what I've been...

Tuesday, 12 December 2017

The last time I did this post was in early October and now we're in December, a lot of things have changed so I thought I'd do an updated version of this. Reading over my previous one I can definitely sense the unease and mental instability that prevailed...I'm here to tell you that that's still the case now! wooooo

what i've been doing-
I've had quite a torrential few days. I met Katie on a few Saturdays ago and had a day full of walking, pizza, conspiracy theories spray painted near bus stops, literal tears streaming down my face, holding that pizza box half way through london, hiking up a hill *still holding the pizza box*, getting on the wrong bus only for the next bus to have the same very distinctive bus driver with the final defining of our blogs as being places where we record existential crises. As you can tell, it was a very good day ;)  I also went out to dinner with my family and friends that same evening (I could barely keep my eyes open) and ended up being restricted to solely speaking Spanish with my dads Ecuadorian friend. I loved every second of it. Saturday was a good day. Sunday? Not so much. You can read my "Rejection" post here if you're curious...or just nosy. Fast forward a week and a bit- I protested against Trump's incredibly sensitive decision to recognise Jerusalem as the capital of Israel and then the next day I went and protested against the slave trade in Libya. Both causes are very close to my heart and I will support them until the day I die. I have an interview at Queen Mary tomorrow. I've already received an offer from them but I was called to interview because of "potential" Whatever that means. So I'm going in tomorrow and hopefully can leave with an unconditional offer. I really love academic interviews, especially about history. The mock interviews I had for Oxford were some of the most academically enjoyable things I've undergone because I was truly able to be prodded into reaching an argument and making crazy links that I wouldn't ever have done without the pressure exerted- nevertheless, I'm really looking forward to tomorrows interview.

what i've been reading/watching-
I finished Stranger Things a few weeks ago and I now have a massive void and have been yearning for the weird sci-fi episodes to grace my screen. I am proud to say that the void has been partially filled by setting Joe Keery as my lock screen, watching every interview I can find and pouring over every Stranger Things 'crack' video on youtube...they are gold. I am enamoured with the character of Steve Harrington and his maternal instincts throughout s2. I haven't been doing much recreation reading, mostly just articles about Elizabeth I's parliament, Lord Burghley and Puritan vs Catholic factions. It's not fun (as you probably imagine) On a more fun note, I watched La Casa de Bernarda Alba at the Cervantes theatre a few weeks ago and although the theatre itself was super small and located under a train railway, the play itself was amazing. The actors were so talented and really made it feel like we were in a small town in 1930's Andalusia. On the topic of Spain, I've written my first ever blog post solely in the language. I don't know how many people that appeals to now that I think of it. shit.

what i've been listening to-
The Stranger Things soundtrack is possibly the best thing ever on Spotify. Listening to it in the study room is so lovely because it's perfect and mellow enough to actually study too but also reminds me of the amazing series I watched as well. Can you tell that I loved the show? I stumbled across The Weeknd's Often (kygo remix) which I used to bang out in year 10 and I still know the lyrics off by heart I think that says a lot about me ha. I've also gotten into Majid Jordan's new album, I love 'body talk', 'you', 'phases' and 'the space between' They have a really nice R&B and synth 80s sound which is weirdly a really good mix. Of course, Daniel Caesar's Freudian album has remained a firm favourite. I recently discovered a new podcast (bear with me) called "Coffee Break" and it's specifically for language learners. They offer them in Spanish, Italian, French and German and seriously they are so good! Just being able to sit on the bus on my 30 minute journey and listening to the language and focussing on grammar, sentence structures, idioms and vocabulary has helped so much.

what i want-
There hasn't been much that has appealed to me, much to the capitalist system of consumerism's despair. Black friday sales were meh. After watching Stranger Things (I'll shut up about it soon) I wouldn't mind a pair of flares and Nike cortez's- I think the whole 80s style would be a cool look to experiment with...I've also seen this amazing dark green suit at H&M and I'm envisioning it with slick straight hair and a bold red lip but I can't justify spending £60+ just on a vision lol. A bit less fashion orientated is a desk. Yep, a desk. I don't have one but I've come to the realisation that it is exactly what I need in my life. Those who know me will know that I spend all my time in the study room, on one particular table (it's in the corner and is surrounded by 3 huge windows and right next to the heaters) and if that desk isn't free, I'll go home. That stubbornness has led to a lot of procrastination although by now, everyone knows to leave it free for me every Wednesday periods 3,4,5 and 6 as well as periods 5 and 6 on Thursday and Friday, I've still missed out on so many hours of potential work being done. Also weekends are hopelessly unproductive and so are my holidays therefore a desk is absolutely imperative. Have I argued my case enough? Perhaps I should change my potential career path to law lol.

On another note, I bought a backpack a few days ago and it arrived yesterday and oh my it's amazing. After my old zara one broke I was reduced to using canvas tote bags which killed my shoulder, especially as my laptop always comes to school with me nowadays. Padded straps, laptop compartment and spacious enough to fit in a lever arch folder without making me look like an enthusiastic year 7...tis a dream.

what i've been anticipating-
The Christmas holidays! This term has been one of serious emotional tests and I just want to catch up on lost sleep in all honesty. I have my mocks in January so a huge chunk of the holidays will be filled with revision but thanks to my fantastic "revise in your frees and stay in after school till they kick you out" policy, I've managed to get most of it done during the term. I think most of my revision will take the form of practice essays for history, past paper questions for biology and fuck knows what I'll do for spanish- probably just analyse symbols and themes from the literature module. I'm pretty relaxed about these mocks (for now) and I'm hoping they won't be too demanding. Also I may be going to Brighton with Lexie this month and then reciprocate that later whenever Katie's travel doesn't cost her an arm and a leg. I'm going to Vienna at the end of December and I am very excited for that because although it's quite an understated destination, it is packed full with history being a firm favourite of Stalin, Trotsky and other revolutionaries. It will be a good 4 days ;)

SO yes, that's everything that has been happening in my life in the past few weeks. As irrelevant as it may all sound, it's so relaxing to be able to cast my mind back to everything that has been happening and swimming around in my mind and solidifying everything in the form of a blog post. I look forward to reading this in a few months or even a years time ;)

what have you been up to?
-dalal

finalmente!

