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).
what has been happening? you ask with wide eyes and a furrowed brow, where have you been? well, this summer i think i've travelled the most in the shortest space of time in my whole life - oh, you want to know more about it? well good, i was going to tell you anyway.

A Levels, revision, the usual. Also exams. And Ramadan: That combination together wasn't the best thing in the world but I got through it, I survived, and I lived to to tell the tale. Pro-tip, don't do what I did and say, yes I will drink lots of water at suhoor time (the time when you wake up to eat before sunrise which was at around 2am this year if I remember rightly) and then when you actually wake up, bail on that commitment because the taste of water is gross in the early hours of the morning when you haven't brushed your teeth and you just want to be asleep, don't do that. You'll regret it in the morning when you have an exam and you feel light-headed - fasting 18+ hours a day while revising and sitting exams is hard enough without feeling seriously dehydrated.
Also June: I BOUGHT MY FIRST EVER DSLR: (the Canon 600D and it is so beautiful and ahhh, the wait/saving up was worth it.)
July was the month where I finished my A Levels, Eid came and went and I tried to process the fact that after two years of hard work and commitment I had sat my exams and I had free time. Free time?I know, a novel concept that took me a while to comprehend and make use of. July was the month of travelling for me.

I visited Scotland (Kishorn, which was beautiful and blessed us all with fairly decent weather) and then to Spain, where, if you have me on snapchat, will know that while it was beautiful, it was very very hot (around 35-37 degrees on average and rising to 40 degrees the day we flew home) and also where we stayed on top of a mountain: a mountain with no roads bearing tarmac leading up to them, a road where there were no side barriers, a road with a very steep drop and steep slopes and a road which the 2-wheel drive hire car could not deal with. I actually dreaded waking up every morning because I knew I'd be getting in the car and potentially driving off a mountain's edge every day). But, and there is a big but, Spain was beautiful.

We went to Andalusia and visited Granada, Cordoba, Malaga, Ronda and also drove through Marbella and through the mountains and the Pueblos Blancos while there. I have so many photos to edit it is ridiculous, to be honest I probably won't have sorted through them by next year..
In this month I also decided to defer my place at uni to study history (and perhaps a minor in something else, maybe middle-eastern studies, who knows..) and take a gap year. But not a laze around the house gap year, for one I wouldn't be allowed, and for two, that would just be a waste of my time unless I could become world-famous for something in that time, maybe write a few bestselling novels.. - no. I decided to defer and study art foundation this year. Why? Because I love art, and I want to carry it on as long as possible before following the maze of life from uni > job or from uni > unemployed and failing at life. Hopefully the first option will occur -- 
We arrived home on the 30th July and from then on I was in a state of perpetual fear over my exam results. Some people are calm about them, I am not one of those people. 18th August came and went, I got my exam results, I was ecstatic (and also slightly disappointed because I am that irritating individual who is annoyed at getting an A when an A* could be had).

I also went to London for two and a half days with my younger brother where we spent some time embodying the 'London tourist' badge, spent way too much time on the tube and stayed at our aunt's house with our cousins. Then, back home to reality back to being a student. 


  • I MADE A YOUTUBE CHANNEL, SO GO & SUBSCRIBE. Sadly right now the videos are absolutely appalling because I have no video editor (my laptop is old and geriatric and cannot cope with any sort of software like that) but hopefully one day I'll have a laptop that can cope with some video editing software..) Hopefully in a few years time I'll look back on these first few videos and think, ah, I remember way back when I was incompetent at filming and had no editing software, look at me now.
  • FALLING OUT OF LOVE WITH BLOGGING? Recently, I've been feeling detached from the blogosphere as a whole. Every time I put a lot of effort into a blog post, it always gets the most minimal response and i'm getting tired of that. I go through this mindset almost every year and I think it comes with the territory of putting all your effort into something you love and then not getting the response that you hoped for.

