I’ve moved!!

Hi everyone!

I do apologise (once again) for my sudden disappearance from my little space in the clouds; but there is a very good reason for my absence. For the past two weeks I’ve been working on something that I am incredibly excited about sharing with everyone who has been a regular visitor on my blog.

Yes, you guessed it! After months of overthinking and excuses, I finally took the leap and moved my blog to its very own domain.

I have done a lot of thinking and planning for the space I have created, and decided to be more focused on what I put up there. So after moving house, changing addresses and having fun choosing the colours for the newly renovated walls (and after long strings of cuss words directed at PayPal) I would like to present to you my brand new blog.

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Unfortunately this decision has brought about its own set of changes, one of them being the name of the blog. I was really sad about this fact since The Little Blog of STUFF has been my outlet for the past few months and it was real hard to say goodbye. But I am excited about the new path I am journeying on and I am so happy about the new possibilities to be found down this road.

Like I said, I have decided to be more focused and dedicated to this blog that I have been neglecting lately. I have big plans for the future and I do hope you will make the change so that we can continue to share this journey.

This new space will be dedicated to my life long passion of reading and seeking answers to the ever growing list of questions I have about my place and purpose in this beautiful world. You can also expect to find the odd post of fun activities that the husband and I have managed to tick off our bucket list.

I do hope that you will give me a visit soon at Read & Seek.

– Nihaad

10 Book Challenge

IMG_20150815_132817I was tagged by Ali Caitrin to do a 10 favourite book challenge; and I have been putting it off for so long because I could not for the life of me complete it! This was probably the hardest challenge for me to do because naming 10 (only ten!!!) favourite books is unheard of!! Never-the-less, I think I came up with my list that for now, stays true until I read something else life changing…

1) The Book Thief by Markus Zusak

I read The Book Thief a few years ago, and it took me a while to read anything else after. This book is probably the most beautifully written book I have ever read, filled with so much detail which makes it impossible not to leave you in awe of Markus Zusak. A story of love and friendship found in the most unlikeliest of places; a story that fills you up, completely drains you and then fills you up once more. A must read for EVERYONE!

“I wanted to tell the book thief many things, about beauty and brutality. But what could I tell her about those things that she didn’t already know? I wanted to explain that I am constantly overestimating and underestimating the human race-that rarely do I ever simply estimate it. I wanted to ask her how the same thing could be so ugly and so glorious, and its words and stories so damning and brilliant.”

“A snowball in the face is surely the perfect beginning to a lasting friendship.”

“It kills me sometimes, how people die.”

“A small fact:
You are going to die….does this worry you?”

2) Someone Knows my Name by Lawrence Hill

Like I said, when I completed The Book Thief it took me a long time to get back into reading anything else. The reason for this was that I needed a book as deep and meaningful as the one I’ve come to find in Markus Zusak’s masterpiece. I found this between the pages of Someone Knows My Name – another book from the historical fiction genre which I have come to love – although this one is set during the time of slavery.

Someone Knows My Name, also titled The Book of Negroes, follows the life of Aminata Diallo. A woman who was abducted from Africa as a child and enslaved in South Carolina. This is a tale about the horrors of a part of world history that should never be forgotten, a tale about one woman’s life experience during some of the darkest times known to humankind. A story about perseverance, and patients to never give up hope for freedom – a tale of one woman’s dream to come home.

This book will completely change the way you see the world you live in today. It will open your eyes and expose you to some harsh realities that you may not want to face. I don’t know why schools still force students to read Shakespeare when books like these are out there!  

 ‘“You must learn to respect,” Papa said.

But I do not respect her,” I said.

Papa paused for a moment, and patted my leg. “Then you must learn to hide your disrespect.”’

“To gaze into another persons face is to do two things: to recognise their humanity and to assert your own.”

“I remember wondering, within a year or two of taking my first steps, why only men sat to drink tea and converse, and why women were always busy. I reasoned that men were weak and needed rest.”

“Some say that I was once uncommonly beautiful, but I wouldn’t wish beauty on any woman who has not her own freedom, and who chooses not the hands that claim her.”