Sunday, 3 December 2017

Siempre me he querido escribir un blog post solamente en Español, y ahora estoy haciendolo (finalmente!)

Aunque no tengo un gran numero de personas en los paises hispanohablantes que leen mi blog (pero si estas de alguien pais que habla español, por favor queda aquí ;) como he dicho antes, siempre he querido escribir en un idioma diferente y como un estudiante de español por cuantos anos, me siento que ahora es el correcto tiempo en que estoy en un nivel de competencia en el que puedo lograr uno de mis metas.


Entonces, voy a dejar de divagando (puedo hablar por días cuando quiero) No tengo un plan definido por este post pero es lo mismo por todos mis otros publicaciones aquí jaja, así que voy a hablar sobre mis planes porque para la primera vez, tengo mas de usual (wooo dalal finalmente tiene una vida social) Los últimos semanas del cuatrimestre siempre son estrenaste con los simulacros de exámen y los plazos, pero tengo algunos cosas que estoy deseando.


Este sábado, voy a encontrar con mi amiga de Internet, Katie! Por los últimos meses, al principio de nuestros aplicaciones al Universidad de Oxford, nos hemos convertido en amigas cercas. También, tenemos un esquema de 'pen pal, en que enviamos cartas etc lo que me parece muy guay porque muestra el poder de los letras que existe todavía en un mundo dominada por cosas electrónicos y digitales. Vamos a explorar Londres: comer, ir a los museos, las galerías de arte y generalmente pasemos el rato. Si ambos nos invitan a los entrevistas en Oxford (dedos cruzados) podemos vea la ciudad juntos también. Mis otros planes? Creo que Lexie, Katie y yo vamos a Brighton en unas semanas. Lexie visita la ciudad con mucha frecuencia por lo que conoce todas las cosas interesantes que hacer y podemos evitar hacer las cosas más típicamente turísticas. También estoy en un grupo de otros bloggers (Fran, Kate, Lucy, Abi, Liv y Sophie) de mi edad y podríamos tener un dia en Londres también pero no se ha finalizado todavía. Y finalmente, durante los vacaciones de Navidad quizás voy a Strasbourg en Francia en los primeros cinco días y luego en el final del mes, voy a visitar Vienna. Estoy tan emocionado a hacer los excursiones a pie sobre los comunistas y la segunda guerra civil, visitar el "Cafe Central" que era un favorito por todos las personas que han cambiado nuestra sociedad (en maneras negativas y positivas) como Trotsky, Tito, Freud y Stalin y también visitar el museo de Freud que esta en su casa real. Hay muchos otros excursiones obviamente pero los tres que he mencionado son mis prioridades ;) si has visitado Vienna y tienes algunos consejos hazme saber en los comentarios.

Cambiando de tema, he acabado viendo Stranger Things y dios mío, todos necesitáis verlo! Es mi nuevo serie favorito y no puedo recomendarlo mas. Los personajes, especialmente los niños son tan talentosos y el argumento es realmente increíble. Estoy enamorada con el carácter de Steve Harrington, especialmente en la segunda temporada cuando tiene el papel de ser como un madre a los niños, y su pelo <3__<3


Voy a terminar esta publicación de blog aquí porque a) No tengo nada más que decir y b) escribir en otro idioma y tener la gramática y el vocabulario correctos es muy agotador. Creo que he tenido que usar el sitio web del diccionario español cientos de veces para comprobar si mis sentencias tiene sentido.


Espero que les haya gustado esta forma de contenido en mi blog y tal vez haga más posts en español en el futuro


-saludos, dalal

rejection

Tuesday, 28 November 2017

so I got rejected from Oxford.

and although I probably shouldn't be tarnishing my "academically perfect" image online, I feel like I have been documenting my application process on here and this step is necessary to address.

I worked so fucking hard on that application. Schooldays that extended until 7pm for entrance exam sessions and writing multiple drafts of essays to submit as written work. And although I shouldn't see it all as a waste, I do.

The letter came on Saturday when I was out all day exploring London with my lovely friend Katie (we had such a good day) but my mum didn't want to upset me that night after I'd had such a nice day. She showed me the letter today (sunday) and I just felt so disappointed in myself and that I had let everyone down because this so-called 'Oxford dream' had taken up so much of my time and so much emotion. I think I cried all the tears in me.

There's this massive expectation from some school friends and I am dreading this whole week of them asking "have you heard anything back yet?" and the subsequent answer to follow. Not only that is a few blog readers/friends who I feel like I've been a role model for. I mean this in the least self entitled way but a few younger bloggers come to me for school advice or have simply been following my academic journey and I feel like I have let them down because I have failed in entering my next "impressive" step...even though that's stupid because simply going to a certain institution does not dictate my worth at all.

So I cried for the next 45 minutes with my mum comforting me and telling me that everything happens for a reason, that better things are coming like possible offers from Durham, it's a blessing in disguise because I had only applied for history alone there and not history and spanish and if I want to take a gap year then I could always do that.

I think rejection is always a hard thing to deal with because you ultimately start to question yourself and your worth: "am I not good enough?" "why don't they want me?" but we always forget that rejection is a crucial part of growing and a lot can be learnt from the way you deal with it.