I've been debating whether or not to quit blogging completely, or just take a hiatus for a while, or post less frequently, or post more frequently to slap the blogging slump in the face but what are your thoughts, since you're the people that actually read this blog? I'd still be present on social media, especially instagram, and I want to work on video making (even though I don't have any editing software, I can still improve how and what I film). As I'm writing this I doubt I will stop blogging completely because I love it too much. But it still feels even better when people respond positively to things you share and create - what are your favourite things I post about? What would you like to see more of? And if you have any video suggestions (right now, they'd have to involve my face not being in them) let me know. also, what did you get up to this summer?


  1. DAMN i am so jealous, *gasp* pretty please more travel posts on all of this amazingness?
    on the note of wanting to give up blogging, you're not alone - my posts (after i stopped book blogging and began to only comment on blogs i enjoyed) rarely get more than three comments, sometimes less than that and occasionally none - it does feel like i'm invisible sometimes and i feel like so much of the hole 'blogging success' is based on creating content more for your audience than yourself or just spamming a hundred blogs a week so you get exposure, i used to do that but it feels wrong and like i'd only be getting readers commenting on my blog who simply want comments back, not readers who ACTUALLY enjoy my work - now i think of my blog more as a place to experiment with different kinds of content and engage with the small number of people in the blogosphere i've been lucky to befriend, a way to constantly improve my photography, art and writing - and i think maybe i'd like to write for an art/lit mag one day (impossible dream, but yh) so this blog is a good way for me to practice? no clue if they made any sense or just sounded rambly haha, but basically I've sort of given up on the idea of being even remotely well known, i'm just gonna make stuff and we'll see what happens *shrugs*

    p.s. i can totally guarantee in about a week i'll take all of this back and feel like giving up on the whole thing all over again, but i think most people do that.



    1. oh gosh yes I remember those days when spamming blogs in exchange for comments/a follow back was a legitimate thing that people did - I never did really because I was too lazy haha - there's a difference between spamming and networking xD.
      NOT AN IMPOSSIBLE DREAM, (my dream also, even cooler if it could be a mag I founded..) but yeah, I definitely know what you mean and that is why I started blogging and what keeps making me continue despite the slumps every now and then. I think the effort v response and subsequent disappointment just catches up every now and then..

      hahah no! don't stop blogging! if i don't, you can't. okay? ;p

  2. Ah, seems like your summer was spent as fully as it could have been. What does an art foundation entail?
    I think your posts are fine just the way they are and am always happy to read them. Please share more of your art with us (congrats on getting the DSLR, those things are damn expensive, and I love your photos regardless) and your thoughts, of course.
    I think it's fine to deal with a blogging slump by not blogging. Have you watched Kiki's Delivery Service? Studio Ghibli movies help me a lot.
    Also, Hawwa, are you a fan of anime?

    1. Art foundation is basically a 1 year uni 'degree' in which you dabble in all sorts of art from fine art to graphic design, textiles, photography and media, usually done in order to decide what specialism of art you want to focus on as your actual degree e.g. illustration.
      I definitely will! I've never really delved into the world of anime actually..

  3. SO MUCH TRAVEL. IT'S ALL SO BEAUTIFUL.😍😍 And congrats on getting good results back on your exams! And aaaalso congrats on your camera!! I have a Nikon, but just DSLRs are aaamazing and one day I'll even learn how to use mine more than just clicking on automatic. hhhaha. #shame 😂

    Oh I'm sad you're not loving blogging anymore. *weeps bitterly* You are such an amazing blogger and SO INSPIRING TO ME, BTW. But I totally understand if you stop, because like what is the point of doing something that you're not enjoying, right? I would miss reading it tho. But still!! Do what's best for YOU! :D

    1. THANK YOU AND AHHH yes, I was debating between a Nikon (the one you have actually) or the Canon but ended up with the Canon. LOL yes, i'm trying to teach myself how to use the camera in manual right now actually...
      CAIT STOP, SO MANY COMPLIMENTS, what do i do with myself. After writing this post I think I'm definitely not going to STOP, i mean..what would i do without blogging? IT'S SO FUN.

  4. You travelled so many in the past months! I've always wanted to visit Spain, so I've been saving for a trip there :D Also, congrats for your exam results! I'm so sad that you don't love blogging anymore! I always love your art post, especially the journalling ones! It's really gorgeous and inspiring! I hope you'll just take a break and come back instead of quitting permanently :(

    Also, I think everyone has been having some problems with blog? Like it has been a really slow month for all of us...

