but who even am i?

13 November 2016


what does my name mean? | hawwa
حَوَّاء is an arabic name meaning 'source of life' - in english, the translation would be 'eve' (like, adam and eve - and yes, i've heard all the jokes.). even though my name isn't hard at all to pronounce, almost everyone get's it wrong. that meme you see floating around of 'when the teacher get's to your name on the register and looks up with panic in their eyes': accurate description of my life.
(fun fact: i just googled 'hawwa' and apparently there is an indian restaurant in northgate, hessle called hawwa; ironic since i am actually half indian.)

CROOKED KINGDOM by leigh bardugo

29 October 2016


Some people develop stories that hold exquisite world building and intricate plots within its pages but their characters leave a sour taste in the mouth: slightly two dimensional, generic and un-relatable. Others create characters that practically jump out at you, real people fashioned into existence through words, yet the plot, the world building? Not necessarily raw, but perhaps under cooked. Leigh Bardugo however, does neither of those two things. She is one of the few authors that is able to develop both three-dimensional characters with all the entertaining dialogue, nuances and traits you could wish for, and a detailed plot within an intricately built world: CROOKED KINGDOM is but one of the perfect examples.

five things i have failed at while writing

16 October 2016


it's no secret that i am a nefariously rubbish writer. i claim to want to become a published author one day yet i never actually put that plan into action - for various reasons, i have yet to even finish a single first draft of anything in particular. nope, i haven't even finished writing my autobiography which is absolutely ridiculous considering i've had such a fulfilling and exciting life these past eighteen years...

discussion: do you write in books?

02 October 2016

i never used to write in books. before, books (for me at least) were meant to be kept pristine and neat, they were (and still are) colour coded on my bookshelf, i would get annoyed whenever anyone borrowed one of my books and dog-eared a page or cracked the spine. books were both collectable items and enjoyable pieces of creativity. i did not like 'ruining' my books.

FIELD NOTES: ANDALUSIA /cordoba

25 September 2016

SPAIN // JULY 2016. an average of 35 degree heat, no tarmac on the roads in the mountains, no barriers to stop you driving off the edge, a hire car who couldn't cope and often skidded half way up a steep, narrow, one way street/slope; mosquitoes, insect bites - very much the bad. but the good? the streets, the mountain air [sadly not the food, i never actually tried any authentic spanish food the entire two weeks i was there because they are very much wine/meat fans - it appears in almost every dish - and halal food is a rarity] the sightseeing opportunities, the rich culture and the architecture. cordoba was probably one of my favourite places to visit on the trip, just because of the streets, the atmosphere, and the sheer entity of alleyways covered with flowers and plants; basically: the aesthetic.

This is Wonderland: before Alice. /HEARTLESS [marissa meyer]

22 September 2016


(warning: do not read while hungry, OR: eat while reading.)
BEFORE SHE WAS THE QUEEN OF HEARTS, SHE WAS JUST A GIRL WHO WANTED TO FALL IN LOVE.

catching up | travelling, art foundation, exams, youtube & a blogging slump

06 September 2016


It's been a heck of a long time since I wrote a catch-up post, so brace yourselves for an abnormally personal array of words for this here blog (a lot of you requested them actually so I waved my magic wand and here we are).

TOP FIVE TIPS WHEN TRAVELLING ABROAD

30 August 2016

1. USE PINTEREST TO PLAN:while i wouldn't advise going over the top and planning literally every second of your day [because let's face it, it's unrealistic that you would ever stick to something so rigid when you're in an unknown country and it's more fun to just be fluid and go with the flow], deciding on the main places that are must-see sights is a good idea, especially if you know you won't have any internet when you actually arrive. i was put in charge of deciding where we should visit when i went on holiday to spain with my family in july, and pinterest was a gold mine. all those pretty photos of landscapes and beaches and architecture you pin, well there's probably a link/caption detailing where that place is. and there are hundreds of blog posts [obviously not as cool as this one--] with travel tips, ideas, itineraries and photos all at your disposal. so use it. [and please, don't forget the list you made at home, not a good idea..]