I am not familiar with failure or rejection. I am used to pure successes. I do not mean to sound conceited.

I am sad, there's no denying that but a few hours have passed and I'm beginning to rethink everything. Katie and I were discussing yesterday that if we both hypothetically got offers from Oxford and Durham, which would we go for? I said Durham because it would've been an offer for the course I really want to do (History and Spanish) as opposed to straight History at Oxford. I'm pretty sure that Katie said she'd pick Durham as it's only 20 minutes away from home but she'd also live with the fact that she passed an opportunity to go to the University of Oxford and I agreed. It's a weird one.

Perhaps I've made it much easier for myself for if I did get an offer from both, I would then be plagued with the massive decision between going to Oxford and not doing a course I completely want to do or picking any of my other options for my exact course combination.

If anything, this rejection has motivated me to work harder. I want to prove the history tutor that made this decision wrong, as petty as that may sound. And even though I probably won't put myself through reapplying because it's simply unnecessary and time consuming, I will definitely take this process as a learning experience. The possibility of a gap year will be on the cards as well, depending on the prospects of my UCAS track in the next few months. I know what I want to fill my gap year with, if I do take one but for now I shall continue to work as hard as I can and not focus on the "past"

As my mum said, I should take my time and not think about disappointing others (which is partly the reason why I was so upset at the rejection) This is my own university application and I should solely consider myself in it. At the end of the day, everything happens for a reason, as cliche as that may sound. Maybe I'm not yet ready for the academic rigour or perhaps this has saved me from undergoing 3 years and a whole lot of stress and debt over a course I don't entirely want to do.

Pity party is over.

For those of you who did get invited to interview at Oxbridge, I'm wishing you all the luck and sending over positive vibes- you can do it! 




it's 12:33 and I've run out of blue tack

shoot #1

Wednesday, 15 November 2017

it's cold and grey outside and it's almost pitch black so I looked through my photo gallery and found some images from a shoot with Aina back in May. not only did this girl get me through english lit that year (although I've abandoned her now) she also has one of the craziest creative minds which are shown through her blog, videos and art a-level work as well. also, she's a pretty big advocate for racial, gender and animal equality...what's not to love? please support her by subscribing and reading her posts- we need more female, Asian representatives in the artistic world and Aina is definitely a worthwhile one!

can we ignore how ghastly pale I look...almost a sallow hue. this is what the British climate does to you...



hoped you liked the photos. make sure you look at Aina's stuff, I'm being serious. please do.

-dalal

James Dean and my undying love

Friday, 10 November 2017

You see, I adore James Dean. Most comparable to the way my friend, Henrietta, has an undying love for Roger Federer, only Dean is dead and Federer is, well, not.

He is my true celebrity crush. I cry every time I watch an interview with him, not to sound dramatic. My true love for him was awakened when I saw a picture of him on pinterest (very white middle aged mum, I know) and was wowed until I googled him and found out that he'd died in the 50s. 

Heartbroken at age 13- not good.

I then went on to watch all of his films (although judging by the nationwide love for him in Morocco, I'm pretty sure I had watched them all before I reached the age of 10) I poured over written works about him by fellow actors and actresses (i read various "things you didn't know about James”...I recommend this one) and literally followed almost every Instagram account dedicated to him. I still write paragraphs dedicated to him every February 8. It sounds strange.

I would roast me too, don’t worry.
I used to hate those girls that would fangirl over One Direction or Justin Bieber, claiming it was stupid, overreactive, excessive and a waste of time and intellect. Now that I read this post over, I realise that I am one of those people that I love to hate.

For as long as I can remember, I always found the prospect of having an idol so trivial. So, superficial. Especially when they're a celebrity. But to me, James Dean doesn't feel like a superficial person to idolise because he is more than just his acting. He has a story, just like everyone else, which all add up and make him. From his childhood daddy issues, possible homo or bisexuality, weird relations with Marlon Brando (which can be psycho-analysed very deeply) his objection to fighting in the Korean War perhaps due to his Quaker faith, his lack of structure and everything else just makes him that more intriguing to me. Perhaps I'm living beyond my time, perhaps I was supposed to live through the 50s. Maybe then I would have been able to access James Dean in more ways that dusty books at the library or pop culture articles online which surged in popularity after Taylor Swifts' song mentioned him...



Dean died in a car crash. The way he wanted. "What better way to die? it's fast and clean and you go out in a blaze of glory." The most sadly, ironic interview I've watched: "be careful on the road, the life you might save might be mine" It's haunting because it's the last thing he publicly said before his death. But again, I think it completely contributes to him. James Dean was plagued with uncertainty. His death was another factor supporting that- the unexpectedness of it. The ironic and chilling nature of these words completely vouch for who Dean really was. Someone who went through life without knowing his end destination. The life you might save might be mine. The excessive use of "might" again hinting at the uncertainty and sentiments of pure chance. He knew he would die young. And for me, I have a feeling I might too (I say this in the least morbid and morose way possible) But then again, the whole use of might is a real pivotal word. Because you never know, especially with life and death and Dean himself. It's a tentative word. Not too strong, certainly not strong enough to put anything in setting stone.

I believe the James Dean archetype is well and truly present today. He iscultural icon of teenage disillusionment and social estrangement. We see the persona being transmitted through many major icons like (late) Kurt Cobain sharing the same quintessential nonchalance and rebellious style that are emblematic of Dean’s magnetic legend. 

