Everyone’s got different needs in general day-to-day life, and whilst travelling those needs tend to be magnified to a million and one [for some]. The need for a fluffy pillow, a shower in only the most pristine of conditions, carpeted flooring, a closet with hangers, and whatever other comforts of home aren’t necessarily going to be givens once you leave (def available if that’s what you’re after so by all means you do you, but this post isn’t about that!).

Depending on where and why you’re jetting off, you’ve almost always got somewhat of an idea of what you’d like to spend a chunk of your budget on. Tours, all-inclusive resorts to just chill and never leave the premises, food, a concert or event you’ve flown in for, shopping, sightseeing etc. etc. you get the point lol

I personally enjoy spending my travel budget on doing stuff as opposed to where I lay my head at night, again, depending on where in the world I’ve headed. As long as I’ve got a bed to sleep in and a bathroom in decent condition (okay hot water too lol) I tend to be alright! Don’t get me wrong though, I have and do stay at hotels and can def be about that fluffy pillow life at times lol but there are alternatives out there which are just as good at a fraction of the price.

I was in London a couple weeks ago, stayed in a hostel (@astorhostels), and asked you guys on instagram if you had any questions/concerns about the hostel life because I’m aware it isn’t always the preferred type of accommodation for some; especially if you’re a solo female [Muslim] traveler. Last time I was in town I stayed a lovely hotel which I was tempted to return to, but thought we’d go a different route this time around.

Before we get into some of those questions,, some of you might be thinking “what is a hostel?” Prior to my experience, I was always under the impression of them being this dingy establishment of cramped bunkbeds situated either in the heart of a busy city or the outskirts of town, filled with backpackers who couldn’t afford to stay anyplace else, no food, maybe a dirty bathroom *insert idunno emoji here*

BUT a few years ago my lovely younger sister changed my entire perception after we stayed in a hostel in Kyoto, Japan. She had been staying in them for a while at this point whilst touring around the country and I always scoffed at the thought lol but was slightly jealous of how she could afford to stay at a different place every couple nights. I remember first entering the building and thinking ‘Saira are you dumb? This is so freaking cool! Why haven’t you done this before?!’ (she said I had better credit here so there’s that)

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credit: @abbasspace

SO! What is a hostel exactly?

A hostel is essentially a budget-friendlier version of a hotel; envision a smaller hotel with dorm-like vibes. They aim to provide more of a social and shared travel experience via an alternative accommodation space, again, at a fraction of the price of a hotel. Because they’re catered to travelers and tourists alike, their locations are blady wicked! Almost always in close proximity to main transport systems, tourist sites and attractions, local munch spots etc., they allow for the best and easiest accessibility to anything and everything you’d want to explore whilst in town.

sidetone: yes you can roll up with luggage and not just a backpack lol some have lifts which help, some don’t, but you’ll survive!

Do you usually travel alone?

Yes and I love it! Either alone or with a friend or two, but mostly solo! Travelling on your own allows you to get to know yourself, the good and bad, and truly adds perspective to life in terms of how miniscule certain things, and even you, are in this world, reiterating the idea of living your best life and being true to yourself.

Your first solo trip is always going to be daunting and scary and you being super self-conscious of the world and everyone ‘watching’ you, but it’s just you in your own head lol the world can either be a beautiful place full of love and hope or a big bad scary monster out to get you; you ultimately decide which one it is. Every place, every country and experience is truly what you make of it; I’d always recommend going in with an open mind and open heart and being conscious of the fact that whilst this may not be your ‘normal’ or reality, it is for many others and to be mindful and respectful of that. (side note: would you be interested in a separate post on solo travel itself? tips etc?! let me know in the comments!)

Do you feel safe in hostels with belongings there?

