Sunday, 31 December 2017

welcome, 2018



I don't want to say that 2017 was tough but it definitely wasn't a smooth ride. I feel like I did not make the most out of this year: academically and digitally. I did not invest the time and energy into my blog that I anticipated and I also feel like I have had some academic pit-falls but as the saying goes "before something great happens, everything falls apart" which I am trying to engrain into my mind.

I remember refusing to write a 2017 goals post this time last year because they were so cliched and painfully generic. I ended roughly writing one on a piece of a4 paper and now that I skim through it, I did manage to achieve quite a few of the goals set. I went vegetarian, I learned how to surf, I travelled, I practiced Spanish and have improved massively, I interacted and made friends with new bloggers, cleared my skin and I have tried to sleep more. These seem to be so small and trivial but it is so comforting to look back and think "I actually did that"

So now, as we move closer to the new year I thought I would publish my goals on my blog, perhaps as a way to get them out there or just to have something that will hold me accountable.

- 2018 is the year that I will sit my final A-level examinations. I want to do well. I would love to achieve AAA or perhaps A*AA. It won't be easy, especially with the new specifications, but it has been done before. I, however, do not want to jeopardise my health and happiness for these grades. I don't want to be a miserable, constantly-studying robot.

- A gap year is still a possibility. I think having a year away from education would be a well-needed break. The thought of an empty year with no structure is extremely daunting but exciting at the same time...I could fill it with anything. If I do take a gap year I would love to learn more languages. I just got back from Vienna earlier on in the day where I took on 3 hour a day German courses each day (after all the sightseeing) and it's safe to say it's definitely something I want to continue.

- University abroad? I've applied to study History and Spanish. I don't think that is ultimately what I want to study. Relating back to the gap year goal, firmly deciding on a degree course is definitely one for obvious reasons. I visited Universität Wien and of course I fell in love. Tuition fees are essentially free and I think applying there would allow me to have a clean slate. I can study what I want without my past/current application haunting me...biology, languages or even just sticking to history.

- I would aim to go vegan but I don't think it's possible. I'm comfortable with vegetarianism. Maybe I'll try eating vegan at least once a week.

- I want to be more inspired this year. A) I'm going to need it with all the coursework deadlines, exams and overall imminent stress coming my way and B) being inspired puts me in a good headspace. I'm writing this post after watching a lot of Kicki Yang's youtube videos and looking through her tumblr blog, she is definitely winning.

- Become fluent in Spanish.

- Move my blog in a fresh direction. I have had this space since 2012 and it has seen me through every phase of my life and the cultural hype that surrounded them: pastel/floral, hipster, grunge and scandi/minimalism. Thankfully I have managed to revert many of the posts from said eras back to drafts. I think it's time that my blog takes a more creative turn. I want to branch out and *cliche* push myself out of my comfort zone. I've realised that my readers like my clothes, which is so baffling, as my highest engagement were in the months I published at least one outfit post so perhaps outfit posts will make more appearances on here.

- Increase my blog following. I don't really care much about instagram and have already acknowledged that it'll only ever be a place for me to share fun photos and make cool instagram stories. I don't have an aim to hit 10k followers or anything ridiculous because I have accepted defeat at the hands of that algorithm. I do want to increase my page views and bloglovin followers as opposed to instagram because it shows that people are reading what I write, and that is what is most important to me. Maybe reach 100,000 page views and 400 bloglovin followers...

- Turning 18. I will be a legal adult this time next year, even though I feel far from that. I don't drink so I don't expect the whole turning 18 ritual of getting pissed of your nut to be happening any time soon.

- I want to start playing the violin again. I have fallen back into love with music and practiced a few weeks ago to see if I had forgotten everything. I haven't! I've ordered a violin but it's taking very long to arrive, probably because of the christmas period (that's what I'm telling myself)

- Make more of an effort with my appearance.

- Travel. It's another cliche but I really want to explore more of central-eastern Europe, the Scandinavian countries, Italy and, of course, Spain. I think it would be a cool experience to go back to Spain 2 years later, considerably more fluent and actually able to speak in Spanish. I don't know if my interrail plans will ever come to fruition but regardless, I want this year to be filled with new countries.

- Get my ears pierced. I already have the basic first ones but I'd like to get my seconds done, helix and rook. I'd also like to expand my jewellery collection. I love the minimalist boutiques on depop so I'll probably be adding more to my collection from there.

- Try not to distance myself so much. They say that sixth form and university are some of the best years of your life, socially. I don't feel that way.

- Spend time with "online" friends from blogging. This is definitely one I want to do.

I want to express my gratitude to you for reading Monochrome Daisies throughout 2017 and being so patient with me. I hope you all have a wonderfully successful 2018 and do let me know if you have any goals in the comments; we can motivate each other!

-Dalal

Wednesday, 20 December 2017

my corner


My room has always been something I've been disconnected to, I seem to surpass every typical teen stereotype of your room being your haven and barely spend any time there. I think the fact that I share it with my sister and the wifi doesn't connect that strongly there (very first world problem) explain that. I realised that the reason I'm not too keen on my room, a place that should be my sanctuary, is because there is nothing of 'mine' in there. Nothing is me or representative of me, apart from an overspilling bookshelf and stacks of textbook and lever-arch folders but even they have moved themselves to the living room window sill.

Getting a disposable camera changed that completely. I had originally gotten it as a way to document my summer as my phone is so unreliable that I couldn't bare the possibility of not being able to take a photo because of full storage or my phone just shutting down and resetting itself (this happened thrice in August) But eventually, these developed photos held so much sentimental value to me I decided to put them in a place that I believed they deserved to be: on top of my bed where I'll always see them. These pictures are ones of my sister and I, my mum, my grandma, my cousins, dear friends (some from secondary school and some from sixth form) and pictures of beautiful landscapes. It truly makes me smile when I look at them and think of the backstories to each of these photos, especially that one at the bottom with my friend Jose and I smiling despite our near-death, anxiety fuelled river Thames experience a few minutes beforehand. I will always treasure these photos.