I don't mean to be that typical angst filled teen but I truly feel like I reciprocate the nature of Dean. Not completely. But we share similar traits. A quiet, lone yet impactful aura. It is said that James Dean lived like a "stray animal" with no direction and sense of place and I feel that too. I don't know what I'm doing nor where my life will lead me to. Just like Dean.
I have subconsciously dressed the way Dean, even the general 50s era, did. We begin to become accustomed with our environment and culture and this is expressed through many ways, one being the way you dress. Your personal style. The 50s have (involuntarily) influenced me to dress how I do. 

I don't mean the generic pin-up, bouffant dresses. More on the masculine sphere of influence. 

Plain and simple. 
High waist, blunt cuts. 
Big, shapeless coats.
Straight leg denim.
Unadorned leather boots. 
White, cream and navy shirts and pull overs. 

I think that this alone shows the heavy impact of the films I watch, reports I read, history I learn and art I see has had on not only my style but in building up my personality.
It’s not a special day of James Dean’s life but I was looking through my old Facebook page (very 2011 of me) and saw that I had shared lots of photos of him and I thought, why not do so on here. 

He was not cut from the typical fabric of the “American man” He rejected hyper-masculinity and made up for it through his acting. He was kind and warm hearted and vulnerable. So now you’ve read me expressing my outward feelings admiration for this guy which calls for a very niche post. 
My blog is a reflection of me and who I am. I found it so strange that I'd never mentioned my literal love of Dean until now because it's such a big part of my identity.

"oh, it's Dalal going on about that dead guy again" 

Even though this probably won't get many views or engagement at all, it's something personal to me and something sentimental. I want to digitally home it on my blog.


My favourite male* thinks it's a cool quirk. I think it's pretty cool too. It's rare to find fellow fanatics who aren't either dead or much older than I am. If anyone reading this loves him as much as I do and happen to be 17, can we please meet up and organise a trip to Indiana ;)

-Dalal 

*to stop friends who may be reading this post from interrogating me on who the boy is ;)

Essaouira

Tuesday, 31 October 2017

I think I have a thing with visiting cities with the most obscure names to spell. Apart from the strange hotbox in a coach situation on the way back from here and the music band that jumped onto the coach somehow, I loved the city and all the rasta, laid-back  vibe it had. Probably explains the coach, uh, issue. The stay here was short and sweet and to be honest, I only went because my cousin literally raved about it throughout the year whilst I was stuck in shitty London so as soon as I touched down in Casablanca, we got straight to planning the trip so I could see what I missed out.


Okay can we just start with the hotel -Hotel Cap Sim- because it's the cheapest place I've stayed in (£24 for two nights, including breakfast) with regards to the quality of it. The room was amazing and the lobby itself was so quintessentially Moroccan with the warm toned tiles, massive plants and patterned rugs. The rooftop itself was fully tiled with straw parasols and the view was so good,  I loved it. The city itself is quite small so you're essentially close to everything but this hotel is literally a few minutes away from the main square with all the cafes and restaurants. This was very useful after we went clubbing (it was my first time) and all I wanted to do was get back to the hotel and sleep after a long, long night of inhaling cigarette smoke, getting hit on by weird older men, paying extortionate prices for drinks and getting grabbed by my waist and pulled into a guy who I had smiled at earlier out of kindness and nothing else. Seriously, some people really take simple gestures way too far ha. 

Essaouira is a port town so fishing is the main trade there. My cousin and I briefly ventured out into the trading quarter and the amount of sea bass being flung into the air from seller to buyer actually mad. Just bare fish flying. There's a constant smell of salt water and sound of bellowing fishers will envelope you (your ears will be ringing by the time you're out)


My cousin (a fab photographer, might i add) let me borrow her 50mm lens for the photos above and I am in love with them. I never knew I was so fond of people watching but seriously, I might have to invest in this lens very soon. I like the different shades of blue in the first photo (overlooking where  some of Game of Thrones was filmed) where it's like a gradient of vibrancy and then the second photo seems like the man and seagull were in a heated staring contest in which bird trumps human. there goes my imagination again.


Despite solely eating falafel wraps throughout the whole two days (seriously, the guy memorised my order by the end of the trip) the city itself is literally full of vegetarian and vegan restaurants. Literally the most I've ever seen in a Moroccan city with so much choice in the dishes so my fellow plant based people, Essaouira is the place to go. The cafe pictured was my favourite place to go simply because the cream cakes were so cheap and tasted so good (no but seriously, I wish I could bulk buy and export them here) The place itself is such a cool environment with Bob Marley faintly playing in the background and hundreds of framed prints and paintings surrounding you.


Essaouira is known as the windy city so I took advantage of that and casually went and surfed for the first time. I'd like to put spontaneous decision that down to the confidence that my mediocre skateboarding and yoga skills gave me because without them, my balance would be subpar. If you ever get the chance to, surf. It's amazing and I'm so irritated I didn't take any photos during it but it's so exhilarating, the last thing I thought about was taking photos. Honestly my favourite thing ever and may be one of the reasons I applied to a coastal university (although I'm not sure how enjoyable it'd be in England ha)
So yeah. That's another travel post from Morocco done. When I came back to London I was so quick on compiling photos, starting to write them up but I took a moment to think. Instead of speedily trying to post them I thought I'd ration them out for when the days get tough and I want to reminisce on my summer and the comfort of being home. So here we are. With basically a day until my Oxford admissions test, which I feel woefully underprepared for, and literally 7 essays/past papers to complete by this week, I decided to seek refuge in my hazy summer memories and alas, here is the product of that. 

I hope you enjoyed this and the mini anecdotes that came with each photo. If you'd like to see more photos and stories from my summer then here's my summer in film post and also the time when I went to Chefchaoen (I wasn't joking about only visiting with weird names) 

-Dalal 

my summer in film

Thursday, 26 October 2017


A picnic in hyde park, early September.

