Tuesday, 31 October 2017

Essaouira


I think I have a thing with visiting cities with the most obscure names to spell. Apart from the strange hotbox in a coach situation on the way back from here and the music band that jumped onto the coach somehow, I loved the city and all the rasta, laid-back  vibe it had. Probably explains the coach, uh, issue. The stay here was short and sweet and to be honest, I only went because my cousin literally raved about it throughout the year whilst I was stuck in shitty London so as soon as I touched down in Casablanca, we got straight to planning the trip so I could see what I missed out.


Okay can we just start with the hotel -Hotel Cap Sim- because it's the cheapest place I've stayed in (£24 for two nights, including breakfast) with regards to the quality of it. The room was amazing and the lobby itself was so quintessentially Moroccan with the warm toned tiles, massive plants and patterned rugs. The rooftop itself was fully tiled with straw parasols and the view was so good,  I loved it. The city itself is quite small so you're essentially close to everything but this hotel is literally a few minutes away from the main square with all the cafes and restaurants. This was very useful after we went clubbing (it was my first time) and all I wanted to do was get back to the hotel and sleep after a long, long night of inhaling cigarette smoke, getting hit on by weird older men, paying extortionate prices for drinks and getting grabbed by my waist and pulled into a guy who I had smiled at earlier out of kindness and nothing else. Seriously, some people really take simple gestures way too far ha. 

Essaouira is a port town so fishing is the main trade there. My cousin and I briefly ventured out into the trading quarter and the amount of sea bass being flung into the air from seller to buyer actually mad. Just bare fish flying. There's a constant smell of salt water and sound of bellowing fishers will envelope you (your ears will be ringing by the time you're out)


My cousin (a fab photographer, might i add) let me borrow her 50mm lens for the photos above and I am in love with them. I never knew I was so fond of people watching but seriously, I might have to invest in this lens very soon. I like the different shades of blue in the first photo (overlooking where  some of Game of Thrones was filmed) where it's like a gradient of vibrancy and then the second photo seems like the man and seagull were in a heated staring contest in which bird trumps human. there goes my imagination again.


Despite solely eating falafel wraps throughout the whole two days (seriously, the guy memorised my order by the end of the trip) the city itself is literally full of vegetarian and vegan restaurants. Literally the most I've ever seen in a Moroccan city with so much choice in the dishes so my fellow plant based people, Essaouira is the place to go. The cafe pictured was my favourite place to go simply because the cream cakes were so cheap and tasted so good (no but seriously, I wish I could bulk buy and export them here) The place itself is such a cool environment with Bob Marley faintly playing in the background and hundreds of framed prints and paintings surrounding you.


Essaouira is known as the windy city so I took advantage of that and casually went and surfed for the first time. I'd like to put spontaneous decision that down to the confidence that my mediocre skateboarding and yoga skills gave me because without them, my balance would be subpar. If you ever get the chance to, surf. It's amazing and I'm so irritated I didn't take any photos during it but it's so exhilarating, the last thing I thought about was taking photos. Honestly my favourite thing ever and may be one of the reasons I applied to a coastal university (although I'm not sure how enjoyable it'd be in England ha)
So yeah. That's another travel post from Morocco done. When I came back to London I was so quick on compiling photos, starting to write them up but I took a moment to think. Instead of speedily trying to post them I thought I'd ration them out for when the days get tough and I want to reminisce on my summer and the comfort of being home. So here we are. With basically a day until my Oxford admissions test, which I feel woefully underprepared for, and literally 7 essays/past papers to complete by this week, I decided to seek refuge in my hazy summer memories and alas, here is the product of that. 

I hope you enjoyed this and the mini anecdotes that came with each photo. If you'd like to see more photos and stories from my summer then here's my summer in film post and also the time when I went to Chefchaoen (I wasn't joking about only visiting with weird names) 

-Dalal 

Thursday, 26 October 2017

my summer in film


A picnic in hyde park, early September.

