The Liebster Award

liebster2

I know I recently posted the The Versatile Blogger Award for which I was nominated; but I was tagged by the weirdly, wonderful, Poppie Tee for the Liebster award some time ago too, and I am here to finally accept the challenge she has bestowed upon me!

If you have not visited her blog then please do; she shares her unique take on life as a university student, and puts a special twist on thoughts most of us have on a daily bases. These are the questions she has thrown my way:

1. What is your least favourite food?
Calamari!
2.How did you come up with your blog name?
I just wanted to start a blog! And in order for me to create one on WordPress, I needed a unique name. I wasn’t sure what my blog will be about because I didn’t have a niche that I planned on sticking to, so I wanted a name that would allow me to dwindle on any topic I chose.
3. What is your pet-peeve?
I have so many pet-peeves!! I can’t stand it when people mix up my study notes. I get annoyed when people highlight or write in textbooks. I loathe filler words such as basically or literally. I detest disorganization!!!
4. If, you were to be given a ticket to anywhere in the world, where would you go?
I would go to… Anywhere in the world!! (hehe)
5. What is your favourite topic of conversation?
I love talking about books!!!
6. Which actor/actress would you most likely run away with?
James Spade!!! I am a huge fan of Raymond Reddington.
7. Which TV series/ book sequel do you most enjoy?
My favourite TV series is The Blacklist (obvz). My favourite book series is turning out to be Harry Potter!
8. Name one thing that you think needs to change in this world.
Every child should receive a decent education – I believe education will fix so much that is wrong in the world.
9. What do you do to unwind?
Relax with my husband, or read…
10. Do you prefer Apple or Android?
Android!
11. Do you like sneakers or formal shoes?
I think this picture answers the question:
IMG_20150905_125339

I hereby nominated the following fellow bloggers to complete the same questions:
Lolsy’s Library
From a Day Dreamer’s Diary
Lemontierres
Lumos and Lemons
Zoelicious Insider
Surviving the Madness
Curious Robyn

(*If you’ve been nominated before or if you do not wish to complete the challenge then it is completely fine; I just wanted to share the fact that I love your blog!*)

– Nihaad

Why you should not care what people think

Screenshot_2015-09-08-21-56-35-1
Something that I am becoming increasingly aware of, is that most of us tend to care far too much about what other people think of us. It can be a good thing if it allows you to perform to the best of your abilities, but in most cases it has far more negative effects. This is my little list of why you should stop caring what other people think:

1) It will make you happy
As long as you worry about the opinions of others’, it will control the way you live your life. You will be miserable. You will constantly try to please everyone around you which is impossible to do! Focus on what you want, and what brings you joy – this way you know for sure that at least one person (and the most important person, in this case) is happy.

2) You will be less stressed
If you try to please everyone around you because you’re so concerned that they might think badly of you, it will stress you out to no end. The faster you learn to not let it get to you, the faster you will get rid of the unnecessary stress it causes. There is so much more you can gain from a single day if you cut out the negativity that comes with worrying about another person’s opinion. At the end of the day, if your choice makes you sleep better at night and puts an extra bit of bounce in your step, then that is all that matters really.

3) You will not resent others’
If you are not following a path that YOU have chosen for yourself, you will become resentful. This could make you really bitter because you will not be able to be happy for the next person who does their own thing as it reminds you of the possibilities you might have missed. And so the vicious cycle continues its rapid spin; creating another unhappy, cynical person in this world, who places the exact kind of stress on another person – the same kind of stress, mind you, that you were trying to avoid for yourself to start with.

4) You cannot make everyone happy
And quite frankly, you shouldn’t try! Those who matter will support you and encourage you to do what you want to do, simply because they want to see you happy. Anyone who has something negative to say based on choices you make (that you feel are the right ones for you) are people who are not brave enough to take the necessary steps required to change their own lives for the better.