TO BOOK-PUSH OR NOT TO BOOK-PUSH, THAT IS THE QUESTION

24 August 2016


BOOK-PUSHING IS AN ART FORM. if you do it wrong, there are consequences to pay - & to do it 'right' is hard, you have to alter your tactics for each individual case, so should you always risk it?

WOLF BY WOLF /ryan graudin

14 August 2016


Ryan Graudin is quickly becoming one of my favourite authors, and for good reason. After diving into The Walled City and resurfacing with wide eyes and an oh, this book was good, I promptly kept her name on the top shelf of my internal list: authors-to-look-out-for – and then Wolf by Wolf appeared on my doorstep, with a quote from Laini Taylor on the front cover (a clear sign that this book must be read), at the wrong time, during exam season when TBR lists were not a priority, stress was out in full force and taking over even the most organised of lives (aka me) and reading books was not an activity I could dwell on before feeling guilty that I was wasting time.

DIY / geometric paper boxes

09 August 2016


I've been making art and doing crafts/DIYs for as long as I can remember - even longer than I can remember. I was/still am the resident card maker for every event, I once made hundreds of eid cards and sold them all, giving the proceeds to charity. I've made house decorations, boxes, bags, beds for my dolls, cushions, dresses - I was that one girl who used to borrow all the crafting books from the library.

BLOGGING SURVIVAL GUIDE

05 August 2016

It is no secret that blogging takes up an abundance of time. From taking photos, to editing photos, to planning posts, to formatting a post, to writing a post, to staring at a blank page because you have no idea what to write - all in all, blogging morphs from a passion and a hobby to a chore with unapologetic speed.  Yet the internet is stuffed in every nook and cranny with blogs that are still surviving, still dragging their little feet through the bog of time to remain alive. If you don't have a blog but are thinking of starting one you may feel daunted, perturbed; worried about taking the leap, but never fear, grandma hawwa has your back. 
[grandma? you ask with a smirk and an eyebrow raise - yes. i'm 18. an adult, an old woman. you want proof of how old i am? just take a look at my to-do list, i'm adulting hard: provisional license? setting up a bank account? i could apply for them with my eyes closed---]

SNAIL MAIL // guest post

30 July 2016


Snail mail. It’s been replaced by e-mailing, texting, and other techy systems, but there are still many creatives who keep snail mail alive. Snail mail is such a fun way to communicate to friends, family, etc. Its a creative way to express your personality. The process of assembling a letter, sending it, and waiting to receive your pen-pals response is just overall exciting. And with today’s fortunate advancements, sending a letter/package doesn’t take much time. Letters sent from all over the world may only take days or weeks to be received. Don’t let the “it’s too slow” lie deceive you!

BE GOOD TO YOURSELF // guest post

23 July 2016

Hello errryone, I'm Noor Unnahar, an 18 y / o blogger, writer, and blog designer from Pakistan. Aesthetically pleasing photography, creative works, and poetic words are my main jams. I'm so excited to be guest posting on Hawwa the talented missy's blog.

