Monthly Musings, Entry 03 | June 2017

How is it half way through 2017 already!? Honestly, could this year get any more… shit? At least for me. It’s been an especially trying month, both mentally and physically, and don’t even get me started on the political scene… all words fail me here, which is saying something because words are usually my arsenal. I have 0 energy and motivation for anything right now; being ill is no fun. It’s been an emotional up and down, turbulent, firework of back and forth fatigue and a host of other issues for me since January, but I am powering through (or I am trying to do so anyway). I won’t delve deeper into my current condition/s or situation regarding my health, as I’m not really ready to disclose it, but I hope sometime in the future perhaps, when I have overcome this particularly difficult period in my life, I will be able to openly address it, whether because it helps me to come to terms with it or because it will help someone else who may be suffering through it to know that they are not alone in their struggle, or struggles.

I am determined to continue with blogging, if only this update a month. So what has June offered me?

Listening to…

DVSN – SEPTEMBER 5TH

This is an album I have pretty much been listening to continuously since coming across it last year. Honestly Daneil Daley’s voice is like ***. I like the album a lot because I feel that the lyrics are really honest and personal, explicitly and refreshingly so. I’ve had the album on loop since July 2016, and wanted to see them in concert so much that I forked out a wad of monies to buy tickets to Drake’s Boy Meets World tour back in March (it was also a late bday pressie for my younger sister). DVSN were his warm up act (they’re signed to his label). Every song on the album, from the production, lyrics, voice etc. is 10/10 for me, ‘With Me’ being my favourite on the album, and ‘Hallucinations’ a close second. The album is a must listen and has inspired my art and writing over the past months; in the sense that there’s nothing wrong with explicitly stating what you want or feel. They’ve released some new singles in the past few months, but in a different style to the songs on the album; frankly not sure how I feel about the new releases, but plan on giving the two new singles a few more listens.

ALICIA KEYS – THE ELEMENT OF FREEDOM

This is one of my favourite albums by Alicia Keys, and probably the only one I’ve listened to end to end. I listened to it a lot when it first came out way back when in 2009 or 2010 during uni. Keys has an incredible voice and combined with mellow instrumentals of most of her songs, makes it great to listen to whilst working 😀 Fave song is ‘Unthinkable’ and I’ve been listening to various takes on this song by other artists too this month.

JHENE AIKO

My sister has been harping on about her for ages so I’ve been listening to some of her stuff on Youtube. I do enjoy a few of her songs and her videos are very visual and aesthetically appealing to the eye. She’s got a really light quality to her voice and music so it’s really nice to listen to in the background when writing or doing a nonchalant activity.

BRYSON TILLER – TRUE TO SELF

Really liked his first album TRAPSOUL. Again, I like it when I feel that songs aren’t shallow, and singers are singing ‘true’ songs/ from personal experience (whether this is the case or not doesn’t matter to me much, as long as it is compelling enough that it feels like it is so is good enough for me 🙂 ), and that’s what Tiller’s music feels like to me. Like all his lyrics are stories you know? Enjoying his new album thus far but it’s no where near as good as his first.

MARIO – COSMO 17

Back on the scene and underrated. Love the mellowness as always. His songs aren’t super-amazing or anything, I just like listening to them. I guess I’ve just been a fan of his since the 90s. So it’s been a pretty solid mellow R&B month for me it seems..

ED SHEERAN – DIVIDE

Being a huge fan, I naturally listened to the whole album when it first came out but I just wasn’t feeling it at the time – AT ALL. It’s a bit of a disappointment after MULTIPLY, where every song was like wow wow wow, and you could listen to it over and over again. Nonetheless, this month I have been listening to ‘Dive’ and ‘Perfect’ – two songs which would classically fit onto his previous album. It is songs like these that I guess I associate Ed Sheeran the most with, and think he is best at producing – whatever that means. YES IT’S BEEN A DEPRESSO MONTH FOR ME PPLZ. I’ve really wanted to see him in concert for agesss, unfortunately NONE OF MY FRIENDS care for his music it seems… time to get new friends?