I was dreading it mainly because I was trying to ignore the fact that I was going to have to go back to sixth form. Meeting with school friends would make me think of starting year 13 and then impending stress that was to come my way. You can tell how much I was dreading it, Ambra refused to go without me and forced me to "at least pretend I wanted to be there" I ended up having a good time in the end.

10/08/17 road to Chefchaoen 

the city itself is stunning with bright blue walls and crystal clear waterfalls, a bloggers heaven. But what I found so beautiful was the taxi ride there, the road there is basically on a series of mountains so you get winding lanes, greenery and extensive reservoirs of turquoise blue water. 

Mid-August, middle of the Strait of Gibraltar 

My sister and I took the disposable camera into the water to take some pictures. It was dusk and the sky was darkening whilst the sun was setting over the mountain in the West. We didn't know whether this photo would even work out, if we'd be completely out of shot or if it'd only capture one of our faces. After a 3 month wait, we discovered that it actually came out quite well. woo! 

Waiting for a taxi, another day in August

The thing with the North of Morocco is that it is so unbelievably mountainous. You will always see a mountain. It made mundane tasks like waiting to hail a taxi more enjoyable as you can just look up at a blue sky and these mountains. Let's pretend my finger in the corner is a light leak. 

28/8/17 Bank holiday weekend, Oxford

Straight after coming back to London after an amazing month in Morocco I went to the outskirts of Oxford with my dad and family. We've been staying in this massive stretch of land since I can remember, it's owned by some super rich people who my dad used to butler for. They've known me for my whole life. I always love going there, it's so secluded and peaceful. Being surrounded by acres of trees is so peaceful. The heated pool helps too ;)

10/8/17 Chefchaoen "The Blue Pearl of Morocco"

Quite ironic that I came here and took zero photos of the sheer blue-ness of the place on my disposable camera. Anyway, here's a view from our final spot. The palm trees are covering the massive waterfall below. We climbed down there (slippery rocks and freezing cold water are not a good mix) and had fresh orange juice. The oranges were floating in the water as a natural freezer and there were peacocks waltzing around.

Yet another August day, in the sea

I met this (very special) guy. We swam until dark everyday until we had to part ways. Turns out he lived across the Atlantic...

1/8/17 In Essaouira 

On the street of our hotel, holding my cousin and I's falafel wraps.  We had just come back from the beach after surfing, hence my dishevelled appearance, and were so hungry. My cousin said I looked so happy that this had to be my first photo on the camera. So I obliged. There was the sweetest black cat next to me which I was hoping would be in the shot. 

31/8/17 with my rock, near Canary Wharf

Whenever I see this guy he has something new going on in his life. And that makes me really happy because he deserves everything good in the world simply because he's so positive and lovable. We almost died on the river bank after the tide rose and were essentially stranded. He laughed whilst I was muttering prayers. The photo above is us, very happy because we managed to survive. A visit to the farm (literally opposite us, London is a weird place) calmed down the anxiety but dear Lord when the river started creeping up my life flashed before my eyes. 

So, that was my summer in analogue film. It was nice. A good month. It was very needed, a time to finally breathe and clear my head and meet with old friends. I loved being home in Morocco, it was such a comfort to be back somewhere which felt so familiar especially after spending the last year in a new sixth form surrounded by new people and studying new things. I tried new things that I wouldn't have ever thought I'd do: I cliff jumped, surfed, partied and explored more parts of the country. Despite crying on the plane home and on the tube back from Heathrow (my suitcase rolled down the whole carriage which made me cry even harder) my post holiday blues were quickly shut down by a 3 day trip to the country side. The weather was surprisingly good. My days here consisted of family meals, getting lost in the masses of trees, lazing around by the pool, making the most out of the hammock, brushing up on my tennis skills and hiking up hills. 

I've been waiting to write this and share my film photos for so long. I'm ready to look back on this post when I'm in the midst of revision. I can't wait to get another disposable and experiment with that. 

what's your favourite photo? 
hope you liked this! 

-love, Dalal 

man's not hot

Sunday, 22 October 2017












I'm currently snowed under with history revision, trying to make notes on the whole of the AS british period study course within a week. I already know that this half-term holiday is going to be everything but a holiday with biology exams, HAT practice and Spanish speaking prep all looming at the back of my mind. So I thought I'd throw it back to the beginning of September, a much simpler time where the stress of university applications and exams was only just starting to build up. My cousins were here from Morocco and I decided to take them around the area that I know best. There was a mini rave at the scoop so of course we hung out there before stumbling home a few hours later. I tried to make the most of the last "warm" days in the UK by braving bare legs, despite the fact I was wearing a turtle neck and north face jacket...you need to know the balance (shoutout if you got that reference)

Even though this week off is going to be filled with school work catchup (and inevitable failure in productivity) I've already started it off with a high note, meeting my nearest and dearest friends on Friday, making more plans for the week, going to the 'soul of a nation' exhibition at the Tate and scoring the ultimate bargain of 8 M&S sweet potato falafels for £1.20. I'm FINALLY going to get my disposable camera photos developed and scanned which I'm so excited about because I've been waiting for months to see the results of my frenzied summer snaps and documentations of the lethargic summer to autumn transition.

