Tuesday, 9 July 2019

Books that shaped my life


From a young age, I was always yanking my mum along to our small local library, because I was forever losing my library card; which in return meant mum's card was needed to snag myself some good reads. The tall standing aisles and shelves overshadowing me whilst I lose myself overwhelmed by the many choices of books I could possibly read. Hiding away reading the blurbs or in all honesty a few chapters, lost in another dimension or illusion that the author had created in these non-fiction stories. Hearing the faint sound of my mum yelling for me which unfortunately ushers me back to the sheer reality of me sat in the library corner, surrounded by the many books I have already flicked through and finding them a potential temporary new home. Temporary? Yeah about that.. That's if I ever managed to get myself to the library with my stack load of books, I had idly waiting in my bedroom for months waiting to be returned.






Though that was the thing I absolutely and utterly admired books! I lived and breathed them from the age of 8-9 and here I am writing up a piece on my admiration for books (love never dies). My first faint memory of reading was definitely the Roald Dahl books, particular favourites being 'The witches' and 'The Twits'. What I treasured the most about reading was the arrant fact that my imagination could scarper wild, which coincides with my love for art (maybe another post suited on this specific topic in the future ay). Growing older my introverted ways remained in a sense and I found it wholly exhausting interacting and would most likely shy away. Not that much has changed there in this instance but I have definitely improved massively to some extent. Replacing what should have been interaction with other children I always found myself swaying more towards books. To some degree I considered books to be friends and reading being my world too freely be myself.





Of course phasing through teenage years the standard of books being read had to mature some what, this is where romance really creaked it's way through.
You remember Twilight and Harry Potter right? Yes both of which landed in my teenage era. I was complete and outright obsessed with them both. I would go far as enough to say I would stay up  sitting upright, hiding under my duvets once dad had shouted 'lights out!" My flash torch would switch on and either Twilight or Harry Potter would be whipped out. Reading in to the early mornings disregarding entirely the fact I had school the next morning.. a rebel I was indeed! Possibly the reason  for low performance in school at the time but do I regret.. no not at all.




As my years matured and I made the transition from High school, college and then University, the genres being read evolved with time too. Which is what gives books this remarkable and unique sensation to them, to some extent magical. Depicting a reflection of your mind and soul in that present moment, whilst you evolve as an individual so does your interests in what you read and feel you can resonate with. Speaking on the topic of 'mature novelty' I would be lying if I did say I didn't give '50 Shades of Grey' a little peak, which quickly lost its appeal to me.. not for the faint hearted maybe? However, sadly as you do transition into what they call 'adulthood' your time for reading lessens, which happened in my case anyways.



When graduating from University, with absolute no apprehension of where life is going to take me, or what to do with my life in this instance. I was completely and utterly lost. Experiencing what felt like a mid life crisis, yet mid life was way to far to comprehend and in technicality my life had just started. I was going through the turmoil of heartbreak, health issues, career confusion and the list could go on. In all this despair I began to direct towards my good old friends, books.
However, the genre of books took a complete turn and I journeyed on the path of 'self-improvement' books. I knew in all of this despondency I, myself had to find a way out of it. So that's what I did, I began with me. Reading through numerous of books that could improve my social skills, thinking and reasoning skills, character building, increasing confidence and most importantly how to self love.

Overall, shaping me into the person I am today, of course with extraneous factors playing a role too, but this was my starting point for my journey of reevaluating who I was.




The first ever self-improvement books I laid hands on was called 'Don't sweat the small stuff' by Richard Carlson and 'How to win friends and Influence people' by Dale Carnegie. This really opened up the world of venturing into different avenues of book topics, that could assist with growth in learning and awareness of not just myself but of the environment around me.

My admiration of books has only ever grown over these coarse years, but in this present moment it has been ingrained into my routine and more so my lifestyle. Even if my day or week schedule seems hectic no matter the circumstances a 15 minute read will be programmed in. Its my sense of relief. My peace. Forever grateful I am able to incorporate such a powerful tool into my life. Most significantly, grateful that it has helped me over the years to grow as an individual and it will continue to do so.

Seeking knowledge will always be the key.








I have noted the list of my favourite books below.