Yes. I’ve got mini locks for my case(s) which I use sometimes, and many hostels also have a safe which they can lock away any valuables for you. You’ve often got to put down a refundable deposit ($5 or something small) but it gives you peace of mind if you’re worried about someone taking something. Depending on the room you’re in, everyone’s got their designated ‘space’ to keep their things and only those people assigned to that room have access via a key card (just like a hotel) so you don’t have to worry about someone from another room or floor snooping.

 Are hostels mixed? Are there female only dorms?

Yes, and yes! The hostel itself is mixed, I don’t think I’ve ever come across a female-only hostel, but the room you choose to stay in is up to you. Rooms are either all-female, all-male, mixed, or some also have the option for private rooms which is an entire room to yourself! Depending on the hostel, some rooms have bathrooms (with showers) in the rooms, some have them outside in the hallway which are communal (could be mixed). Rooms themselves could consist of 4-beds or more; in Japan my sister and I were in a private room with a shared bathroom, and after she left I switched to a 4-bed. In London I stayed in a 10-bed with a bathroom inside, Athens was a 4-bed with bathroom inside, so it all just depends on the place itself!

 

Cleanliness? How clean are the facilities especially if they are communal?

In my experience the hostels themselves have been pretty clean; just like in a hotel there’s ‘room service’ mostly to tidy up the bathroom. The one thing no ones really got control of though is the cleanliness of fellow travelers which might be kinda gross sometimes lol cleaning the sink and countertop once you’re done with it, or not leaving smelly socks/shoes out in the open are common courtesies you’d presume to be normalcies… but nah lol clean up after yourself because that’s how your mamas raised you, and hope the person before you has also done the same! If you’re quite anal about germs etc. you can always pack disinfecting wipes or something of the sort (my mama loves Lysol wipes haha) but they’ll get the job done.

What is your experience staying in a hostel as a female/Muslim/hijabi? (I always imagine myself sleeping in a room full of intoxicated people.!)

 My experience has been great so far! I’ve personally never allowed those ‘labels’ to define nor restrict me from doing certain things and so I don’t think you should either, but I definitely understand where you’re coming from x

As a female, sorted, you’ve got the option to choose an all-female dorm if that makes you more comfortable. As a Muslim, same thing lol stay in whatever dorm you feel more comfortable , pray in your room or the commons area, or you can always ask reception if they’ve got a private room you could use for 5 mins which I’m sure wouldn’t be an issue. As a hijabi, if you don’t want to say hi or smile or engage in conversation with me because you’ve already made presumptions of what I’m like based on what’s on my head, that’s on you and I’m not too bothered lol but like anything else if you make the first move ie. introduce yourself to your roommates or start chatting to people asking where they’re coming from, plans for the city etc. you’ll naturally find something to bond over regardless because you’re all technically at the hostel for a similar reason (travelling, stop over, touristing, taking a month off life etc.)

Regardless of the communication stuff haha er well as a ‘hijabi‘ if you don’t want to go to pub night at the hostel, don’t go; this is that whole making life choices thing again init and I get that wearing and/or being in hijab presumes this restriction upon what you can and can’t do, but everyone’s got different values and deems more importance upon some things than others, so just like you get by in everyday life in terms of what you consider ‘permissible’ in accordance to your beliefs, you’d just do the same I suppose!

Can you sleep without hijab, is it safe?

Yes you can; again whatever makes you feel comfortable. I tend to stay in female dorms so it comes off once I enter the premises and of course when I sleep lol and then walking around the hostel or in commons doing work etc. I either throw on a hoodie or hijab it and it’s all good!

Do you have to share a room with strangers?

If you’re travelling alone, yes, unless you opt for one of the private rooms. If you travel with a group of friends etc. you can always just choose the same room so you’ll at least end up together in a room with strangers lol

 

Where can I find hostels?

I’ve only ever used hostelworld, hostels.com, and hostelbookers ; they’re legitimate, reliable, and have a massive range of places to choose from. Just like when you go to book a hotel, you’ve got ratings to look at, comments/feedback, photos etc. to help make your decision easier. I tend to look at the ratings and location; how close they are to public transport and town centers. Being close to transport helps in terms of going to/from the airport as well because you can often make your own way instead of getting jipped by airport taxis!