Anyway, I'm about to go out to explore the Bank area right now!

survivin' w/Betty Box

Sunday, 15 October 2017


Hazy memories of whole school assembly, after singing school hymns about refuge and solidarity, the headteacher makes an announcement telling the whole year 6 cohort to stay sat whilst everyone was dismissed. Confusion. and then it clicked. It was time. I remember getting handed a letter and seeing the word SEX and freezing in shock because how would I be able to hand that to my mum. A few years and many shitty sex ed lessons later, I'm here with what I can say is adequate knowledge on the matters, especially consent, rape and harassment. Primary school didn't teach me that. They told me that women bleed once a month and when a man and woman love each other a lot they have sex. They didn't tell me why we bleed or anything about other forms of sex. Not everyone is heterosexual. Primary school is such a 'sterile' environment and also a place for development, I know a lot of my friends who have come out to me said that they realised they were LGBTQ+ from primary school. So I find it strange that we weren't educated on how our fab rainbow counterparts have sex. Or how to deal with a situation when a member of the opposite or same sex makes you do something you don't want to do which is so necessary as a young child as there are some twisted people who will touch children inappropriately. Sexual education is so crucial within our society, I've found that youtube has taught me more about intercourse, puberty, STD's, consent and more than the national curriculum ever has. Female menstruation itself is such a taboo topic, my GCSE biology lessons on the menstruation cycle were often met with a) awkwardness as my teacher was male and b) very immature comments by the few boys in my class. I just find it strange that something so human is swept under the carpet. I digress.

I was sent an email by Betty Box asking if I would like to receive their September box. The company is a very body positive monthly subscription box which is tailored to your periods so you can get a few necessities and extras to get you through it. I never thought receiving a pastel highlighter through the post would make me so happy but there we go. I checked out their website (it's all very bright and colourful so it's very approachable) and looked at how it all works. I picked out my box type which can either be full of pads, tampons or mixed, my preferred absorbency, the brand (Bodyform or Always) and then the date you would like it to be delivered in accordance with your natural cycle. It's all very straightforward and honestly, when it arrived I was buzzing.

First of all, I thought that they would only send 3-5 pads but oh gosh was I wrong. I think I got around 20 which was such a pleasant surprise and so thoughtful of them considering how expensive they are. Everything comes in little pouches and patterned cardboard boxes which I find is so cute and makes it so much more personal and again, so approachable for younger girls. September's box was based around back to school so the stabilo pastel highlighter and adorably patterned post it notes were very welcome. Those who know me will be aware of my very bad habit of writing on my hands and arms because I can never reach my planner in time before I forget something. I always use the standard neon ones to study, I usually take notes regularly and then to condense it all and make sure I've grasped the concept of something like the Krebs Cycle in bio, I'll quickly write/sketch it out on a post it so I know that I fully understand it. Slightly extra but so useful. Can you tell I'm a huge post it note fanatic?

My friend Olivia is basically my stationary crush, she has all the pastel highlighters and as irrelevant as they are to me, I really wanted to buy myself a pack. Then this box came through the post and I saw that they had included one in it and trust me, the peach coloured one can make something as boring as the 2013 oxford HAT paper look good.

They also included a few snacks and products for wellbeing, I obviously ate the salted caramel popcorn and two of the truffles before I photographed them but o m g they were so good. I'm yet to try out the t-zone charcoal and bamboo pore strips or the chirp body hair mask but shall keep you updated on my instagram. I received the trust fund nail polish in 'omg dying' which is a sand-taupe 100% vegan and cruelty free polish. I looked into the brand and they follow the 10-free rule to try and produce the most ethical and cruelty free products! There was a bubble t lip balm in the 'Moroccan mint tea' scent which fits me to a t ;) it lives at the bottom of my school bag and the macaroon shape is surprisingly ergonomic. Last is an iron-on patch which I am yet to find a permanent home. I am one of those people who firmly believe in the evil eye, karma and all of that good stuff so to have something on me at all times alongside my evil eye earrings is more than welcome.

Although I was sent this box for review purposes, I can say that it is definitely worth the money for the sheer amount of product you get for the £12.99 price tag. There's a really online community on their website with articles from tackling FOMO to mental health so if the box isn't for you, the website itself might be.

Thank you to Betty Box for letting me try out your service and valuing my experiences so much. You find them here and their social medias are all under @bettycollective.

-dalal

what i've been...

Wednesday, 11 October 2017

what i've been doing-
Applying to university and trying not to cry at the confusion and aimlessness of everything that's happening. I don't even think I want to apply to half the places I have but time is slipping away from me as we speak and my application will be formally sent off this friday so it's too late. I've had to stay in school until the evening for oxford preparation for entrance exams and personal statement UCAS stuff. I haven't had a time to breathe. It's university stuff, homework and then extra reading whilst trying (and failing) to make time for yourself because priorities. I still have a blog post to write for a company and a blogging event to attend and everything is snowballing to even bigger inconveniences in my life. c'est la vie, bah ouais?

what i've been reading/watching-
A shit ton of historic books...some include A day in the life of Ivan Denisovich, A very short introduction to the Russian Revolution, The Night Malcolm X Spoke at the Oxford Union and some Spanish books like 100 Years of Solitude. I've been getting home at 6-7pm everyday because of uni applications and HAT practice so I never really have time to watch anything anymore...I have to say that watching those strange Good Morning interviews with Holly Willoughby and Phillip Schofield have had me hooked. I can spend 2 hours watching them from super inspirational ones to others about auctioning your virginity for millions without actually looking into the safety and health threats of it. I love those episodes where it's just the two of them laughing, definitely averts the stress and flashing signs in my mind. 

what i've been listening to-
The Neighbourhood released their new EP so I've been listening to that, I love 24/7 the most. Kendrick Lamar's album has been on ever since it was released, it was the only album I had on my phone (low storage struggles) and I often found myself without wifi or data when I was in Morocco so I would settle on banging out DAMN. for a few hours to entertain myself. I've found Jorja Smith's music too, a few faves are On My Mind, Teenage Fantasy, Blue Lights and Where Did I go. And to remind myself of the time I nearly moved to Amsterdam (for forever ever) I've been bumping Alright by Leafs ft Yung Nnelg. I also frequently listen to Hindi Zahra's Beautiful Tango because it reminds me of Morocco and summer. Navajo by Masego is a tune as well. I feel like it's describing me..."everywhere this little girl goes she picks up another obstacle."