HOW TRAVEL CHANGES YOU || guest post

16 July 2016

when they say travel changes a person, they aren’t kidding. there’s something about travelling that changes your perspective, your approach, your mindsets, and your understanding. when you wander around a city where you don’t know the language, where you’re a complete fool in regards to local etiquette, where you have no idea where you’re going, or where you rely on the kindness of others to get you somewhere, you find yourself being humbled by the minute. nothing quite compares to the feeling of complete inadequacy, it’s a feeling that I know all too well (I feel it in my own country, never mind a foreign one!) and would hate to not feel it from time to time. we don’t know everything, we’re not experts, we’re not number one, and as we should expect, we’re going to get things wrong! sitting right next to humility on the travel-changes-you-train (I came up with that myself) is perspective. when you travel and see other countries, other cultures, other people, and other problems that other countries or people face, we begin to realise how small your own problems are and how others face the same (and often much worse) problems as you! suddenly our problems are so much smaller and the dramas we’re facing at home don’t look so overwhelming. how does an argument with our co-workers compare to the poverty faced in so many countries? how does the drama of moving house compare to all the people who travel constantly and don’t even own one? how does the stress of not knowing what’s next compare to unknowns you have to face while travelling from country to country (flights delayed, trains cancelled, getting lost, not knowing a language)? perspective? travel will give you bucket loads of it! sandwiched in the middle of humility and perspective, is the other thing that travel gives you (how super generous is travel? if it were a person, I’d marry it). an open mind. nothing is more disagreeable than a person who refuses to allow people and circumstances and places to change them! I’m not saying we shouldn’t stand by our beliefs or that we should change who we are to please people, but it’s more about the attitude of flexibility and being willing to be wrong. we’re not the only people in the world to have seen the world or lived a certain lifestyle or tasted a hundred and one foods or owned a stressful business or had a hard life. other people have experienced different things and they might just know more about something than we do (I know right. shock of the year!)! just because they don’t own a TV or they move house a lot or they eat cross-legged on the floor or their restrooms are unusual, it doesn’t mean they’re bad or stupid or something we should stay away from. people in different cultures live all kinds of different ways, but that’s exactly what makes it unique and wonderful and beautiful.
travel makes you realise that you’re small, kinda ridiculous, crazy unique and in need of much change. so, travel? I’d say it definitely changes you. coz it sure as heck changed me.
hey, I'm jess! twenty-one year old social media manager and international photographer living in england. world explorer. briwi (british kiwi). coffee addict. probably wearing pjs right now. oddity extraordinaire. eater of sour candy. blueberry and grape monster. queen of laughter and 80 years old at heart. come say hi at www.jessmcghie.com or on instagram @missjessy12!

BOOKS + WORDS // guest post

08 July 2016

Hey there Hawwa's readers, I'm Areeba from Not Your Type Blog. I'm a creative lifestyle blogger & an art child. And today I'm here to bring this beautiful blog of Hawwa's a guest post. Let's go.

WHO AM I?

02 July 2016

following on from last week's post, i thought i'd address the most frequently [un]asked questions about myself (or ones that have been asked), as i know a lot of you either don't know much about me or know nothing about me other than my name ---

SURVEY RESULTS // looking to the future + DANIEL WELLINGTON GIVEAWAY

25 June 2016


IT'S BEEN TOO LONG. Exams are over; my room has been purged of revision notes [but I'm still making history references, if you get it - let me know: am I the only one who has a hard time letting go of all the information I have managed to cram into my head AND PROBABLY NEVER USED after exams?] and I AM READY TO CREATE. But first, to summarise the results of the survey I carried out in *ehem*, January..
AND DON'T FORGET TO READ TO THE END: I'm giving away a Daniel Wellington watch, and it's INTERNATIONAL!
Four hours in - I realised why I so very rarely do surveys..[info graphic on the actual site click here]...

STORYTIME // A LEVELS & A HIATUS

14 May 2016

may 2016 // art exams have started; my written exams are exactly four weeks away when writing this, but i'm still alive so you can all breathe again - i know you all can't survive without me. now, settle down - it's story time.

M: (The) Miniaturist by Jessie Burton - book review

06 May 2016

“Growing older does not seem to make you more certain, Nella thinks. It simply presents you with more reasons for doubt.”
Jessie Burton's debut novel is unquestionably alluring and complex with a host of characters and a strong base of research by the author; and, set in 17th century Amsterdam, it is a beautifully written peephole into the world at to the time. The Miniaturist, in all intents and purposes, is an intriguing mystery set in an unusual historical context, and should have been plain sailing throughout, if the international reception to the book is anything to go by.

LETTER CHAPTERS || an indomitable penchant

30 April 2016

I have an indomitable penchant for snail mail, that much is certain. the breath of ink against a crisp, new piece of paper. the mess of words, the tangle of stories and lists filling a page damp with personality. the image of excited fingers stumbling to rip open the envelope bursting with snippets of your life and what you love that you so painstakingly created over the course of moments in your spare time. sometimes i wonder why so many people gladly forgot and changed: to e-mails and whatsapp and twitter and facebook, for they are all useful, there's no doubt about that.