I was dreading it mainly because I was trying to ignore the fact that I was going to have to go back to sixth form. Meeting with school friends would make me think of starting year 13 and then impending stress that was to come my way. You can tell how much I was dreading it, Ambra refused to go without me and forced me to "at least pretend I wanted to be there" I ended up having a good time in the end.

10/08/17 road to Chefchaoen 

the city itself is stunning with bright blue walls and crystal clear waterfalls, a bloggers heaven. But what I found so beautiful was the taxi ride there, the road there is basically on a series of mountains so you get winding lanes, greenery and extensive reservoirs of turquoise blue water. 

Mid-August, middle of the Strait of Gibraltar 

My sister and I took the disposable camera into the water to take some pictures. It was dusk and the sky was darkening whilst the sun was setting over the mountain in the West. We didn't know whether this photo would even work out, if we'd be completely out of shot or if it'd only capture one of our faces. After a 3 month wait, we discovered that it actually came out quite well. woo! 

Waiting for a taxi, another day in August

The thing with the North of Morocco is that it is so unbelievably mountainous. You will always see a mountain. It made mundane tasks like waiting to hail a taxi more enjoyable as you can just look up at a blue sky and these mountains. Let's pretend my finger in the corner is a light leak. 

28/8/17 Bank holiday weekend, Oxford

Straight after coming back to London after an amazing month in Morocco I went to the outskirts of Oxford with my dad and family. We've been staying in this massive stretch of land since I can remember, it's owned by some super rich people who my dad used to butler for. They've known me for my whole life. I always love going there, it's so secluded and peaceful. Being surrounded by acres of trees is so peaceful. The heated pool helps too ;)

10/8/17 Chefchaoen "The Blue Pearl of Morocco"

Quite ironic that I came here and took zero photos of the sheer blue-ness of the place on my disposable camera. Anyway, here's a view from our final spot. The palm trees are covering the massive waterfall below. We climbed down there (slippery rocks and freezing cold water are not a good mix) and had fresh orange juice. The oranges were floating in the water as a natural freezer and there were peacocks waltzing around.

Yet another August day, in the sea

I met this (very special) guy. We swam until dark everyday until we had to part ways. Turns out he lived across the Atlantic...

1/8/17 In Essaouira 

On the street of our hotel, holding my cousin and I's falafel wraps.  We had just come back from the beach after surfing, hence my dishevelled appearance, and were so hungry. My cousin said I looked so happy that this had to be my first photo on the camera. So I obliged. There was the sweetest black cat next to me which I was hoping would be in the shot. 

31/8/17 with my rock, near Canary Wharf

Whenever I see this guy he has something new going on in his life. And that makes me really happy because he deserves everything good in the world simply because he's so positive and lovable. We almost died on the river bank after the tide rose and were essentially stranded. He laughed whilst I was muttering prayers. The photo above is us, very happy because we managed to survive. A visit to the farm (literally opposite us, London is a weird place) calmed down the anxiety but dear Lord when the river started creeping up my life flashed before my eyes. 

So, that was my summer in analogue film. It was nice. A good month. It was very needed, a time to finally breathe and clear my head and meet with old friends. I loved being home in Morocco, it was such a comfort to be back somewhere which felt so familiar especially after spending the last year in a new sixth form surrounded by new people and studying new things. I tried new things that I wouldn't have ever thought I'd do: I cliff jumped, surfed, partied and explored more parts of the country. Despite crying on the plane home and on the tube back from Heathrow (my suitcase rolled down the whole carriage which made me cry even harder) my post holiday blues were quickly shut down by a 3 day trip to the country side. The weather was surprisingly good. My days here consisted of family meals, getting lost in the masses of trees, lazing around by the pool, making the most out of the hammock, brushing up on my tennis skills and hiking up hills. 

I've been waiting to write this and share my film photos for so long. I'm ready to look back on this post when I'm in the midst of revision. I can't wait to get another disposable and experiment with that. 

what's your favourite photo? 
hope you liked this! 