*Amenities etc.

 Most hostels offer laundry services either on or off the premises, and if you’re in desperate need of an iron you can always ask. In Athens I was taken to the basement to use the iron in the laundry room which obviously isn’t room service, but it got the job done and I wasn’t fussed in the slightest! Breakfast is also available at times; either there’s a café or shop of some sort, or recently in London Astor Hyde Park had a cool initiative where breakfast was only 1pound and all funds were donated to charity. If you follow me you know food isn’t a massive priority during my travels so I tend to skip out on brekky wherever I’m staying and grab-n-go whilst I’m out exploring!

Wifi and outlets are also a standard. If you’re in need of a travel adapter you can grab one from reception (often at the cost of a refundable deposit which is cool). Same with towels (I’d suggest bring your own though just because..!)

Hostels almost always have events going on at the space itself which is wicked and a great way to meet people as well. Movie nights, free walking tours etc. and there’s always a plethora of posters posted on the walls about things to do (just like at uni!) If you’re interested in booking tours etc. as well, your hostel can also assist with that sometimes or even have a discounted rate as you’re staying with them; some might also have affiliations with local restaurants which grants you a percentage off your meal which #nocomplaints !

I stayed at the Astor Hyde Park during my time in London and I loved it! So close to Hyde Park and literally the most perfect location in the ‘Royal Borough of Chelsea and Kensington’, an area I had never explored before whilst in London which I loved. 10 minute walk to the Natural History Museum, and a 12-15 minute walk to 2 underground stations (South Kensington and Gloucester) which was a blessing. Walked meself to Nottinghill and Portobello Road Market (25-30 min) which was through town and a highstreet; also easily walked into and through Knightsbridge and Trafalgar Square which was lovely (thankfully I was blessed with fabulous weather which is often a rarity in Londontown!) Also had no idea it was the same weekend as the BAFTA’s but they were literally taking place the next street down to us which was pretty cool!

Astor have got a chain of 4 hostels in and around London: Astor Hyde Park, Astor Victoria, Astor Queensway, and Astor Museum, and they’ve kindly gifted us a promo code to use on your next stay with Astor; use: ASTORLUV for 10% off your booking via their site here [max 14 nights] xo.

I feel like this post is long enough already, but I hope it’s helpful and inspires even one of you to step out of your comfort zone and give it a go even if it’s just for a night! If you’re interested in somewhat of a recap of me trip, check out my ‘Londontown’ highlight on instagram (@shazaira) for some walkings&talkings! Feel free to get in touch if you’ve got more questions/concerns etc. as I’d love to help out and be sure to let me know in the comments below if you enjoyed this read! xx

Special thanks to Astor Hyde Park for hosting me during my stay in London. All opinions and views expressed are my own.

 

I’ve always had a thing for abayas and open bisht style abayas in the Muslamic sphere and that love intensified after moving to the Middle East. Something about the free-flowing easy-breezy vibe speaks to me and it’s just another fave!

You’ll know by now that I’ve partnered up with Aab Collection to show you a couple of their pieces which are now available online and in Debenhams (Middle East) – click here to peep the first look we showcased!

When the second Aab piece turned out to be a bisht, and a camel toned one at that, my inner Muslamic was super excited!

(cue excited face..!)

Aab is a modestwear clothing company based out of the UK (www.aabcollection.com) and their pieces can also be found in Debenhams (Middle East).

I present you the Escalera Bisht (here) , a beautiful piece which features a lovely thread embroidery on the front opening and flared sleeves.

Isn’t it beautiful?!

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I’ve paired it with a plain black abaya underneath and the same Soft Nude Chiffon Silk Hijab (here) from the previous Aab look. I would totally wear this out to a hanging or to Friday prayers and it would easily entertain both. It doesn’t have a tie up or a closed fastening, but I’m down with that! If I wanted to close it I could easily take a black tie up from another abaya and it would get the job done, or even a piece of thick black ribbon if you haven’t got a tie up.