    Tasya // The Literary Huntress

    1. Spain is so beautiful!! and thanks! awh i think that's pretty much what everyone has been telling me so i guess i should work on more of those..I think I will! I don't think I could ever bring myself to stop blogging completely!

  5. I completely understand where you're coming from with a lack of love for blogging. It's a real inner battle when you work extremely hard on your posts to receive a lack of reception or response. YOU DO YOU and do what you think's best for you, but you're a brilliant blogger Hawwa, and it would be a shame if you weren't around to be such an inspiring one.
    Very, VERY, maybe... a little jealous of your trip to Spain - your photos here and on Instagram are stunning XD


    1. exactly, it's so disheartening but at the same time WHO CARES, i'm just going to do my own thing ;) awwh thank you!! <3

  6. oh, I can relate to so many things about blog slump, doubts and videos. You can always do a youtube video and embed it here on the blog with few words. I think it's a great compromise to keep things running in both places.
    I started reading your blog recently, and what attracted me was a mix of personal and art related blog posts. Its a great balance for me of diary and usefulness. Thank you for that!

    I love you sketchbook stories. I would love to see a video with sketchbook flip-through and you talking about inspiration, influences and ideas. Also maybe a video showing your favorite art books? or any kind of books. maybe a flip through some of them. Even if they are popular, I am sure you have your own reason for liking them - and I would love to know that!

    1. Yes, I was thinking i might do that occasionally if i want to post something but don't have much time.

      awwh thank you! and thanks for letting me know, it's always good to have an idea of what's most enjoyed!

      ooh yes yes yes. i really want to do something like that. maybe when i get over my fear of being on camera..:O

  7. HEY BRO! I've said it abt 4 times already but I'm saying it again, I'M SO HAPPY YOU'RE DOING ART! How is it going?!!!!

    I didn't know you'd come to Scotland!!!!! I don't actually know where Kishorn is *hemhem* but I'm glad you had a good time and a good trip to Spain even if it was so vair vair hot. Also London! I just watched your video and it FILLED ME WITH LONGING FOR THE NATIONAL GALLERY. I'm hoping to go down in November though we'll have to seeee ... (Also I just applied to UCL, LOL. I'm back in the ole UCAS positchz. Ugh @ life.)

    I'm well jell that you have a DSLR! But your photos look lovely. ~wistful/envious mutterings~

    Anyway brah I hope college is going super super well (GAP YEAR SQUAD UNITE) and I'm very sorry you are not loving blogging! </3 I don't really know what to say except that I love your blog and therefore you should keep writing it?? Hmm good advice Emily ... Anyway. If you're not enjoying the process of writing then maybe you should take a break ((run away with us for the summer, let's go upstate!-- do you listen to Hamilton??)) ... I think the key thing about blogging is to love what you're creating rather than obsessing over the response. But I don't know, it is tough when people don't seem to be loving your work. For me, having, like, five dedicated pals makes it worth it ... But of course it's got to be a personal thing. ~adjusts half-moon glasses~ I don't know, Harry ...

    I'm gonna go but lots of love! :*


      awwh why thank you. two weeks in and I HAVE SO MANY BRIEFS AND DEADLINES AND PROJECTS AND HALP.

      oooh yes yes, i forgot to film in the national gallery (oops) but it was veeerryyy nice and WHAT, disgraceful. how can you not know where Kishorn is?

      EEP IT'S SO PRETTY and was definitely worth the very long wait i had to finally buy one!

      also ew ew ew thank goodness i'm away from that UCAS life, but GOOD LUCK.

      yep, i think it's just the old blogging slump that comes and goes every year but never means much - probably because i put so much time into's inevitable. *sigh* BUT THANKS FOR LOVING IT. you're basically my number one fan with the amazing long comments - shall i make you a weasley jumper with 'number 1' on it or? ;)

  8. Happy to see you back :) I've sort of fallen out of love with blogging too. Just subscribed to your YT channel!

    1. Thanks and awh no! I feel like it's the month of blogging slumps ahha.

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