what i want-
A pair of vagabond dioon boots and some peace of mind lol. I originally bought the nubuck version but they just don't look a nice as the smooth leather version. It sucks that Office doesn't stock the non-animal ones but what can you do :( But yes. I need them. They look perfect for the coming season.

what i've been anticipating-
Anticipated to me sounds as if I'm waiting for something good. Well I'm not. I don't think I have anything to look forward to other than stressful exams, an entrance exam, possible academic interview and more mental instability. If I can't be depressed on my own site then where else can I? I have planned some things for this summer and will be going to Berlin this march but again, nothing is really exciting me anymore...maybe I've slipped even more.

let me know what you've been up to in the comments!
-dalal

indecisiveness

Thursday, 21 September 2017


My life has been plagued by indecisiveness.

The innocent tough decision between strawberry or chocolate ice-cream or whether my favourite dog was a Labrador or a Labradoodle have followed me from childhood into late teenage hood. And whilst the typical inability to not decide on something has been fairly common, mine takes over me. See the thing is, my indecisive nature is in a symbiotic relationship with my anxiousness.

I have to make a decision. I make it. I then think about the other option. So I switch to that. I then begin to question whether that is right. I realise it's not. And then I begin to lose control and spiral into a panicked mess who is now struggling to find her steady breathing pace and normalise her heart beat.

Something as simple as having to give an answer in class can trigger this. The silence. The whirring of the central heating system. The humming of the interactive board. My heart race quicken and I begin to sweat as I gain consciousness of what's happening right now. I say the answer, it is correct and then we move on. But I haven't. Because my heart rate is far from being quelled. It sounds dramatic, I know. 

And then it goes to something more austere. Something with more long term, impactful decisions: like deciding what course I want to do at university. I am so easily swayed. I want to apply for History. Wait no, what if I don't like History alone- maybe I should dilute it with History and Spanish? But I want to go into diplomacy so perhaps History and Politics is more suitable. Actually...Biology is pretty fun. no no no let's not move from arts to sciences, come on dalal. Earlier today my good friend and ex-English lit buddy, Aina, told me she could see me going to UAL to study fashion and then progress into the industry which subsequently then that sent my brain working overtime because HELLO I actually think I can do well in that too. And then I start to question whether I should even apply to university this year. I don't want to commit myself to a three year time period, whilst racking up a dizzying debt for me to realise that all I ever wanted to do was study biology at uni and not history. I don't like the feeling of being wrong and not having the ability to change it.

So now we're sat here at 9:01pm. I still need to catch up and consolidate my notes on respiration and photosynthesis but I am being very optimistic in convincing myself that I'll do that in my frees tomorrow morning. The last week alone gave me no me-time, every day after school is filled with Oxford preparation sessions I have not had a moment to breathe. And the same entails for this week, and the next week and the next until December.

je suis déjà fatigué. 

to those applying to university this year or don't know what they want to study yet- I feel you and I wish you the best of luck.

-dalal

ambiguity around blogging

Friday, 15 September 2017

so, blogging. it's a weird one. does one stick to what they know, rambling on about the new Rimmel lipstick releases or their new autumn coat? or does one take an alternate route? is saying my blog's a fashion and beauty one somewhat less valuable, or even taken less seriously than say, a blog focussing on mental health or social issues? who even classifies the value of a blog? oh wait, stupid I asked that because it seems to me that SEO, DA and visibility are the main judges. if your blog is able to surpass the loopholes and please a search engine, you're instantly a success. I understand. blogging is difficult and we want it to pay off. see what I did there? we enhance and preen our blogs, something that should be effortless and authentic to you, in order for it to be worth more. because the more people that see your site, the more marketable you are. you are reduces to nothing but a money-maker. you have the potential to promote something and actually have someone buy it because of you. and again, I digress. we try to monetise our blogs as much as possible. "reparations" they call it, "compensation" they address it, "restitution" they say. and fair enough. running a blog is hard, I should know. but it shouldn't be. let's rewind to 2011 when blogging was more laid-back. you would write the post, snap a picture with your iPod touch and press upload and hope someone will see it. simple, no? so what changed. what got lost between then and now? what has made blogging more of a drag or a chore that we didn't see before when we'd gleefully type. I know. it's the endless promotion and the constant need to maintain multiple social media channels as if we're some massive multi-media company. trying to get our posts out there. because surely if we've spent all that time photographing, editing, writing and editing even more, we should profit out of it. the gap between then and today's modern view of blogging is the line between hobby and business that has completely blurred and tarnished. people start blogs with the intention of earning money. people with blogs start changing their content so it can earn them more money. not because they've had a sudden "change of heart" as soon as they see Urban Decay PR's sending out palettes to those with a niche that they are yet to adopt. oh no, that's absurd. do you know what? fine- maybe some people do genuinely enjoy producing content with glossy editorial photos or airy flat-lays. and maybe they don't only do it because they know that it's what's most desirable right now. fuck, sometimes I want to share an outfit post or my new eyeshadow palette because that's content I know people will read. I mean, who's going to read a 17 year old's post about how our genetics as a human race has led to our selfishness. or how time is just a concept. that is not what is wanted right now. perhaps I'm just salty that my content doesn't hit 1k page views within 3 hours of publishing it. or that massive brands don't send me vaults of their newest releases. or that I have to promote a post for 4 days straight for it to reach 300 views. but, dare I say it, I'm proud of my blog, regardless. because I know my blog has the power to help and educate someone as well as (somewhat) amuse them. and for me, that is my personal aim. I'm reading this post over, highlighting the disparity between my points and how much it may anger some because some things I've mentioned are not completely explained. but that's the beauty of writing. what I've said is up to interpretation. take it how you want. freedom of speech.

debate with me in the comments, please
-dalal

Chefchaouen

Wednesday, 6 September 2017


the original basket bag 
I'm back in London, much to my despair, so I can finally round up all the photos I took and produce blog posts out of them. If I put it all into one big post, it would take forever therefore I'm splitting it into a few so it's a little more digestible. Without further ado, here is the first instalment from the day I visited Chefchaouen, the 'blue pearl' of Morocco. Like many others, I no longer want to take the superficial route of uploading a few pictures, wacking a few lines about how it was so "pretty" and "instagrammable" but actually share a story/stories of how the trip went down. So here goes.