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I gave it a go with the Aab Powder Blue Jumpsuit (didn’t take a photo unfortunately!) and the contrast of the blue and camel-toned looked stunning together! Looking forward to wearing this with a massive turban and denim to embody a street-style nomadic vibe kinda sorta maybe!

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Hope you’ve enjoyed these looks as much as I loved putting them together for you! Be sure to check them out online, on Instagram (@aabcollection), and in-store at Debenhams (Middle East)! xoxo

27 calls for 27 pieces of word-art which are dear to me.



There’s beauty in the way one consciously chooses to string particular words together in order to invoke hope, happiness, love, sadness, anything really, and I’ve always been in awe of this power.



These are reminders, affirmations, promises, and truths I try to practice and want to continue making a conscious effort to implement in this next year of life inshallah x



Definitely miss my loved ones today and reminiscing about that time I wanted to be in Bali on my birthday and took the plunge and went to Bali on my birthday so not quite sure what happened with this years plans lol but that’s life I suppose!



I hope you love some of these as much as I do and try to make them a part of your everyday lives as well! xo.



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Ola! I’ve partnered up with Aab Collection to show you some of their new additions which are oh so beautiful!

Aab is a modestwear clothing company based out of the UK and their pieces can also be found in Debenhams (Middle East). I remember attending their launch in Kuwait and falling in love with how easy their clothing was in terms of looking put together without any of the hard stuff lol

Pictured is the Powder Blue Jumpsuit (here) and Soft Nude Chiffon Silk Hijab (here). The most halal key hole detail on the jumpsuit which I think is super cute lol but the prettiest softest shade of blue which I love. You know when you go to iron clothing and the iron glides ever so effortlessly over the fabric and your heart sighs from relief and all is well in the world? Definitely experienced that with this piece lol it also comes with a matching belt which is optional of course (I paired it with the kimono below). I wanted to casj it out a bit so went with a belt bag and espadrilles which is a winner in my books!

The Floating Bubbles Kimono (here) is a lightweight digital print kimono with tones of taupe grey and hints of blue. It’s made from a fluid georgette with a drawstring tie up which you can always cinch in at the waist if you’d like.

You can easily pair this with a number of items, denim, dresses, skirts, even on its own, and its lightweight material makes it perfect for the warmer weather coming soon (it’s coming I promise!) It’s got a gorgeous flow to it, almost giving off a cape-like effect as though you’re gliding through life without a care in the world (fake it til you make it init) which is beaut!

I haven’t worn a chiffon hijab in ages, partly because I’m slightly terrified of it slipping and falling apart during the day (which has happened in the past!) and I’ve just never been a fan to be honest. This is literally just one pin under the chin and I was pleasantly surprised by how well it stayed put! (imagine what the addition of two straight pins could do lol) The softness of the material allows it to fall beautifully whilst draped definitely catering to the Aab aesthetic of stylish modern elegance.

Stay tuned for another Aab look coming your way in a couple days; be sure to check them out online, on Instagram (@aabcollection), and in-store at Debenhams! xoxo

If you’re new here, welcome! (big hugs sent your way), and if you’re not new, you still get hugs, but you’re probably slightly more familiar with my end of year reflective postings and know that I kinda sorta love them! ( re: 2016, 2015)

I figured I’d do things a little different this year and instead of sticking to my usual written brief, I googled one of them pre-made reflective question lists lol and going to use that to help me recap this whirlwind of a year! (there are 50 questions; is that a lot?)

 

 

Here it goes:

  1. The most important goal that I achieved this year was:

I graduated! 2 years later whilst being abroad and working full time and going through life madness and still being able to do really well makes me proud of myself!

