explain the plot of this book so I will just say that I really enjoyed it, which is no surprise I know. I still feel like it was written as more of a children’s book so I can see why I never took to the first two books when I started reading it years ago.

Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban J.K Rowling

Now THIS book was awesome!! I think the story really picked up a whole different dimension in this one. I got so many answers for all the unanswered questions I had after watching the movie. Sirius Black and Professor Lupin are two of my favourite characters from the movies, so when I started this book I had high hopes. I am so pleased to say that my expectations were met and exceeded!

The Tales of Beedle the Bard by J.K Rowling

I still cannot get over the fact that I got this book for a measly R40! I mean where have you ever? This little book is such a special edition to my bookshelf. In The Deathly Hallows, Dumbledore leaves The Tales of Beedle the Bard to Hermoine, and it contains fables which I imagine witches reading to their little ones as bed times stories.

A Monster Calls by Patrick Ness

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I wrote a short review on this book here. I breezed through this story and I immediately fell in love with Patrick Ness’s style of writing.

Between Shades of Gray by Ruta Sepetys

IMG_20150912_191821 I wrote an in depth review here which explains exactly how I felt about this book. I feel that everyone needs to read this story as it explains a part of history that I don’t think many people are aware of. If you like historical fiction and have not yet read this then please remedy that as soon as possible, believe me, you will not be disappointed!

My Life Next Door Huntley Fitzpatrick

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So, I haven’t been reading much romances and I was in the mood to read something from this genre. I have heard people go on and on about this book on social media, and because I had it sitting in my “currently reading” pile on Goodreads for about a year, I thought it would be good to finish it once and for all. Let me first say that I enjoyed the plot, the writing style was good and I found the characters to be entertaining too. BUT, I still felt let down after I finished the story. I know that after reading all the amazing reviews, I had high hopes for this one and I hate that I always fall into that trap since I have had so many of these experiences! I would recommend this book to someone who hasn’t read much romance novels.

Burying Water by K.A.Tucker

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I enjoy K.A. Tucker’s writing technique. She also manages to surprise me each time I read something written by her, because she always adds that extra bit of something to her plots. The story of Jesse and Alex was unlike anything I have read before. The mixture of suspense, romance and action was a wonderful combination that held my interest throughout the duration of the book – something that I haven’t experienced in a while with romances.

Chasing River by K.A.Tucker

IMG_20151004_083214 Luke and River’s story was also one that I found hard to put down. Normally an author builds up a character in the previous book so that you want to know more about him/her. But I never felt that way about Luke. He was not a character I thought I’d enjoy reading about because he was unbelievably materialistic and arrogant – not qualities I particularly enjoy in a hero. Despite this, he pleasantly surprised me. I wouldn’t say this is the best I have read by K.A. Tucker, but it is good enough for me to recommend it to anyone looking for something with a little bit of action.

Fair Game by Monica Murphy

I think the only reason I completed this book was because it would have bugged me to have yet another story left unfinished. Still, I felt like I completely wasted my time with this one – it was mind numbingly (is that even a word) predictable. My general reaction to this was:

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I am currently reading Cress by Marissa Meyer, which I am enjoying so far. You can follow me on Instagram, if you would like to keep up with my bibliophilic tendencies, since I regularly post my thoughts on what I am currently reading. And if there are any books you thought were good, then please drop a comment below, I am always looking for recommendations!

– Nihaad

100 Followers!!

Gigabyte Netbook courtesy of The Husband

In celebration of reaching 100 followers on the Little Blog of STUFF (you guys are awesome, thank you!!), I thought it would be fun to list a few things that I love so far in this new world of blogging:

1) I get to express my creativity

This is something that I’ve been struggling with a lot lately. In the field in which I work I don’t get much of an opportunity to be creative. I have always been a creative person, whether it be drawing, painting, writing a poem now and again – I just find it incredibly relaxing to express myself in some way. So since I started this blog, I have had the opportunity to do so. I enjoy taking pictures and editing them the way I like, I enjoy writing and expressing myself through words, I enjoy being in control of my space and how I want it to look. This blog has been an outlet for me and it helps me release what ever I am feeling through the next post I create.