We got there after the strangest taxi journey ever, winding down narrow roads on mountains and watching stray goats and donkeys leisurely strolling along the motorway. The journey was pretty amazing though, watching the mountains, foliage (so. much. green.) and massive turquoise lakes as you speed past at 100mph with the windows down is definitely something else.


I want to get straight into talking about how brilliantly blue everything was and how the lanes with huge spider plants were simply breathtaking because everything in my life totally goes to plan but as soon as we got there it was basically a mad toilet hunt. Because when your two choices are to either forcibly down 2 litres of water or face the risk of heatstroke, sometime you have to make rational decisions. Only bad thing was every single toilet we came across was the traditional Moroccan one which is impossible to use if you haven't been brought up there. Thankfully this old guy who owned a school for orphans let us use the facility. I took down his email for future work experience reference :)

Walk straight down this one and you find the place I more or less got forced into buying a pair of knock-off Rayban's which are basically a fifth limb now. It did only cost £2.30 so I am slightly glad the shop owner did continuously scream "these will suit your face" "they'll look wonderful, just like American celebrities" "I shipped these specially from Spain" whilst I walked past the stall- you have now unknowingly kick started a sunglasses obsession I never knew I could hone.

As a new found cat lover, spending over a month in Morocco truly let me catch up on all those years I could've wasted invested time cooing over them. Like right near this fabric shop in which I unwillingly caused slight damage through a medium (the cat.) Long story short, it tried to jump into my arms *cute* but somehow forgot to retract its claws (do cats even retract them) and pulled multiple threads loose. Quickly picked up the cat and walked-jogged away before I would be met by the wrath of the shop keeper who could've used that rug to scam eager European tourists. ah that reminds me...more on that later.

So here we have a mountain where gallons of ice cold water run down and fill up this strange open space in which you have to climb down rocks to get to. It sounds hard. it was. Picture this: slippery rocks, holding your shoes and socks in one hand, your phone in the other and a steep decline. Now picture me: lanky, unexperienced and lightheaded because of the heat. The result? Me climbing down a few rocks, gaining temporary confidence thinking I'm the next extreme sportswoman of the year and then being humbled within the next second with what could've been the dirtiest slip of all. I do love the universe. It was worth it in the end as the waterfall beneath was everything I could've imagined and there were peacocks casually wondering around and fresh orange juice stalls slightly submerged in the water whilst the actual oranges were floating in the lake to keep them cold. Moroccan innovation at its finest.

Back to the scam story I had alluded to a few photos up. oh yeah, that's a donkey in the middle of the street- it's Morocco. Here we met the loveliest woman from New York who told us all about how she had spent thousands of dirhams on rugs and blankets earlier that month whilst she was in Rabat and then complimented us on our English when we helped to form a linguistic buffer between her and the shop keeper. Whilst the shop keeper refused to sell her the rug for 300 dirhams, my mum and I would jokingly tell the owner to just let her whilst he sweated it out thinking about the potential loss of profit.

I'm not even going to pretend this piece of art work has any significance to this post at all. I just thought the composition of the photo was cool. Sometimes be simplistic.

So this could've been my favourite photo of the day if those that kid and his dad weren't in it but I couldn't wait until they left otherwise the two ladies in the amazing niqab's would've passed by then. There's something so interesting about the contrast between the light, airy blue steps and the sharp blackness of their religious dress. They look so badass. I wish I spoke to them.

I present the place where I almost had a break down because *behold the most first world problem you'll ever hear* no one could take a proper picture of me for instagram. yeah. No matter how educated and composed I may come across on my blog, at the end of the day I'm still a teenager living in the age of  pathetic but perfectly-preened-yet-candid social media expectations.



I have nothing to say about the photos above other than the fact that I now want to buy some of that powdered blue paint they were selling on the street and paint all my belongings with it in the hope that it'll brighten up my dreary surroundings here in London. House plants would also be a good addition.


To me, these two photos represent Morocco pretty well. We're an artistic country with a great, rich history and it reflected in our craft. Whether that be through masses of fabric, leather goods, embroidered slippers or carved metals. We can make things as basic as a tray look like an art piece.

I took the first photo and then realised the guy had more or less ruined the shot so, naturally, I retook it. The original is still my favourite though. Do you ever wonder how many photos you're in unintentionally? Living in London, I think about it all the time- especially when I'm in the tourist spots. So I started thinking whether this guy would give two shits or not. Zoomed in and boom, massive phlegm in a parabola in the air. conclusion: *whispers* I don't think he cares

I've been anticipating writing this post since I boarded the taxi back from Chefchaouen (which I think I can finally spell woo!) I loved this day- just walking around and exploring and drinking water from the fresh water taps distributed across the streets (it definitely helps that they're so prettily decorated) The plaques about almost every street and its history was such an interesting touch and I love how they were in the all 3 languages I am learning. it's the little things. I'll be back with the next post soon for more Morocco blues *see what I did there*

with love, Dalal