  1. My biggest fitness accomplishment was:

Probably running in Ramadan! Joining a running club last year in Kuwait definitely upped my fitness and I surprised myself with timings and distances I thought I was too old for haha although the fitness and running took a massively sharp decline since September lol running in Ramadan, both in Kuwait in the heat and in Canada was yay! mostly because I’d always had the mindset that people who do that are crazy and why would anyone do that to themselves, but woop!

  1. My biggest career accomplishment was:

leaving my old school to work at one of the top schools in Kuwait which is a tad more ‘professional’ I suppose. Not really a big deal lol but I could’ve easily stayed at my old place where I was comfortable and complacent in terms of what was expected of me and what I was giving versus now where I feel more overwhelmed at times and like super duper working but I feel better about myself and my profession whilst I’m doing it if that makes sense..!

  1. My biggest relationship accomplishment was:

not holding back I suppose; in terms of expressing feelings be they positive or negative at times. life too short and we’re all going to die soon so if you love someone tell them you love them, if they make you happy or inspire you or annoy you, just tell them x friends, family, strangers, what’s the worse thats going to happen?

  1. These are the skills I acquired this year:

-I taught myself a teeny bit of photoshop and lightroom lolol (it still counts!)

-creating sick websites and presentations for uni projects that I was proud of

-Arabic! Learning Arabic and recently taking lessons to pick up vocab has been a massive skill for me lol

-putting on falsies in 5 minutes. practice makes perfect

-[how to apply eyeshadow. lol]

 

  1. A big mistake that I made this year—and the lesson that I learned as a result—was:

-checking flight times. Lucy and I missed our flight to Nepal because I read the time wrong and OBVIOUSLY no ones that thick so you’re not going to get insurance so that was a waste and had to get a new flight

-Also nearly missed my flight to Istanbul for the Reyhanli deployment and if it wasn’t for Qes texting me to have a safe flight in the morning, I wouldn’t have gone. Lesson learned: triple check flight times and tell your friends so they can remind you or wake you up in case you fall asleep (because that has also happened to me. smh.)

-in terms of life stuff, I learned and came to accept that I’m not responsible for how people behave or their actions/reactions and that everyone, including me, has a choice which we consciously make to do whatever it is we want to or don’t want to do. If you want the apple, eat the apple, you want to hang out with mates, go, but then don’t say you were coerced into doing something you really didn’t want to do. You had a choice, you made your choice, simple as lol

  1. An obstacle or a challenge that I overcame this year:-I think being afraid of the unknown. I’ve grown to not be as much of a scaredy cat as I think I was before.-Also my final project for uni. jeez.

8. This year, I learned the following about myself:

I am beyond blessed alhamdulillah. I have my health, a family that loves me, a roof over my head, and God. I am more than good. Anything and everything else is extra and I feel as though I am so much more consciously aware of this that I’ve ever been. I don’t stress myself out as much as I might have done in the past about life, and plans etc. inshallah everything’s going to work out the way its supposed to and there’s a time for everything. We plan, and he plans, and so far it’s worked out okay right, so he knows what he’s doing lol it sounds really loosy I know lol and its not easy to do, but if you consciously continue to remind yourself to just chill out and let things flow naturally, it becomes a natural mindset. Just smile to yourself and say alhamdulillah I’m good! (do it now I promise you’ll feel it!)

  1. Here’s something I learned about other people:

they suck sometimes. but sometimes they are the most beautiful, warm hearted, genuine freaking human beings on the planet and they deserve your love and energy and support. and you know what, so do the sucky people because love really does make the world go round and life is too short not to spread light and goodness x you do it because thats the kind of person you are and don’t let their personality or disingenuousness cloud your judgment or question your reasoning. you do you because its what you believe in. leave the rest to God x

  1. This made me laugh the hardest this year:

I laugh a lot so it’s hard to choose lol

-in India when Amani asked the waiter if they had Hummus. DEAD.

-when the plane landed and I survived ( refer to#26)

-my sister dancing

-mamas jokes

-Hashmat always

  1. The most fun I had all year was:

I try and have fun everyday..!