1. 'Don't sweat the small stuff' by Richard Carlson

2. 'How to win friends and Influence people' by Dale Carnegie

3. 'The Subtle art of not giving a f*ck' by Mark Manson

4. 'Manifest now' by Idil Ahmed

5. 'The power of now' by Eckhart Tolle

6. 'How to stop worrying and start living' by Dale Carnegie

7. 'The Alchemist' by Paulo Coelho

8. 'You are a badass' by Jen Sincero

9. 'Love & Misadventure' by Lang Leav



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Wednesday, 15 May 2019

AD| A white summer with GAP


The sun is gleaming with clear blue skies, the birds are out singing, the charming and exquisite flowers are blooming, the smell of freshly cut grass, the delightful sight of the ice cream van with a queue longer than a ribbon, the buzzing sound of bees that whizz right past your ears you start to smack yourself silly (guilty!) and most importantly the need for a coat is no longer of existence. Yes that's right! That my friend is the pure bliss of SUMMER.


Though, the ultimate question when summer arrives for us is 'what do I wear?!'
The steady transition from winter wardrobe to summer slowly creeps upon us and the rush for those staple and trendy pieces in our wardrobe begins.
Not to fret! I recently visited the GAP store in Manchester Arndale to peep their new 'Summer White' collection. It's an understatement that white is irrefutably the colour of summer, when better to wear white right? Where the forecast is in your favour and the possibility of a rain down to ruin your clean precious whites is little to none.

A little assistance from GAP I was able to pick a few pieces to really invent my own white summer collection. A wide variety to select from such as; denims, jackets, linen, shirts, tops, dungarees, dresses and much more. Undeniably difficult to pick a few favourites as I drifted to almost everything and insisted on taking them all home. However, after trying on the pieces I left with the items I knew I would wear repeatedly throughout summer and that would be suitable for when planning a trip abroad.


WHITE DUNGAREES







I automatically gravitated towards the dungarees as I have been on the hunt for the perfect pair in white. Straight leg and the ideal length was the style I was after and fit like a dream. Dungarees always speaks summer to me but more so in the wash colour white. Admirably versatile with endless possibilities to style them, reflecting a very edgy and urban energy. Keeping to the edgy and chic vibes I paired the dungarees with a plain cotton white long sleeve top, trainers, straw bag and a few accessories (layered necklaces). Remaining modest but requires little to no effort and certainly will keep you cool in those warmer temperatures.









WHITE DOUBLE DENIM














What better than double denim when dressing for summer, even more so in the colour white! GAP offered such a diverse range of white denim jeans, however I favoured these wide leg jeans slightly more. Wide leg jeans increasingly on the rise in the trend radar, definitely something to venture into for summer, especially for modest dressers.
Keeping to the double denim fit, I opted for a cropped denim jacket which complimented one another profoundly. My utmost favourite concept behind double denim is the innumerable possibilities of styling both pieces together and separately.
I found that both the jeans and jacket to be super flexible separately as well as paired together. Assuredly a great start off point for a reinvented summer wardrobe and GAP being the place for it!








Items mentioned are available in store and online GAP. 


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Monday, 22 April 2019

Love & the hunt for Prince Charming (SPOILER ALERT! He doesn't exist unfortunately)



Mainly derived from a young muslim woman finding a suitor is well... merely impossible in some aspects. You scroll on your explore page on instagram or your feed and stumble upon what seems like the entire world is either; getting engaged, married or popping out babies. Whilst you idly sit in bed, (as you have been for the last week or so) days flying by watching your favourite Netflix series and munching on your second packet of flaming hot Cheetos of the day. Then all of a sudden during that transition of the next episode playing you see your; hot-mess Cheetos munching ass reflection staring back at you in the blank screen.. the thought of 'what the f*%** is my life' strikes you yet again.

Yes been there...!

Okay slight exaggeration (and I told you, it's getting a tad wild these days!) speaking from my own experiences and background, marriage was the only purpose for a young girl growing up. As much as my parents encouraged myself to educate and grow in knowledge, it was somewhat for the reason of.. marriage. Which I myself, do not entirely frown upon the idea undisputedly, albeit the love for myself and acknowledging who I am as an individual should have been priority. Principally, if you're going to distribute parts of yourself to your partner; energy, time and the most vulnerable aspects of you. Then shouldn't it be so when you're extensively aware of who YOU are, confident with both your imperfections and perfections? How can you possibly love if you don't cherish that within yourself?