It can be extremely difficult to ignore what people think. Sometimes we do it without meaning to and it causes more harm than good most of the time. But in order to find peace and happiness, in order to be satisfied with the choices you have made for yourself, you need to figure out how to stop caring too much about what others’ have to say. Live your life for yourself – you will thank yourself one day!

– 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

IMG_20150905_121226

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

The Versatile Blogger Award

versatile-blogger-award

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

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
IMG_20150502_082001
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
IMG_20150418_134529
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

Not things…

We all have turning points in our lives. Moments that define either where we are headed, or that completely change the direction in which we choose to move forward. I’m sure if you’re reading this, at least one event in your life briefly flashed in front of your eyes. I have so many defining moments that I can think of, none of which I am going to mention because I’m not here to air my dirty laundry. But I do however, want to share a conscious decision I made a long time ago based on one of these kinds of moments, which is: to not let anything material define me.

I’m somewhat of a “Plain Jane” – I see beauty in simplicity. And while I don’t find any fault with those who enjoy living lavishly; it’s just not something I aspire to. Not because I don’t like nice things; of course I do. I just look at people around me to know that I don’t want to cling to worldly possessions as if these objects can provide me with some sort of substance to my existence. I don’t want to measure my happiness and success by the material wealth I’ve accumulated. I don’t want to be fooled into thinking I have to have certain things to live up to the standards I’ve set for myself. I made a decision to not be materialistic; or for the very least, not to let it change me for the worse. I don’t want to be measured by the clothes I wear, the car I drive or the cell phone I have.

I want to collect knowledge and wisdom, experiences and character, happiness and excitement.

I want to collect memories, NOT things.

Design-2015-05-30-10-54-23

– Nihaad

How I am (attempting to) handle this whole adult thing

There are no shortcuts to any place worth going.

There are no shortcuts to any place worth going.

Since I started working I’ve been having these different questions about life, and what I want out of it. I have this yearning for more. Over the past few weeks it’s been getting worse, where I am constantly trying to find answers and solutions to this growing list of questions that I have about my new role as a working woman. It reached a point where I felt like I couldn’t breathe through the anxiety brought on by this horrible feeling of confusion and frustration. I have always had a plan for my life which I’ve been following for so long, and now that I am where I wanted to be it just doesn’t seem to fulfil me the way I expected it would. I reached out to my husband, my mother and I have been reading blog posts by people all over the world who feels the exact way I do right now. It should comfort me, knowing that I am not alone. But I have reached an understanding – I must work this out for myself…

Now I am taking the much needed steps to find exactly what it is that has me feeling this way and try to change it a little bit every day. I thought I’d share some points that I am going to focus on for now, and as the list grows, I will keep sharing. Hopefully just writing this blog post will be the first step, and I am also hoping that I will be able to continue to draw inspiration and encouragement when I reflect on this in the future.

Here is the list of things I will attempt to remind myself every time I am feeling anxious or frustrated and when I need a little bit of encouragement to go on:

#1 YOU ARE HUMAN

It might sound silly to have to remind myself of this very obvious point, but it’s something I have to do. There are days when I put so much pressure on myself to be perfect and when things don’t work out the way I planned, I lose my sense of direction. I question everything about myself and I end up feeling despondent towards my work. Humans are imperfect. We make mistakes, we change our minds; we learn, we grow, we want more and we will always be searching for something else as our circumstances change. Embrace it instead of trying to fight against it. Don’t apologise if you are just having a bad day – it happens to the best of us – but remember that you can do better if you are willing to get up and push through.

#2 YOU ARE YOUR OWN PERSON

Don’t let other people’s ideas and life choices bounce off onto you. Your life is your own; you don’t owe any part of yourself to anyone that you don’t want to share. Don’t let other’s regrets and personal battles affect you, and don’t be weighed down by their expectations. If something is not what you want, then attempt to make the necessary changes to find what you’re looking for. We’re all trying to find ourselves, we are all on the journey, and we are each responsible for our own lives.