“She asked why I was so black. I asked why she was so white. She said she was born that way. Same here, I replied.”

3) Leaving Time by Jodi Picoult

I wrote a little review about this book here, explaining why I loved it so much. Leaving time could possibly be my favourite Jodi Picoult book – it was beautifully told, contained realistic, well researched information which I truly appreciated, and completely blindsided me with a gut wrenching twist of events. I thoroughly enjoyed this book!

4) My Sister’s Keeper by Jodi Picoult

Up until I read Leaving Time, My Sister’s Keeper held the spot of my favourite Jodi Picoult book for years! I read it in high school and I still remember how I felt when I got to that point in the book. That point I think I’ve come to expect now from Picoult, yet she some how manages to flaw me every single time I reach the ending to one of her stories! My Sister’s Keeper was also a very well researched, insightful book which the movie did absolute no justice to in my opinion.

5) The Kite Runner by Khaled Hosseini

Another book I read in high school that stuck with me over the years because of the beautiful way that it was written. This story tugged at my heart strings until it finally ripped my heart right out my chest, and shattered it into a million tiny pieces. I think you can see why it’s spot has been reserved on this list for so long.

6) Harry Potter by JK Rowling

My growing lil' collection

My growing lil’ collection

I know I only started reading Harry Potter now, but let me just grab my pile of JK Rowling books and jump front row onto the band wagon! I completely understand  why people love these books so much! I only started book three now, but it is definitely safe to say that I am a huge Harry Potter nerd ! I have always loved the movies, but I have to say that even though I thought the movies were perfect, the books just has so much more detail that makes the whole story even more special!

7) Falling into You by Jasinda Wilder

I wrote a review on this book here if you would like to read it. Falling into you is one of my favourite romance books. There was just something about the hero, Colt, that I loved reading about.

8) Charade by Nyrae Dawn

In my opinion this book was far better than To all the boys I’ve loved before by Jenny Han. I read it a few years ago and still scan over my favourite parts whenever I am between books.

9) Any Roald Dahl books

I grew up reading Roald Dahl books – James and the Giant Peach, The Twits, The Witches, Charlie and the Chocolate Factory, Esio Trot and many more. It all started when I read his children’s poetry – a hilarious retelling of the classical tales – which I discovered in the library. I loved his writing immediately, and just had to read more of his work. My Mum got some of his books which I practically inhaled, and ever since I have loved everything he wrote.

10) A Monster Calls by Patrick Ness

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I completed this book last night and completely fell in love with Patrick Ness’s writing! Conor’s story and struggles broke my heart, but also gave me that sense that everything was going to be okay. This book told a tale of strength and courage and what it means to be a simple, honest living, human. It is a book that I will continue reading for many years to come.

This was a really hard albeit fun, challenge to complete! I hereby nominated these fellow bookworms to name their 10 favourite books:
Twins Turning Pages
Barefoot Meds
Surviving the Madness
Poppie Tee

If you accept, I am really looking forward to reading it!

– Nihaad

I’ll Give you the sun by Jandy Nelson

IMG_20150822_122257I’ll Give You the Sun was a beautiful book that I felt deserved a review all on it’s own. A story filled with so much heartbreak and pain that you would come out on the other side wondering how it is possible to still feel whole…

I’ll Give You the Sun takes place over a period of three years; following the events that occur in the teenage lives of twins, Noah and Jude. The book is written from the twins’ perspectives, and it is told from two different points in their lives. Noah tells his story from the age of 13, while Jude tells her side of things from the age of 16 – the present – and throughout the book, one gets the sense that something happened between the two which caused them to drift apart.

This book was so brilliantly crafted, that it brought to life every feeling and emotion written on the page. The way the characters expressed themselves through art spilt over in the form of illustrations that made for an overly special reading experience.