WINTER by Marissa Meyer (a book review told through gifs)

16 April 2016


books: cinder / scarlet / cress / winter | publisher: puffin | publication date: november 12th 2015 
summary: Princess Winter is admired by the Lunar people for her grace and kindness, and despite the scars that mar her face, her beauty is said to be even more breathtaking than that of her stepmother, Queen Levana.
Winter despises her stepmother, and knows Levana won’t approve of her feelings for her childhood friend—the handsome palace guard, Jacin. But Winter isn’t as weak as Levana believes her to be and she’s been undermining her stepmother’s wishes for years. Together with the cyborg mechanic, Cinder, and her allies, Winter might even have the power to launch a revolution and win a war that’s been raging for far too long.
Can Cinder, Scarlet, Cress, and Winter defeat Levana and find their happily ever afters? -goodreads
Trying to put into words how agonizing the wait was for this book is impossible. I owned a copy of Cress the day it was published, meaning I have been waiting A LONG TIME for this book: the last instalment of the Lunar Chronicles series. *cue a tiny tear dropping from my eyes*. The book is huge, and I read it in one day, all 800+ pages of it. Yep, I was very productive that day. So, having drowned in enough words to frazzle my brain, I thought I would 'write' a review in gifs, because why not: *throws professionalism out the window* - it's the only way I could feasibly explain to you all what this book did to my heart, and how much I love this series. WINTER tells of a battle of wits, luck, determination and courage. The characters are unique, the female characters are all strong and independent in their own ways (which I loved) and Iko is just...awesome. Marissa Meyer combines the elements of each fairytale she re-tells so perfectly and in such interesting and intriguing ways it's like nothing you've ever read before: a take so unique that you don't think: oh, another re-telling ever while you read it.
ALSO CAN WE JUST TAKE A MOMENT TO APPRECIATE  THE PERSON WHO ASKED ON GOODREADS: So if Winter is based off of Snow White wouldn't Cinder, Kai, Cress, Thorne, Wolf, Scarlet, and Iko be the 7 dwarfs???" HOW DID I NOT THINK OF THAT BEFORE?!

FIELD NOTES | MANCHESTER

09 April 2016

Over a year ago, in winter, I walked around town with my dad and took photos for my art project. My fingers froze, my toes almost froze, but I snapped some pretty pictures so I didn't mind. I don't know my way around town at all, it's too far for me to go just to explore on a free day, but not far enough that I've never been.

#OHJOURNALETC / MARCH RECAP + april prompts

02 April 2016

APRIL: it's time to fortify my revision cave and start studying instead of procrastinating, playing basketball, eating (and creating art of course). April brings rain, the occasional slice of sun, and stress. i am only scheduled up until the end of april [if i have time i will try to write some more posts] and please bear with my non-existent replied to comments and general disappearance on social media [instagram not included - i have no self-control when it comes to beautiful photos] - sadly my priorities are exams first, blogging second. but as soon as my exams are done and dusted, prepare for an explosion of creativity and new ideas and excitement [i hope]..

WORD WEAVING

26 March 2016


SOME AUTHORS' WRITING STYLES MAKE MY HANDS ITCH AND MY FINGERS ACHE TO STITCH MY OWN STORIES TOGETHER. one of my favourite posts from last year was 'the art of word shaking' in which i discussed the power and beauty of words. so i thought i'd create a part two to this unintentional 'series'. over the years, as an avid reader you collect fragments of inspiration from each book you read, be it the writing style, the way a book made you feel, a certain word that resonated with you - whatever it is, it sticks whether you want it to or not. for me, even the meaning of one word can inspire a whole host of ideas, so when i read books that call me to delve within them, my own heart aches to recreate that feeling with my own words.

SKETCHBOOK STORIES || chapter five [a study of time]

19 March 2016


JANUARY: 2016 // the sky is a paint palette of dark grey and black smudges, pools and washes; steel-coloured clouds float over the horizon, dripping rain onto people's bare heads, hoods, and umbrellas.

4 THINGS A BLOGGER HAS TO ACCEPT

12 March 2016

A common misconception that follows me around like a shadow whenever anyone is introduced to the fact that i blog is that it must just be a bit of fun. yes, it is. i say, if i didn't enjoy it i wouldn't be doing it. but it's not a 'bit' of anything, it takes up a significant amount of time and energy and brain power and creativity.