#3 BLOCK OUT NEGATIVITY

Negativity is such an awful thing. It drags you down without you even realizing it. And before you know it, you’re at the bottom of the ocean with the waves crashing over you and the surface seems just so damn far away. The point is that you can SWIM. If you are suffocating, do everything you can to reach for air. Take a huge breath and fill yourself with clean, fresh possibilities. But you can only achieve this by letting all the bad stuff go. After all, a drop of toxin spoils the whole water can (Haha I was trying to stick to the theme of the analogy).
Design-2015-05-30-00-25-55-1

#4 YOU’RE ALLOWED TO CHANGE YOUR MIND

I have always had a certain plan for my life. To me it was set-in-stone. But now as I start realizing there’s so much more I want to learn, do and explore, I am changing my mind about certain things that has always been sure to me. And I think that’s ok. It means I am growing, that I am not on the right path at the moment but I can still get there. The beauty of life is that there is always hope.

#5 YOU HAVE SO MUCH TO BE GRATEFUL FOR

I know this. I thank my creator everyday for all that I am so fortunate to have. I have my faith and health; I have a loving husband for whom I’d move Heaven and Earth for. I have a fiercely supportive family of strong individuals who inspires me every day. The list can go on and on. But when we are in a slump and we go for days just feeling bleak about something in our lives, we tend to focus only on the things that are going wrong – instead of being grateful for all that’s going right. For me, when I am sitting at work thinking of all that which I’d rather be doing, I see my husband’s smiling face and just feel excited knowing I get to go home to him.

#6 ENJOY THE ROLLER COASTER

I don’t know why it is that on my bucket list of things to do, I want to go on the highest, longest, fastest roller coaster on the planet, but when it comes to the metaphorical roller coaster that is life, I feel nauseous. I am starting to realize that I am not a carefree soul. I can’t just throw caution to the wind and not care about people who are depending on me. But I want to be. I don’t want to have to worry about so many things. I want to be able to make a mistake, say “oops my bad” and move on without looking back. I want to throw my hands in the air, let out a scream and just enjoy life for what it is.

I’m sure there are so many more people who feel the way I do. Some are more open about it than others. But if you’re like me, who quietly wallows and think if you keep it in it will just disappear then stop right now. You owe yourself better than that! My sharing of this post is an attempt to make the little changes so that I can see a different outcome towards my goal of living a more satisfied life. What changes are you going to make? I can tell you now; the first step is the scariest. But you are human – which means at one point in your life you were a little lump who depended on someone for everything. And then you started to crawl, and then you took your first step, it became easier! You’ve done it before, what’s stopping you from doing it again?
After all, we’re on a path of self discovery, and this is but a journey!

– Nihaad

Finding inspiration

It’s been about a week since I finally took the plunge and set up my about page. But after that, for some reason, I could not write my first official post; which was frustrating since the reason for me starting a blog was that I had so much I wanted to say. I spent so much time reading other blogs, scrolling through pictures and quotes in the hopes of finding something to ignite my imagination. Still I came up blank.

And then something wonderful happened.

I turned to myself, looking at my strengths, experiences and all that I hold dear to my heart. I sifted through old pictures I have taken and saw it in a new light. I indulged in the memories that shape who I am today and I kept reminding myself that I am unique. Nobody has ever read the same story I have read, and no one has ever lived the same life I have lived. THIS became my inspiration…

These days we all want to express our individuality, we want to be different from the next person we see. Yet when we seek inspiration, or try to do something out of our comfort zone we turn to others. This is exactly what I did. And while normally these methods work for me because of course people inspire me in different ways; it just wasn’t enough to bring me back from the slump I was in.

Because despite the way we see others, despite how we look up to people around us; we alone have the power to truly bring out our best selves.

Design-2015-05-30-08-38-29 - Copy

– Nihaad