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Jandy Nelson’s Jude and Noah were vividly dimensional – they changed throughout the story in ways I never expected. At the beginning of the book I adored Noah; he was a lost soul roaming the world by his lonesome, in the shadow of his beautiful sister. I wanted to pick him from the book, give him a hug and assure him that everything will be ok. And when it came to a point where that statement would be deemed a lie; well, my heart broke for him – for the boy he was meant to be. Then there was Jude – a character that completely floored me because of how different she turned out to be from what I was expecting. She was strong even when she herself felt weak. She was weird, and wonderful in ways that makes a fictional character stay with you long after you’ve completed their story. And as I type this very sentence, I am realizing how perfect that makes these two characters – they compliment each other in ways that I imagine, only twins can.

Even though I predicted what the underlying issue was, I still enjoyed this book right up until the very end. And even though I predicted what the underlying issues were, I only came to fully understand the impact of these issues once I reached the end of the story. That on its own was the deciding factor for the 5/5 stars I gave this book.

There is so much more that can be written about I’ll Give You the Sun. So much more that I really want to say! But I think some things should be left to experience personally. Do yourself a favour, and read this book!

“Or maybe a person is just made up of a lot of people,” I say. “Maybe we’re accumulating these new selves all the time.” Hauling them in as we make choices, good and bad, as we screw up, step up, lose our minds, find our minds, fall apart, fall in love, as we grieve, grow, retreat from the world, dive into the world, as we make things, as we break things.”
– Jandy Nelson, I’ll Give You the Sun

– Nihaad

August reads

I haven’t done much reading this month for reasons unknown to me; but I did manage to complete a few books which I am so happy to share. These are the books that I have completed in the month of August:
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Cinder by Marissa Meyer

If you want to read my full review on this book then please check it out here. Cinder was the first book I read this month and I thoroughly enjoyed it. It was so different to the books I normally choose and the story really inspired me to read more from this genre. I gave it 4/5 stars on Goodreads.

Scarlet by Marissa Meyer

Scarlet is book two in the Lunar Chronicles. While Cinder is loosely based on the fairytale of Cinderella; Scarlet is based on Little Red Riding Hood. Scarlet was very slow for me. I liked the new characters that were introduced and how they fit into the original story, where Cinder left off; but I thought the story line was very predictable. To me, Scarlet was just a book to launch you into Cress – book three in the series and based on Rapunzel. I gave it 3/5 stars on Goodreads.

Shatter Me by Tahereh Mafi

I reached page 70 of Shatter Me and I put it down with absolutely no intention of picking it back up again. I could not stand Mafi’s writing – metaphor overkill!! A lot of it did not make sense and was just plain and simple, BAD writing! But for some reason I started reading it again and I came to enjoy it in the end. It was a fast paced story, with short chapters which I loved. I liked the characters even though they annoyed me a lot at first. Shatter Me is an intriguing read (that apparently will be made into a TV series) and I understand I am not alone in the struggle when I say that I don’t know who I like more: Warner or Adam!?! I gave it 2.5-3/5 stars on Goodreads.

Harry Potter and the Philosopher’s Stone by JK Rowling

This book is not shown in the picture because I read it from my tablet. I read Harry Potter a few years ago and I didn’t like it because I felt it was more of a children’s book and the writing was too simple for my liking. But then I decided to re-read it this month because I LOVE the movies. You guys, I am hooked! I love this series for everything that it is and I only wish that I could have given it a better chance when I was younger! I completely understand the hype around it and why so many people are die hard fans… I am collecting the new editions because they’re just so darn pretty, and also, I simply HAVE to have them on my bookshelf. Someone made a comment on my Instagram feed that they’re so jealous because I get to read Harry Potter for the very first time – that is how I feel most of the time when people read a book I love – I am enjoying the other end of the spectrum. I gave it 5/5 stars on Goodreads.

I’ll Give You the Sun by Jandy Nelson

I took a long time to reach the end of this book. Mainly because I read it slowly and did not want it to end! I loved the twins and how they told their stories. It was predictable I won’t lie; but I still loved the story with all my heart. I want to do a full review on this book so for now I will say that I gave it 5/5 stars on Goodreads.

I have a list of books I am currently reading, which I am sure you’ve seen if you follow me on Instagram. I also want to start a comic book collection but I have NO IDEA where to start!! So if any one have any tips or ideas on where I can begin with comics, then please pop a comment below!