Never taught this during my upbringing, and in no way do I hold my parents responsible for it either. Maybe missing a few pointers, though they did indoctrinate the most essential fundamental of all. To love and how to love. 
My parents love and infatuation with one another assisted in my comprehension of love and being in love possible. In fact, my love and idea of romanticism always directed me towards the unrealistic perception that is portrayed in these Disney movies, films/tv programmes and music from such a young age. Merely because I knew in some form or another love and being in love prevailed, right before my eyes I would witness it amongst my parents.
Like you do when you ten years of age switching on good ol'Cinderella hoping one day "Prince Charming" comes along and to put it in simpler terms.. the shoe fits.. well, your foot. What they disregarded is that it's a whole load of horse shit. Love isn't that easy, f*** finding Prince Charming is more so impracticable. It's unattainable because nevertheless love does exist, prince charming on the other foot (ay the irony!) does not. What does exist you may ask? The RIGHT PERSON FOR YOU. I believe incredibly that there is no such thing as perfect; it's wrong to expect perfect from an individual, when you don't even attain the same level of standards yourself.

What does subsist is the right person for you. The way you both gel and compliment one another.




Inadvertently in search, through hope and despair, I ended up finding out the hard way that "Prince Charming" was a load of shite. Whilst experiencing the pain of what felt like an unbreathable, heart wrenching and soul crushing heartbreak a few years a go, it made me reconsider my apprehension on love and marriage entirely. Continuously back and forth on the idea of it, what I was completely missing at the time was I needed to reinstate and establish that love and time into myself.

I was searching for the wrong thing this entire time, in actuality I shouldn't have been seeking to begin with. 



Growing up in a Pakistani household, there is this immense cultural pressure to be married by a certain time or age- the younger the better. As if us women have an expiration date stamped on the back of our necks. A day pass the date, you're going to be sitting on the shelf gathering dust because you're of no interest.
The thought that women were only worthy of marriage and love up until a certain age was infuriating to me. What's not told or shared is that love has no date and neither should marriage. The adversity for a young muslim woman (Pakistani to add) to find the right person and marriage as a whole is increasingly difficult. It's not already exhausting enough to find the right person for you to spend the rest of your life with, then the weight of culture and society plays it's role too.
You're repeatedly told from a young age that boys are not in the equation, as soon as you hit nineteen an age where life truly begins, the auntie-ji's are questioning where the potential husband is hiding. If there is no potential, then they rally up their own; sons, nephews, cousins, the neighbours brother's best friend and the list goes on... In all honesty auntie I am good where I am.


Twenty-four an age where you're nearing to the expiration date, I am constantly asked where Mr. right is lingering. Majority of my friends either married or engaged, makes the questions even more difficult to escape. Slithering away, hiding behind whatever object lies ahead, when an auntie or family friend locks eyes with you because you know what the ultimate nosy ass question they really want to ask.
More often than so, I am forever rambling to my friends about how difficult and complicated it is, to meet the right one these days. Out of slight annoyance of hearing myself babble on about this particular topic for the 100th time, they'll suggest the whole "why don't you try out those marriage events?" I raise an eyebrow at the thought of it, not that there is anything wrong with the concept however, I never thought I ever had to consider finding my partner at a marriage event. My hopeless romantic sorry ass self always romanticised the way I would meet the "one". You know... you both conveniently bump into one another whilst in a supermarket. Whatever was in hand falls to the ground, you both go down to pick it up and in that moment you lock eyes, feeling an instant gravitation towards one another which lights a spark... haha damn I really do live in fairy land!




In all honesty, there is nothing wrong with marriage events or even dating sites for that matter, if anything it seems sensible because you're cutting out the crap and just getting to the point. Will I ever attend one... it's questionable.



For now, I solely believe that the right person is most definitely out there for me, time is the essence, with time he'll make his appearance. There shouldn't be a rush for such decisions, at the end of the day to commit to someone for the rest of your life is not something to be taken lightly. To share you wholeheartedly, bare and open is something so beautiful, which not some average person should be able to attain. Finding that someone who understands that vulnerability and delicacy should be a major considerable asset.
During this period, focussing on oneself and reflecting on my own core beliefs, values and energy is my main priority. I know when that person does find his way towards me, I have an immense amount of love to give but for now I'll invest and project my love towards me and my loved ones. As always.



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