2) Inner Geek, Unleashed

I have always been rather good with computers. I am by no means an expert, but understanding computers comes easy to me. I did a computer applications subject in high school which I really enjoyed, so when I got to university my computer literacy skills was quite good. Blogging is a way for me to better my computer skills and also a way for me to brush up on what I have learnt through the years. I also get to improve my writing skills which I would like to use some day in the future when I find my lifes calling.

3) Being inspired

I have stumbled upon some great blogs in the short amount of time that I’ve been blogging, and with that I have (virtually) met some great people. People who inspires me, who makes me think differently and people who teach me something new everyday. It is a weird and wonderful thing to get to know total strangers through the work they put out there, and it is even more wonderfully weird to find the inspiration you are looking for through this. Sometimes I need a bit of advice or I need to know how people dealt with an issue that I am currently facing; and it comforts me to know that I am not alone in my struggles.

4) Meeting new people

I absolutely love the feeling when I published a post and someone can relate to it. I love it when I receive thoughtful comments from people who just want to let me know that they liked something I wrote. It is a wonderful feeling to know that at least one person has read what I had to say and that it made an impression enough for them to take a minute out of their busy lives to leave a comment.

5) Path of discovery

I don’t have the luxury to pack my things and leave for an unforeseeable amount of time to travel the world in the name of finding myself. So blogging is it for me (for now). I get to explore different paths that I would not otherwise venture off into, and at the same time create a portfolio for myself for the future. I came to the realization recently, that I have not yet found my “passion” and maybe I have a passion for lots of things – this is a space for me to sort out the chaos inside my head in hopes of finding it.

Thank you to every single person who took the time out of their busy lives to like or comment on a post. Thank you to the people who are following this blog, who are in a way sharing my journey as I attempt to find what it is that I want out of life. I appreciate it all and I hope that it continues to be my happy place that I can be proud of for years to come.

– Nihaad

5 things I’ve learned studying engineering

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I’m not sure if I ever mentioned it, but I studied Civil Engineering. My husband will be graduating this week (also in Civil Engineering) and I am so incredibly proud of his achievement because I know just how hard he worked to get to this point. So in honour of his achievement, these are 5 things I/ we have learnt from studying Engineering:

1) How to keep cool under pressure

During first year I felt as if I was drowning in the work load that hit me from every direction and it was a challenge to adjust to university fresh out of high school. I thought if I got through first year then the rest would be much simpler. Boy, was I wrong! As the years rolled by it became increasingly harder, and looking back now it all seems like a blur. Studying engineering taught me how to keep calm under pressure. Sitting through the exam with your brain almost fried because you are struggling to find a way to balance your equation, blatantly aware of the seconds ticking away, you learn to keep calm. You realise very quickly that if you freak out and start panicking, you will mess everything up.

2) The purpose of mathematics

You know in school, when you are sitting in a math class and you ask the teacher, “Where are we EVER going to use this??”. I found my answer studying Engineering. Mathematics is a language used to understand the science that explains the world around us. It gave me an understanding of how elements of the Earth react in a certain way and how it can be used to our advantage, or how it needs to be changed in order to improve the specific design. I also developed an appreciation for a calculator! When I learned the function to solve integrals and matrices, I was so happy and excited; you would have thought someone invented time travel! (Yes, I’m a nerd; and I’m proud of it!)

3) ask questions

Engineering is a field that requires one to solve problems, scientifically. But in order for you to answer any question, you need to have an idea of what the question actually is. I learnt the importance of asking questions (perhaps unnervingly so) if something does not make sense. I learnt not to accept things at face value, but to keep searching for facts that can put things into perspective for me.