  1. My best memory of the year was:

-returning to Nepal 7 years later and walking those same streets I did at 19. Being recognized by the neighbours who I was staying with and my heart just wanting to freaking explode with this burning love and happiness and contentness for life and these beautiful people x

-Reyhanli deployment with SKT. That’s probably going to be one of the best memories of my life and I hope and pray it’s changed me as a person, as a human, for the better x

  1. My biggest regret of the year was:

This may sound very cliche but I have no regrets. I’ve been sat here thinking and going through the months of the year to reflect on something I really wanted to do or somewhere I wanted to go or anything that I didn’t do which I now regret but I can’t think of anything. I’ve come to a point alhamdulillah which I’m consciously aware of the ‘big’ decisions I make for myself and in life so as to not have any regrets and later on wish I chose another route or did something differently..

When the Reyhanli dates were set they were right in the middle of back-to-school and orientation at the new place and visas and paperwork which would guarantee owed salaries etc.  I didn’t want to make a bad impression at the new school or lose my hard earned money for the past few years but also no way in the world did I want to miss out on Reyhanli! Thought about it for a while, like the entire summer lol and concluded that whatever, I’d miss out on pay and learning the ropes of the new school and making friends with newbies, etc etc but if I didn’t go I would SO regret it for the rest of my life and I didn’t want to look back thinking ‘what if’. I could always make the money back, and again if you know me I have this love/hate relationship with money, and I didn’t want bloody money of all things to be the reason I missed out on the opportunity. So I chose and I don’t regret my decision one bit! wallah if I didn’t go I would’ve kicked meself in the backside for being a massive dumb!

-I had been wanting to go back to Nepal for ages, more so when I moved to Kuwait because it was so close, and I had mentioned it to Lucy before. She said lets go in April and I had booked and changed a Eurotrip to Prague/Vienna/Budapest legit like 3 times like  an idiot, but then took it as a sign it wasn’t meant to be at this very moment in life so cancelled it, lost me ticket x3 and booked Nepal and it was such an epic time alhamdulillah x

be conscious of your choices and listen to what your heart and soul wants. #noregrets

  1. My biggest disappointment of the year was:

-Donald Trump

-people; in terms of humanity

-not getting this relief work job I was so stoked about but its okay everything happens for a reason

-samosas in India! I was so excited because samosas are my favorite and I figured duh India has the best, but nope. Nepal takes the cake for best samosas ever.

  1. The books I read this year were:

-Sofia Khan is not Obliged (first and second one)

-Secret Daughter

-bone.

-HER

–seeds planted in concrete

(do uni books count?!)

  1. My favorite movie of the year was:

nothings really sticking out atm…Moana was pretty cool lol (I don’t know..!)

17. A TV show I really enjoyed watching this year was:

-Our Girl

-The Apprentice UK

-Doctor Foster

  1. I really enjoyed this live performance (concert, play, musical, or dance performance):

-Seeing the Kite Runner in London was my favorite!

-K’naan on Canada Day was super cool too!

  1. Here’s a song I listened to over and over again this year:

Zina-Babylone

Too Good at Goodbyes – Sam Smith

Big Picture – London Grammar

Happier – Ed Sheeran

Same Drugs – Chance the Rapper

20. This is something I wish I hadn’t bought this year:

probably clothes I either haven’t worn yet or old wore once. just a dumb waste lol but it’s one of the things I want to get better at next year in terms of just not buying stuff, clothes especially, and if I do, 10 items go for that one piece.

  1. This is the best thing I bought all year:

-my Gucci bum bag (boob bag as mama calls it!) It’s so practical and functional for me and I already feel as though its been rinsed but definitely making the most of it so yay!

-Also I think my phone was bought this year and that’s definitely a best. Not sure if many of you know but I only use my iPhone to take photos and love love it!