Oh!! And HAPPY SPRING everyone in Cape Town!! (Happy 1st September to everyone around the world!!)

– Nihaad

5 favourites in colour

I can’t believe how long it’s been since my last Five Favourites post! It just goes to show how fast time is going by without me even realizing it… It’s supposed to be spring soon, here in Cape Town; the season where flowers start to bloom and leaves seem to have that extra lush, green look that brightens our city once again. So in the name of spring, this is my 5 Favourites in green.

#3 – GREEN

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Pistachio Macarons

I lurrrrrv macarons – someone put this on a shirt already!!! Give me any flavour, any time and there won’t be a crumb left after I’m finished! Also, I love pistachios… So no surprise, that my all time favourite macaron is the pistachio flavoured one because it is simply divine! I also adore the colour of them because you don’t find a lot of cakes in this pop of bright green.

The Body Shop Tea Tree Oil

I always have tea tree oil in my beauty stash. It helps with inflammation, blemishes, redness, insect bites or burns, the list goes on and on. The Tea Tree Oil range of products from The Body Shop is brilliant! It is all natural and it gives you that tingly feeling when you use it, as if you can feel it working its magic.

Johnson’s Face Care Oil Control Face Cream

A few weeks ago I was looking for an oil controlling face cream because my skin gets really oily halfway through the day. I came across this new line from Johnson & Johnson and bought it because it was really affordable. I’ve never used facial products from Johnson’s before so I was pleasantly surprised by this. It moisturizes the face but keeps oil at bay. Also, it smells so fresh and clean.

Bioderma Sebium Micellar Solution

Garnier recently launched their micellar solutions in South Africa and I immediately went out to grab a bottle because I’ve heard amazing things about it. I took the bottle for sensitive skin because the one for combination skin contains alcohol, and my skin reacts badly to any products that contain alcohol. After about two weeks of using it, I came to realize that it is just a makeup remover. It does nothing else to help my skin. So I got a bottle of the Bioderma Sebium H2O Solution. I used this a few years ago and completely loved it! It removes all traces of makeup and leaves my skin feeling fresh and clean. I would recommend this to anyone with combination skin – it is a miracle in a 250ml bottle!

Labello Pure & Natural Mint and Minerals

This is my most used Labello. It is super moisturizing and leaves your lips feeling soft and smooth long after the lip balm has been removed. It also has a lovely, fresh minty scent that is always a plus!

Thanks for reading another Five Favourites in Colour. What are some of your favourites in green?

– Nihaad

The Versatile Blogger Award

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Hi All!! Sorry that I’ve been MIA lately, but I’ve been super stressed at work and had zero inspiration (or energy) to write anything these last few weeks…

I have been nominated by the lovely lady, Kendel, from All that’s Glamorous, for the Versatile Blogger Award – thank you for the nomination Kendel!

The Versatile Blogger Award is not an award like you may think, where you get to attend a banquet with fellow bloggers, walk on stage and collect a trophy and maybe shed a few tears during your ‘thank you’ speech. No. This award was created to honour those bloggers who bring something special into your life, by spreading the word about their little space in the clouds, in hopes that it may touch the life of someone else too. And after learning this, I would once again like to thank Kendel for the nomination.

THE RULES

Firstly, you have to thank the person who nominated you – thanks again, Kendel!

Write 7 facts about yourself.

Nominate 7 other bloggers.

7 FACTS

1. I am Muslim.

2. I married my best friend of more than 10 years, just 3 months shy of my 22nd birthday.

3. I would watch action or sci-fi movies over a rom-com ANYDAY!

4. I wonderlust Every.Single.Day. I have a deep yearning to travel the world and see all these places I read so much about.

5. I am a Plain Jane. I am not a fan of frills and florals.

6. I have a whole list of adrenaline-inducing activities that I HAVE to do at least once in my life… Sky diving, bungee jumping and shark cage diving to name a few.