#OHJOURNALETC // MARCH

05 March 2016

IT'S MARCH? how have already two months of 2016 post? it's both depressing and exciting [a. because exams are looming ever close but b. so are the summer holidays.] i don't plan on doing much other than revision really so if i am quiet on all social media fronts then that is why. my life is currently taken up by many different art projects, 'from defeat to unity': germany 1945-1991, a whole host of psychology topics and essays, the crucible by arthur miller [a very good play which i recommend you reading] and an exploration of language comparisons in life and literature. fun times, of course ---

SKETCHBOOK STORIES | chapter four

27 February 2016

About a year ago, I inherited my grandad's two old film cameras, and they have been sat in my cupboard with their lenses and a small box of film ever since then. I love film photography, I wish I could use film cameras, but I have absolutely no idea how to use them. My digital camera I have now is extremely old and the manual settings don't work so I'm stuck using the automatic setting, and honestly that's fine for me - but at the same time it's hindering my chances of using a film camera any time soon because I'm not getting the practise of adjusting the aperture and shutter speed and other settings on my camera.

REBEL OF THE SANDS | BOOK REVIEW

20 February 2016


PUBLISHER: Penguin || PUBLICATION DATE: March 8th 2016 || GENRE: Fantasy
She’s more gunpowder than girl—and the fate of the desert lies in her hands. Mortals rule the desert nation of Miraji, but mystical beasts still roam the wild and barren wastes, and rumor has it that somewhere, djinni still practice their magic. But there's nothing mystical or magical about Dustwalk, the dead-end town that Amani can't wait to escape from. Destined to wind up "wed or dead," Amani’s counting on her sharpshooting skills to get her out of Dustwalk. When she meets Jin, a mysterious and devastatingly handsome foreigner, in a shooting contest, she figures he’s the perfect escape route. But in all her years spent dreaming of leaving home, she never imagined she'd gallop away on a mythical horse, fleeing the murderous Sultan's army, with a fugitive who's wanted for treason. And she'd never have predicted she'd fall in love with him...or that he'd help her unlock the powerful truth of who she really is. -goodreads
"SHE'S MORE GUNPOWDER THAN GIRL."

COLLECTIONS: FEBRUARY FAVOURITES

11 February 2016

FEBRUARY: the month of love (apparently: valentine's day means everything i see in the shop has hearts on or is pink which makes my cold, cold heart shrink away in disgust), the month of exams, the month of -oh-good-grief-it's-been-a-month-of-2016-and-nothing-has-changed-except-i-am-slowly-gaining-more-grey-hairs; the month of stress, the month of revision, mock exams and the month of rain. lot's of rain. It has signified the start of a creative collaboration, the continuation of a creative collaboration, rumblings of further collaborations and the start of a whole new art project for college, in addition to many hours spent pinning aesthetically pleasing photos of bedroom inspiration on my board: it's way past my bedtime. Here are some of my favourite things/that have happened/I have done this month:

ART JOURNALLING 101

06 February 2016


ART JOURNALLING 101: i do not consider myself an artist of any stature or recognition, however i don't think you need to be anything even close to that 'label' to enjoy art journalling. because art journalling has no rules, no regulations. it is simply: create. and to be a creative is largely a subjective idea. so i thought i'd address a few so-called 'tips' i have for art journalling, as it is one of my most frequently asked requests i have, besides photography tips.

#OHJOURNALETC // FEBRUARY

30 January 2016

IT'S BEEN ONE WHOLE MONTH SINCE 2016 HAS STARTED, and I feel no different. And I've done nothing different. I've even transitioned into writing '2016' on everything instead of '2015' fairly easily for once which is actually a little worrying. I have journalled more though, thanks to Areeba and I's creative collaboration #ohjournaletc which you should be participating in..*stares*.