-The oversized ripped denim jacket from Zara that everyone has lol I absolutely love it and chuck it on with everything and it shall continue to be rinsed!

  1. Someone I really enjoyed spending time with this year was:

really weird, but my instagram friends! This was the year I physically met people who I’ve followed and chatted with via social media, and being able to spend real quality time with them, and even travel with, was so enlightening and inspiring for my soul. Halima, Qes, and Mariah. There’s good people, then there are golden people who God put in this world for a reason x love you guys and I’m so glad to have you in my life! xx

  1. I adopted this new positive habit:

consciously looking for the good even in the worst of times. I’ve been working on this for a couple years and I want to get to a stage where it becomes second nature. Focusing on the positive instead of the negative is such a breath of fresh air and makes you appreciate life and situations and realize what’s truly important in the here and now.

24. I dropped this negative habit:

catching feelings – in terms of blaming myself for other people’s behaviors or actions (still a work in progress but getting better at it lol) Sometimes it’s not you and you’ve got to cut yourself some slack. Still reflect and if you’re in the wrong own up to it and apologize and try and fix it if its worth fixing, but if it’s not reciprocated don’t beat yourself up for it. You tried and did whatever because that’s who you are as a person and you’ve got no reason to apologize for that.  Remember, you’re not responsible for how other people’s actions. How you react to a situation tells more about yourself than the other person.

25. One time I stood up for myself this year was:

I think internally just being able to let things and people go and not take it to heart; accepting that things change, as do people, and that its unhealthy dwelling on the ‘whys’ and working yourself up over it all the time. Standing up for my heart and peace of mind I’d say lol and knowing when to leave things and people be, simply because it is what it is.

26. The scariest thing I went through this year was:

wallah I thought I was going to die on the way to Nepal. We were caught in a massive storm and turbulence was unbelievable; literally the sky was lighting up all around us with the thunder and the airport was closed so we couldn’t land and I just lost it. Ive never ever ever cried as much as I did on a plane. I sent voice notes to my family telling them I loved them, made promises to myself incase I survived etc etc. I was flying with my friend Lucy and just praying so hard for the both of us and telling her I loved her and glad I was dying with her lolololol laughing at myself now but jeez. definitely the scariest!

  1. A really cool thing I created this year was:

the current vibe in my new flat. Just a clean white open space with lots of light that feels like home and ‘my space’ when I walk in the door.

  1. My most common mental state this year was:

“we’re all going to die soon anyways” – is that even a mental state? Say what you want to say, do what you want to do, #noregrets

29. Here’s how I grew emotionally this year:

I cried when I wanted to cry but then also knew when to stop and pick meself up and get on with it.

30. Here’s how I grew spiritually this year: 

-consciously made an effort to pray 5 times a day

-consciously put all my eggs into God’s basket and even though things might not have gone my way, put my trust and faith into the fact that it wasn’t meant to be because that’s not what he wanted for me and that’s cool! And it sounds really simple but it’s a constant struggle to get to that point of full conviction and faith and hope (for me anyways), but I feel myself getting better at it alhamdulillah

31. The best gift I received this year was:

life. waking up every morning when not everyone was as blessed. alhamdulillah x

32. The nicest thing someone did for me this year was:

-probably comfort me and tell me its going to be okay.

-give me hugs

-also Qes for inviting me to join deployment; will always be grateful for you x

-Mariah for meeting me once and offering me to bunk with her. what a freaking gem x

-my brother and sister for being my support system sometimes and telling me nice things about myself at times I wasn’t feeling the greatest x

33. The nicest thing I did for someone else this year was: 

I hope I did nice things for people this year! I don’t believe in keeping track of things you do for others; you do them from the heart because you want to and then its over and done with x


34. I showed real gumption this year when I: 

when I was able to bake brownies without any eggs or butter! coconut oil is surprisingly quite good for a lot of things!