7. My Mum and I can communicate telepathically. We know what the other is going to say before we even said it yet… It often freaks us out!!

I know these 7 facts are quite random, but I can be a bit of a random person so it’s fitting in a way; and hopefully this gives you more insight into the person behind the blog.

7 BLOGGERS

And the nominees are…

Soraya – Pink Whispers

Saf – SMSYED

Poppie Tee – Poppie Tee

Ali Caitrin – Ali Caitrin

Megz – Barefoot Whispers

Harsha – Things I Love SA

Kristin – Simply Bookish Things

– Nihaad

August Book Wrap-up

I know it’s only half way through August but I think I’ve done enough book buying, and it’s safe to say that I’m done for the month.
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I only recently discovered this amazing online book store based in South Africa, called Reader’s Warehouse and I couldn’t wait to place my first order. I belong to their reviewer club where for every book you review on their website, you get a R2 voucher. I’ve accumulated about R42 which I immediately cashed out to buy two books (as shown above) that I’ve had my eye on for a while.
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I chose to have the books delivered straight home, because who doesn’t enjoy the excitement of unwrapping a parcel dropped off by the couriers?

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Shatter Me by Tahereh Mafi and I’ll Give You the Sun by Jandy Nelson

I have to say that I was really impressed by their service. They responded very quickly whenever I had a query and made me feel so welcome and special. I always appreciate this kind of service from stores because to me it shows that they care about their customers, and it means a lot when they go that extra mile to make me feel like I matter to them… I am also so happy with the books I got and can’t wait to place my next order!

Apart from the two I bought from the Reader’s Warehouse, these are the rest of the books I picked up this month:

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1) Dan Brown : Digital Fortress, Angels & Demons, Da Vinci Code and Deception Point
2) Marissa Meyer: Cinder and Scarlet
3) Michele Giuttari: The Dark Heart of Florence
4) Elizabeth Haynes: Under a Silent Moon
5) Marian Keyes : The Other Side of the Story
6) Nele Neuhaus: Snow White Must Die
7) Madeline Miller: The Song of Achilles

So that is my August Book wrap-up! I have quite a list of books I’d like to get but if there are any you’ve enjoyed recently that you would recommend I get then please feel free to drop a comment to let me know.

Oh! And if you haven’t noticed, I joined Instagram lately, where you can follow my Bibliophilic tendencies if that sounds like something that would appeal to you.

– Nihaad

50 things that makes me happy

Yesterday I got tagged by the lovely Karen from Confetti and Curves in a fun little challenge to list 50 Things That Makes Me Happy. This is the first time I was nominated to complete a blog challenge so I was super excited to accept the invitation – I really enjoyed making this list and I hope you enjoy reading.

Now, it goes without saying that what makes me most happy is my marriage, my family and friends, and all that I’ve achieved up until this point in my life. So I will be listing some of the random things that makes me smile, and some of the little things in life that I may tend to over look. These are the 50 Things That Makes Me Happy:

1. Making my husband laugh – his laugh is infectious!
2. My Mum’s food and advice she gives when ever I need it
3. Long conversations about life with my Dad – and his hugs of course
4. Evening family time with my in-laws
5. Reading a good book that you cannot wait to share with another person
6. Winter – and all that comes with it
7. Ginger sweets – it makes me feel so warm
8. When the house is clean
9. A strong cup of tea with just the right amount of sugar
10. Sleep!! I love my sleep
11. Watching reruns of my favourite series
12. Walking on the beach breathing in the fresh ocean air
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13. Doing something adventurous
14. Blogging!!
15. Jumping into my onesie pyjamas
16. The smell of petrol or permanent markers
17. That earthy smell after a rainstorm
18. When my favourite song plays on the radio
19. Good Sci-Fi movies – i.e. Anything by Marvel
20. When India wins a cricket match
21. The feeling when I put my glasses back on after I’ve cleaned them – I can see clearly now…
22. When a baby smiles at me!!
23. Pay day!! Haha
24. Staying at home all day being lazy with the husband
25. After the initial feeling of guilt for over indulging – buying books!
26. Ice-cream – it just makes everything better
27. When I buy a sale item and get to the till, only to have them say its been marked down even further! – SCORE!!
28. Laughing so much that my stomach hurts – I’ve yet to meet a person who doesn’t enjoy this
29. Sitting in front of a fire
30. Exploring new places
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31. When you’re driving and the road makes an unexpected dip and your stomach does that tumbling thing
32. Meeting new people from all over the world through blogging
33. Going home after a long day at work
35. Macaroons – yummy!!
37. When my tablet is fully charged
38. A long, hot shower
39. Gift shopping for someone else
40. Making a difference in someone’s life no matter how small
41. Inside jokes with the hubby
42. Fluffy socks
43. The smell of books
44. Eid morning (and lunch)
45. Getting a gift for no reason
46. Looking through old photo albums and reminiscing about life that used to be
47. The crisp of clean sheets
48. Taking photos – I find I really enjoy photography
49. When I’ve been struggling with a problem for days on end and then I finally get the correct answer!
50. And just for extra emphasis – MY FAMILY!!