-love, Dalal 

Sunday, 22 October 2017

man's not hot












I'm currently snowed under with history revision, trying to make notes on the whole of the AS british period study course within a week. I already know that this half-term holiday is going to be everything but a holiday with biology exams, HAT practice and Spanish speaking prep all looming at the back of my mind. So I thought I'd throw it back to the beginning of September, a much simpler time where the stress of university applications and exams was only just starting to build up. My cousins were here from Morocco and I decided to take them around the area that I know best. There was a mini rave at the scoop so of course we hung out there before stumbling home a few hours later. I tried to make the most of the last "warm" days in the UK by braving bare legs, despite the fact I was wearing a turtle neck and north face jacket...you need to know the balance (shoutout if you got that reference)

Even though this week off is going to be filled with school work catchup (and inevitable failure in productivity) I've already started it off with a high note, meeting my nearest and dearest friends on Friday, making more plans for the week, going to the 'soul of a nation' exhibition at the Tate and scoring the ultimate bargain of 8 M&S sweet potato falafels for £1.20. I'm FINALLY going to get my disposable camera photos developed and scanned which I'm so excited about because I've been waiting for months to see the results of my frenzied summer snaps and documentations of the lethargic summer to autumn transition.

Anyway, I'm about to go out to explore the Bank area right now!

Sunday, 15 October 2017

survivin' w/Betty Box


Hazy memories of whole school assembly, after singing school hymns about refuge and solidarity, the headteacher makes an announcement telling the whole year 6 cohort to stay sat whilst everyone was dismissed. Confusion. and then it clicked. It was time. I remember getting handed a letter and seeing the word SEX and freezing in shock because how would I be able to hand that to my mum. A few years and many shitty sex ed lessons later, I'm here with what I can say is adequate knowledge on the matters, especially consent, rape and harassment. Primary school didn't teach me that. They told me that women bleed once a month and when a man and woman love each other a lot they have sex. They didn't tell me why we bleed or anything about other forms of sex. Not everyone is heterosexual. Primary school is such a 'sterile' environment and also a place for development, I know a lot of my friends who have come out to me said that they realised they were LGBTQ+ from primary school. So I find it strange that we weren't educated on how our fab rainbow counterparts have sex. Or how to deal with a situation when a member of the opposite or same sex makes you do something you don't want to do which is so necessary as a young child as there are some twisted people who will touch children inappropriately. Sexual education is so crucial within our society, I've found that youtube has taught me more about intercourse, puberty, STD's, consent and more than the national curriculum ever has. Female menstruation itself is such a taboo topic, my GCSE biology lessons on the menstruation cycle were often met with a) awkwardness as my teacher was male and b) very immature comments by the few boys in my class. I just find it strange that something so human is swept under the carpet. I digress.

I was sent an email by Betty Box asking if I would like to receive their September box. The company is a very body positive monthly subscription box which is tailored to your periods so you can get a few necessities and extras to get you through it. I never thought receiving a pastel highlighter through the post would make me so happy but there we go. I checked out their website (it's all very bright and colourful so it's very approachable) and looked at how it all works. I picked out my box type which can either be full of pads, tampons or mixed, my preferred absorbency, the brand (Bodyform or Always) and then the date you would like it to be delivered in accordance with your natural cycle. It's all very straightforward and honestly, when it arrived I was buzzing.

First of all, I thought that they would only send 3-5 pads but oh gosh was I wrong. I think I got around 20 which was such a pleasant surprise and so thoughtful of them considering how expensive they are. Everything comes in little pouches and patterned cardboard boxes which I find is so cute and makes it so much more personal and again, so approachable for younger girls. September's box was based around back to school so the stabilo pastel highlighter and adorably patterned post it notes were very welcome. Those who know me will be aware of my very bad habit of writing on my hands and arms because I can never reach my planner in time before I forget something. I always use the standard neon ones to study, I usually take notes regularly and then to condense it all and make sure I've grasped the concept of something like the Krebs Cycle in bio, I'll quickly write/sketch it out on a post it so I know that I fully understand it. Slightly extra but so useful. Can you tell I'm a huge post it note fanatic?

My friend Olivia is basically my stationary crush, she has all the pastel highlighters and as irrelevant as they are to me, I really wanted to buy myself a pack. Then this box came through the post and I saw that they had included one in it and trust me, the peach coloured one can make something as boring as the 2013 oxford HAT paper look good.