Reading…

MISSING, PRESUMED BY SUSIE STEINER

Took me a while to finish this; started off quite good but then felt like it padded out and the pace waned massively. Also the end was a massive anti-climax and frankly just shit. I liked the main character and her woes and this was one of the main reasons I kept on till the end, but I wouldn’t really recommend. It’s an easy read and all but once you finish it you don’t feel like you got much out of it really and just feel like EHH???

PHYSIQONOMICS

When I discover a blog I like I tend to read pretty much everything on it, so have been reading this end to end this month. It’s really good, and I love the illustrations Adam or Aadam (as he likes to be known) draws – the guy really knows his stuff when it comes to health and fitness and I’ve definitely found his content very useful. I follow his blog, Facebook and Instagram and he’s got a very strong personality which comes across in his posts and just makes it very entertaining and enjoyable to read. Although he can sometimes go a bit overboard, it’s his style and he owns it so you kinda have to respect it. You can check out his blog here. Would highly recommend if you’re into health and fitness or trying to get into it.

THE FIRE IN FICTION BY DONALD MAASS

Absolutely excellent book if you want to improve your writing and really make a move on developing your story or novel. I stumbled across this book recommendation when I was browsing Youtube for writing tips. Best recommendation that I’ve come across so far. It has super helpful tips and practice tasks/prompts at the end of each chapter, that if you actually have a go at, really helps develop your writing skills. Ever since using the tips I have really felt like I’ve uncovered a new and better layer to my work. Would highly recommend.

THE GUARDIAN / NEWSPAPERS GALORE

Election innittt. I’ve been reading ALL DEM NEWSPAPERS. Reading all the columns and wotnot – late into the nights too as during Ramadan there’s no point in sleeping when you have such a short window to eat between Iftar and Sehri. I must say, there’s so much shit churned out as of late I don’t know what’s real and what’s not anymore. I love The Guardian btw – I’m just sprouting hate at all the other competitors yehh.

THEORY TEST FOR CAR DRIVERS

YEH. I ACTUALLY REVISED THIS. BITCHES. AND I FINALLY PASSED!!

WHEN BREATH BECOMES AIR BY PAUL KALANITHI

Simply outstanding read. This is the personal and riveting experience of a neurosurgeon in his internal quest to find the meaning of life in the face of death, when he is diagnosed with a terminal illness. It is phenomenally hard to put down, not only because of the story but because of how beautifully it is written. I’ve rarely read a novel with such a strong and compelling narration – you can literally hear his voice in your head. If there is one book you read this year, or ever, make this your priority.

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Simply outstanding.

Celebrating…

The month of Ramadan and Eid, which marks the end of it. Honestly, the end of Ramadan couldn’t have come soon enough for me. I took off two weeks sick from work during it and as much as I love it I really struggle with it every year. I have little routine, become lethargic and seem to put on a hideous number of pounds. It was very enjoyable spending the time with my family but my internal struggle meant that I was a bit moody and on edge and ended up eating copious amounts of food in the evening to sedate myself for whatever reason. I did try and go to the gym at midnight though.. not sure it made much difference. Eid again was really lovely, although it doesn’t hold the same excitement for me that it did when I was younger; everyone came over to our house this year because my mother is the best host 😀

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Credit to my beautiful and talented sister, and all time ❤ Jamila ❤

Watching…

BBC NEWSNIGHT

No matter how much I try to remove myself from politics, I am always drawn back to it. It’s been painful to watch the events and interview post Grenfell tower, but most nights I have been up till 6am as Sehri ends at like 3am and after the amount of food and sugar and coffee I have ingested during Iftar it is hard to sleep. I stayed up all night to watch the election night results come in with my sister, which for the first time in history, was actually exciting to watch.