4) Time management

During preparation for exams it wasn’t only about knowing and understanding the work, it was also about working efficiently with the time given to complete the test. You see, it didn’t really matter how much you knew if you couldn’t apply that knowledge in the set time. I learnt how to work smart so that I could produce my best work and meet the deadline. And now, in the professional world, I am able to manage my time effectively and get the work done that I have set for myself to complete by the end of the day.

5) Don’t give up

It is ok to fail and it is ok to make mistakes. It’s not the end of the world if this happens. During my studies I met people from all walks of life. These people persevered and pushed through no matter what, because they simply wanted to qualify themselves and better their lives. I learnt the importance of working smart, being dedicated and to never give up on the goals you have set for yourself. I learnt that sometimes getting a second chance at something is better for you because you are able to correct your mistakes and see things more clearly.

What have you learned during your studies that helps you today?

– Nihaad

JUNE – a half year reflection

So far 2015 has been a really action packed year for me. I have learnt to take risks, to be brave and to take chances. Seeing as it is half way through the year I thought it would be fitting to reflect on some of the events that stood out for me.

I went camping – twice!!

I am a bit embarrassed to admit that before this year I have never been camping. The idea of sharing a bathroom with complete strangers and sleeping in a flimsy tent outside never quite appealed to me. But then my in-laws had their annual camping holiday planned for January which my husband looked forward to all year; and being someone who likes to try new things, I was excited to go despite my reservations . Being outdoors, waking up with the rising sun and breathing in the fresh ocean air were some of the beautiful life offerings that I took for granted before.

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Camping in Langebaan

The husband and I went camping again in April for an anniversary get away which was completely different to the experience I had when we went at the beginning of the year. The campsite had no electricity so at night it was so dark that I literally could not see my hand in front of my face. But we got to work as a team that weekend which brought us even closer together as a young married couple.

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Camping in Ceres

Kayaking

I’m not sure how old I was when I first saw Titanic but I do know that ever since then I have had a very real fear of drowning. I never strayed too far into open water and I don’t particularly want to be trapped in a floating vessel half way across the sea. But this year I managed to conquer that fear. My husband loves fishing, and somewhere along the line he wanted to build a kayak so that he could take it out onto the water and fish to his hearts’ content. He never did build that kayak, but his father eventually bought one so that he could get the sudden need out of his system. When the time came to take the kayak out I jumped aboard, which was very daring of me since neither of us had any experience in kayaking (besides practising in the pool). By taking that chance I got to face my fear of drowning, and I also discovered a different kind of love and appreciation for the sea.

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Kayaking at Langebaan Lagoon and Gordan’s Bay

Ziplining

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Zip Lining in Ceres

April marked our first anniversary as a married couple, and we wanted to mark the special time with something memorable and adventurous. We ended up going for a zip line tour which was one of my most exhilarating experiences. Next on the list for us is bungee jumping!! 

A hike up the mountain

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Hiking in Ceres

Now we’ve been hiking before, but nowhere as hectic as this one. While on our anniversary getaway we were told about a hiking trail that ended by a beautiful waterfall. I have to say that about halfway up the mountain I was just about ready to throw in the towel and head back to flat land. But I pushed through because it was another experience Taufeeq and I got to share. We walked for what felt like forever, and eventually heard the majestic sound of flowing water – We’ve reached our destination!! The husband wanted to go further to see the waterfall that we’ve heard so much about, and we both felt that since we got that far it would be silly to turn back. So he wondered around while I sat at the water’s edge, keeping a look out for any hungry wild animals roaming around. He returned minutes later with a smile on his face and his hand held out to show me his precious discovery. It was perfect and beautiful and so well worth the trek. Looking back, we took a big risk hiking up that mountain alone in an unknown place with no one being sure of our whereabouts, but it was an adventure that we will always remember and a big risk we will never forget.

I hope your year so far has been one for the books as well… And if not there’s still half way to go – make it count!

– Nihaad