2016 :: THE NEW YEAR?! + SURVEY

23 January 2016

We are officially in 2016. I am half a year closer to being old. I am still refusing to apply for my provisional license and learn how to drive. My A Level exams are breathing down my neck. Summer holidays seem so far away. BUT THE SUN IS SHINING AND THE SKY IS BLUE, (not really, this is england we're talking about.). What does all this mean though? It means my life is steeped in stress, but it also means I am aiming to sprinkle some fun into it, I am aiming to aim. I am going to be purposeful by having a clear purpose. In other words, let's make some goals for this slice of the web. Or, let's not, because I need some feedback first. (please? fill in this survey? I tried it, it took me five minutes, if you can't even spare that much time why are you reading this right now?) If you want, here is the (DIRECT LINK) otherwise, I have embedded the form below.

COLLECTIONS | 2015: HIGHLIGHTS

16 January 2016


tumbl-ing: many more photos as of late. at one point, it was addictive. then: i swept it out of my life in order to be productive and procrastinate less. now: it is my virtual mood board. [should i change the name to match all my other social media handles? i do like the name 'the flybird' but at the same time - professionalism.]
writing: this year i branched into writing articles for the guardian alongside book reviews, which i love doing and hope to continue - my 2015 thought pebbles inc. // in praise of lesser spotted YA novels // falling out of love with YA // why don't children's books talk about home-schooling? // Hermione is not black, but she's not white either...

blogging: i got a new design courtesy of my fantastic, wizard of a friend megan to coincide with my URL and blog name change to 'hawwa, etc'.
insta-gram'ing: back in the summer, i was featured on the instagram's own instagram [??!] and their blog [whereupon i shrieked internally for a good ten minutes straight] and then a month later, i was listed as a 'suggested user' [cue more internal shrieking]. therefore, i think this gives me enough validity to demand why you are not following me on instagram [if you aren't already - if you are, here's some pizza].
blogging: I passed 100,000 views sometime this year, I honestly can't remember when - I think it was pretty early, but, but - woah?! To some people that may not be a lot at all, but I am very proud of myself. I've been (properly) blogging for three years, I've made so many friends, and people actually appreciate what I'm doing?!
bloglovin': i reached 300 bloglovin' followers! which brings me to a total of -- more than five?! [the amount i had for the first half a year of blogging [which i don't really count as my first half a year of blogging due to the utter mess it all was]] which is insane?! i genuinely never thought i would still be blogging when i first started and how much i would love it. i originally started because it was something to do and it was more like my online diary which i now cringe to think of [i think my first post was me complaining about an upcoming drama and english exam..]
studying: and finally, last summer was that dreaded day: results - and for me, a previous home-educated student now at college studying AS levels, it was the worst and best day of the year. the worst because the build up to that one fateful day is intense, the worst because the college website crashed twelve times before it finally allowed me to long on, but the best because i was so so proud of my results -- now i have the joy of doing it all again for A Levels. what an exciting life i lead..
HOW WAS YOUR 2015*? WHAT WERE THE HIGHLIGHTS OF THE YEAR FOR YOU?
*fun fact: i kept writing 2014 in this post instead of 2015 - i clearly haven't caught up with the times yet. either that, or i am in denial that it is actually 2016 and i am getting old.

COLLECTIONS | 2015: FAVOURITE BOOKS

09 January 2016


THE SECRET HISTORY by donna tartt | if you've been following my blog for a while and still haven't read this book or put it on your TBR then why the heck not.

#OHJOURNALETC | introducing the project of 2016

01 January 2016


'oh areeba' + 'hawwa, etc' + a creative journalling idea = hawwaxareeba = #OhJournalEtc: a creative collaboration between one of my good blogging-friends of mine: Areeba. Each month we are going to post four creative journalling prompts on our blog, and each week we are going to complete one of those ourselves and share them on our instagram (with a wrap-up post for each of the four prompts and our responses every month, when we share the next set of prompts for the upcoming few weeks). We want it to be collaborative and inspiring, so these journalling prompts are for you too: you can complete as many pages as you want based on the prompts we post and share them under the instagram hashtag #ohjournaletc for everyone to see and take inspiration from. The four prompts for the month of January are: 1. 2016. 2. Blue. 3. Cultured. 4. "Art wasn't supposed to look nice; it was supposed to make you feel something." (Eleanor & Park by Rainbow Rowell) (p.s read Areeba's wonderful post here)