35. If I could change one thing about this year it would be:                          

 nothing. everything had to happen the way it did to get me to this very moment and its all good alhamdulillah x

36. A new food/dish I tried this year was: 

figs in Reyhanli – I’d always been apprehensive about trying them lol

37. This year my physical health was:

alright actually alhamdulillah x no accidents or blood or broken bone incidents so alhamdulillah xx

38. Here’s a new friend I made this year:

Mohib! #tyler

  1. This year I traveled to:

-Dubai, Istanbul, Reyhanli, America, London, Nepal, Mumbai, Toronto (but that never counts) (legit ugh-ing myself rn like is that it?!)

  1. Here’s one adventure I had this year:

If you know me you’ll know I consider taking an alternate route on the way home is an adventure, so I have many lol

-in Nepal trying to find my spring roll place from 7 years ago (they no longer had them and it broke my heart)

-rooftop with Qes in Reyhanli. so sick.

-walking and talking around Knightsbridge for hours with a random (Adz) who helped me at Harrods and now were mates!

-going for dinner with a random group of girls after one of the fashion shows in London. They said they liked my turban and we ended up at dindin!

-scaling buildings to get on the roof with Hashmat in Istanbul. SO freaking worth it and the most beautiful view of Istanbul

  1. One contribution I made to my community was: 

(is it terrible that I feel this doesn’t apply to me because I don’t feel like I’ve got one in Kuwait like I did in Canada?!)


42. This year I spent a lot of time here:

-the rooftop pool lounge bit at my old building

-prayer mat

-airplanes

-mamas house

-on my laptop

  1. This year I broke out of my comfort zone by:

-wearing my glasses a lot! it sounds silly lol but I used to have a love-hate relationship with my glasses and only wore them when I took my contacts out and never to work or in public etc. Not too bothered now really lol sticking the contacts in seems to be more of an effort these days haha

-(also just chatting to strangers, eating on my own, making myself my best friend and enjoying my own company etc.)

  1. A hobby I loved spending time on this year was:

reading, traveling, editing photos, creating content. it makes me happy.

  1. This year I practiced self-care by:

breathing, praying, face masking. doing what makes me happy.

  1. My biggest time waster this year was:
[a boy who didn’t want to marry me] – I was planning to keep that as is, but a really good friend made mention that its very unlike me to see things as a waste of time and not look at the benefit or good that’s come from a situation. And I thought about and I know she’s right. Although a part of me wants to say it was a waste of my time, it was also a learning opportunity and I’m not ungrateful for having said person in my life because we’re still kinda sorta best friends but it is what it is I suppose x

  1. Here’s a great time-saving hack I learned this year:

making lists.. if I ever felt like I had a lot to get done and just super overwhelmed with it all, making a list and being able to physical see and refer back to it and cross off things that were completed def helped me not waste time and stay on track. Daily lists, monthly lists, I like lists lol

  1. What I am most grateful for this year is:

my family. the boy who didn’t want to marry me. my friends. the opportunities I’ve been blessed with and all the amazing people I’ve been lucky enough to cross paths with as a result; who I’ve hopefully been able to be nice to and love, or who have loved me, inspired me, or taught me something x

  1. Here are three words that would sum up this year: 

blessed, reflective, surprising

50. If I could travel back to the beginning of the year, here’s some advice I would give myself:

-no you don’t need to buy that.

-save some money for a rainy day.

-order burgers if you want to eat burgers.

-tell her you love her. tell him you love him.

-don’t worry too much, it’ll get sorted xx

There you have it lol kudos if you managed to get through all 50! I’d love to know some of the goals and aspirations you might have set for yourselves in the new year so please share below! How do you plan on achieving them because that’s always the hard part lol

I’m about to make a final cuppa for the year and watch the BFG because I was supposed to watch it with a mate about a year ago but they flopped and I don’t wish to carry that burden into the new year haha x Wishing you a beautiful 365 days ahead filled with love and kindness, and perhaps a year in which you finally put your heart and own happiness first xoxo