They also included a few snacks and products for wellbeing, I obviously ate the salted caramel popcorn and two of the truffles before I photographed them but o m g they were so good. I'm yet to try out the t-zone charcoal and bamboo pore strips or the chirp body hair mask but shall keep you updated on my instagram. I received the trust fund nail polish in 'omg dying' which is a sand-taupe 100% vegan and cruelty free polish. I looked into the brand and they follow the 10-free rule to try and produce the most ethical and cruelty free products! There was a bubble t lip balm in the 'Moroccan mint tea' scent which fits me to a t ;) it lives at the bottom of my school bag and the macaroon shape is surprisingly ergonomic. Last is an iron-on patch which I am yet to find a permanent home. I am one of those people who firmly believe in the evil eye, karma and all of that good stuff so to have something on me at all times alongside my evil eye earrings is more than welcome.

Although I was sent this box for review purposes, I can say that it is definitely worth the money for the sheer amount of product you get for the £12.99 price tag. There's a really online community on their website with articles from tackling FOMO to mental health so if the box isn't for you, the website itself might be.

Thank you to Betty Box for letting me try out your service and valuing my experiences so much. You find them here and their social medias are all under @bettycollective.

-dalal

Wednesday, 11 October 2017

what i've been... #2

what i've been doing-
Applying to university and trying not to cry at the confusion and aimlessness of everything that's happening. I don't even think I want to apply to half the places I have but time is slipping away from me as we speak and my application will be formally sent off this friday so it's too late. I've had to stay in school until the evening for oxford preparation for entrance exams and personal statement UCAS stuff. I haven't had a time to breathe. It's university stuff, homework and then extra reading whilst trying (and failing) to make time for yourself because priorities. I still have a blog post to write for a company and a blogging event to attend and everything is snowballing to even bigger inconveniences in my life. c'est la vie, bah ouais?

what i've been reading/watching-
A shit ton of historic books...some include A day in the life of Ivan Denisovich, A very short introduction to the Russian Revolution, The Night Malcolm X Spoke at the Oxford Union and some Spanish books like 100 Years of Solitude. I've been getting home at 6-7pm everyday because of uni applications and HAT practice so I never really have time to watch anything anymore...I have to say that watching those strange Good Morning interviews with Holly Willoughby and Phillip Schofield have had me hooked. I can spend 2 hours watching them from super inspirational ones to others about auctioning your virginity for millions without actually looking into the safety and health threats of it. I love those episodes where it's just the two of them laughing, definitely averts the stress and flashing signs in my mind. 

what i've been listening to-
The Neighbourhood released their new EP so I've been listening to that, I love 24/7 the most. Kendrick Lamar's album has been on ever since it was released, it was the only album I had on my phone (low storage struggles) and I often found myself without wifi or data when I was in Morocco so I would settle on banging out DAMN. for a few hours to entertain myself. I've found Jorja Smith's music too, a few faves are On My Mind, Teenage Fantasy, Blue Lights and Where Did I go. And to remind myself of the time I nearly moved to Amsterdam (for forever ever) I've been bumping Alright by Leafs ft Yung Nnelg. I also frequently listen to Hindi Zahra's Beautiful Tango because it reminds me of Morocco and summer. Navajo by Masego is a tune as well. I feel like it's describing me..."everywhere this little girl goes she picks up another obstacle."

what i want-
A pair of vagabond dioon boots and some peace of mind lol. I originally bought the nubuck version but they just don't look a nice as the smooth leather version. It sucks that Office doesn't stock the non-animal ones but what can you do :( But yes. I need them. They look perfect for the coming season.

what i've been anticipating-
Anticipated to me sounds as if I'm waiting for something good. Well I'm not. I don't think I have anything to look forward to other than stressful exams, an entrance exam, possible academic interview and more mental instability. If I can't be depressed on my own site then where else can I? I have planned some things for this summer and will be going to Berlin this march but again, nothing is really exciting me anymore...maybe I've slipped even more.

let me know what you've been up to in the comments!
-dalal