ASK LAFTAN ANLAMAZ (TURKISH TV SERIES)

I’m not much of a TV gal but omg I am obsessed with this show! I have also got my younger sisters into it. And it also turns out that my older sister saw it being shared across Facebook and started watching it too! I’ve never watched a Turkish TV drama before, but for some reason this has got me hooked! I stumbled on a clip whilst browsing the explore/discover section on Instagram and then googled it further because the clip I watched on Instagram was hella cute.

It’s cheesy and rom-com like, which has never been my thing but I’ve always enjoyed them on a peripheral level in an escapist kind of way. It’s taken me by surprise how much I’m enjoying it, and I think it’s really because I find it so easy to relate to – the show focuses on modern Muslims living life and facing all the challenges I face – which isn’t something my non-Muslim Western counterparts necessarily face and can seem alien outside looking in. It’s also not something any Western shows address. Bend it Like Beckham and Desi Rascals may have been the closest thing to it, but even they are very far removed and were very anglicised. Being a Muslim places certain restrictions or societal pressures in regards to lifestyle etc., and these are all present in the relationships and activities of daily life that the characters encounter, and that I have to navigate daily- which most people around me are completely oblivious to or unaware of. So I think this is why the series is so easy for me to be absorbed in- because the challenges and relationships in the show are similar to my internal and external challenges. It also certainly helps that the main guy and girl in the show are really hot. All the characters also have very strong/distinct personalities. You guys know how much I hate stereotypes and flat/one-dimensional characters! The episodes are each 2.5 hours long, so at first I was like wthhh, I’m never going to get through watching this with my attention span, but now I’m like YEYYYY more for me to enjoy as there are only 32 episodes in total I think. So yah. Loving it. Was watching it most of the time whilst I was in Budapest loool.

All the episodes are available online with Eng subs – give it a watch if you have time to spare… you can find out more about the show here.

Writing…

I finally downloaded Scrivener, which is a writing application/programme that a friend and published author, Catherine Banner, recommended to me a while back, and omg, I wish I had downloaded it sooner! It’s fab for working on a novel. So with this, I have made some significant progress on my first novel, * drum roll please * THE DOCTOR’S WIFE (first reveal of the title people!). I am slowly fleshing it out and the story is coming together into something I feel I can be proud of. YAY.

Visiting…

BUDAPEST BABY

First trip of the year and traditional annual trip with one of my best friends, Tom. I was kinda unwell during it, so we took it easy, and didn’t see everything back to back within a few days like we normally do. It was more of a lazy/chill type holiday, which was exactly what I needed. We certainly saw a lot however, although we never got to try the famous baths! We left it too late and by the time we got there they were closed. Unfortunately food was not the highlight of this trip, as I was hoping it would be in a similar way that Rome was (Rome is soooo amazing btw – one of my all time favourite trips! Still dream about the amazing food in that city * drool *). It could be that we just made poor choices (Tom got food poisoning on the last day…), but for me I wasn’t blown away by the options on offer, although its restaurant scene was surprisingly multi-cultural. The city is absolutely beautiful, as is the weather, and I have a feeling I will return in the future. For what reason, I’m not sure, but I have a feeling I will. There’s something very alluring about the place.

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Got my insta-shot.
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Late night wander on the banks of the Danube.
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At the top of Gellert Hill.

Eating…

All kinds of stuff. Mostly unhealthy -_-. Tried some new stuff, which didn’t always go down too well… also thinking of becoming vegan apart from chicken and eggs, heh heh. Doing my best ppl. I won’t go into the cheese meltdown I had in Budapest after having lunch at a place where everything was pretty much made out of cheese, but hey-ho, I managed to survive- just about!

Drawing…

Finally/sorta finished this. Inspired by events in March.

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When you see things you don’t wanna see.

Reconnecting…

With my nephews on weekly coffee dates for a catchup ❤ Fully indulging in the pleasures of being an aunty ❤

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Introducing him to civilisation.

Trying…

Not to find life depressing AF 😀

So… lots went on in June! What has inspired you this month? I would love to know. Feel free to leave a comment below or get in touch. Especially music album recommendations… I feel like I’ve been listening to the same stuff for eons.

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