That’s all folks – My 50 Things That Makes Me Happy . Thanks again to Karen – the sweetheart behind Confetti and Curves – for nominating me to take part in the challenge; I had so much fun writing this!! Visit her beautiful blog where she talks about all things glitzy and glamorous; from beauty to fashion and some helpful tips to plan your dream wedding.

I hereby tag the following fellow bloggers to complete this challenge:

Candice – Beauty Candy Loves

Poppie Tee – Poppie Tee

Nadia – My Hartjie

Razaan – My Passion for my Little Minions

Tasneem – City Girl Vibe

(And anyone else who would like to complete this challenge, please feel free!!)

I really hope you girls accept the challenge – I would love to read all about the 50 things that makes you happy!

– Nihaad

Book Review

The Lunar Chronicles: Cinder by Marissa Meyer

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After reading so many reviews on this book, I was left really curious to say the least. When I walked past the bookstore last week I picked up a copy, bought it without thinking any more of it and walked straight out before my mind start to wonder about the pile of unread books at home. I love Sci-Fi movies with all my heart, and I can count on one hand how many romance feature films I actually enjoyed. Which is weird when I think about it because when it comes to books, my preferred genres are switched around. So after completing Cinder, I could not answer the question as to why that is…

Cinder is the first book in the Lunar Chronicles by Marissa Meyer, and it is a futuristic re-telling of the classic fairy tale, Cinderella. However, this story is very different to the one you may remember from your childhood. Cinder is cyborg. She also happens to be an extremely talented mechanic who works at a little market in the streets of New Beijing where androids and flying cars are no longer a thing of the future. For all the advancements that are now regarded normal, top scientists across the world still cannot find a cure for a deadly plague that threatens the civilians. After her step sister falls ill, her vicious step mother places all the blame on Cinder, and sends her away for the science trial programme to help find a cure. It is here, the very place Cinder has been trying to avoid for fear of never being able to see the light of day again, that she find more answers about her mysterious past than she could have ever imagined.

Of course there is a Prince too. And after a chance encounter, Cinder soon realizes that there is much more to Prince Kai’s growing concern for the staggering number of deaths caused by the incurable plague… The Lunar Queen is watching; a Queen more powerful than any before, who lets nothing stand in the way of what she wants. She’s biding her time so that she can strike at the opportune moment – when the Earthens are at their weakest.

I thoroughly enjoyed reading this book, because it was so different to what I normally read. It was also very detailed and descriptive, but not in a way that made it seem unnecessary. I found it a bit predictable – which is why there are so many mixed feelings about this book – but there were more twists in between that kept me intrigued. I liked how we got to read from more than one person’s perspective because it gave a better picture of the whole story. I am really excited to read the rest of the series, and even more excited to explore the Sci-Fi/Fantasy genre since there are SO many books I want to get hold of. I am not sure why it’s taken me this long to read more in this genre, but I am so excited (can you tell how excited I am??) because I have a lot of catching up to do.

Have you read Cinder? And what were your thoughts on it? I’d love to know.

– Nihaad