I've also stuck up some post cards. Unsurprisingly, both are from Oxford- the city that I had, unfortunately, fallen in love with. The sunset one was bought when I was there for a week long summer school and I decided to write myself a letter encompassing the immense feelings of pure joy I felt that week, exploring the old buildings, botanical gardens and trying out an ice cream flavour each day in the height of British summer. All with a good friend of 6 years. The other post-card is from Katie who I seem to mention many times on this blog but in a time where I feel crazy loneliness, she's one of the only people I really speak to and can relate to. It's got a few colleges and the Radcliffe camera on it, thankfully it doesn't have a photo of the college I'd applied to as that would have been a lovely kick in the face ;) It's a really lovely postcard and the message she sent on it is equally as good. I also have another post-card from Katie, it was one of the first ones she sent to me alongside her letters. I liked the print and thought I'd stick it up.

James Dean. Who would I be without this weird idol I have? And seeing as this part of my wall is meant to show me, this is the perfect addition. I bought a print of the Rebel Without A Cause movie poster because a) it's my favourite film b) I love the colours on it c) James Dean is on it and d) the line "they both came from good families!" I think it truly captures attitudes in the mid 1950's.

I have a few weird things up too, like an iron on patch about good karma which came in a Betty Box. I don't really have anything I'm willing to put it on, my backpack is a maroon colour so that would clash like crazy. There's also a paint swatch because this exact shade of blue is what I envision when I'm anxious and my heart rate escalates and I need to calm myself down. Then a piece of wrapping paper that I received in a letter which I really liked the print of and also a 'Free Palestine' sticker which I got from a protest.

Last is this totally shitty mock timetable. I try to avoid looking at it, hence why it's so high up. I think I'm in a good place where I'm very happy my subjects (even though at times I question everything ahem history coursework) so there are certain exams I have that I'm slightly looking forward to. With every exam month, I always write myself a message on the timetable because even though it sounds stupid, when the exams roll around and I'm constantly checking what I have when I'm also seeing "you can do it! prove them wrong! aim high!" scrawled on there too. Please send me all the good vibes for these January mocks.

Et voila. I hope you liked the little insight into my photo wall! I'm definitely looking to add to it in the future so if we ever meet up and I happen to have a disposable camera, you will have the pleasure ;) of being up on my wall. okay that sounds creepy now

Do you have a photo wall? 
-Dalal

Tuesday, 12 December 2017

what I've been... #3

The last time I did this post was in early October and now we're in December, a lot of things have changed so I thought I'd do an updated version of this. Reading over my previous one I can definitely sense the unease and mental instability that prevailed...I'm here to tell you that that's still the case now! wooooo

what i've been doing-
I've had quite a torrential few days. I met Katie on a few Saturdays ago and had a day full of walking, pizza, conspiracy theories spray painted near bus stops, literal tears streaming down my face, holding that pizza box half way through london, hiking up a hill *still holding the pizza box*, getting on the wrong bus only for the next bus to have the same very distinctive bus driver with the final defining of our blogs as being places where we record existential crises. As you can tell, it was a very good day ;)  I also went out to dinner with my family and friends that same evening (I could barely keep my eyes open) and ended up being restricted to solely speaking Spanish with my dads Ecuadorian friend. I loved every second of it. Saturday was a good day. Sunday? Not so much. You can read my "Rejection" post here if you're curious...or just nosy. Fast forward a week and a bit- I protested against Trump's incredibly sensitive decision to recognise Jerusalem as the capital of Israel and then the next day I went and protested against the slave trade in Libya. Both causes are very close to my heart and I will support them until the day I die. I have an interview at Queen Mary tomorrow. I've already received an offer from them but I was called to interview because of "potential" Whatever that means. So I'm going in tomorrow and hopefully can leave with an unconditional offer. I really love academic interviews, especially about history. The mock interviews I had for Oxford were some of the most academically enjoyable things I've undergone because I was truly able to be prodded into reaching an argument and making crazy links that I wouldn't ever have done without the pressure exerted- nevertheless, I'm really looking forward to tomorrows interview.

what i've been reading/watching-
I finished Stranger Things a few weeks ago and I now have a massive void and have been yearning for the weird sci-fi episodes to grace my screen. I am proud to say that the void has been partially filled by setting Joe Keery as my lock screen, watching every interview I can find and pouring over every Stranger Things 'crack' video on youtube...they are gold. I am enamoured with the character of Steve Harrington and his maternal instincts throughout s2. I haven't been doing much recreation reading, mostly just articles about Elizabeth I's parliament, Lord Burghley and Puritan vs Catholic factions. It's not fun (as you probably imagine) On a more fun note, I watched La Casa de Bernarda Alba at the Cervantes theatre a few weeks ago and although the theatre itself was super small and located under a train railway, the play itself was amazing. The actors were so talented and really made it feel like we were in a small town in 1930's Andalusia. On the topic of Spain, I've written my first ever blog post solely in the language. I don't know how many people that appeals to now that I think of it. shit.

what i've been listening to-
The Stranger Things soundtrack is possibly the best thing ever on Spotify. Listening to it in the study room is so lovely because it's perfect and mellow enough to actually study too but also reminds me of the amazing series I watched as well. Can you tell that I loved the show? I stumbled across The Weeknd's Often (kygo remix) which I used to bang out in year 10 and I still know the lyrics off by heart I think that says a lot about me ha. I've also gotten into Majid Jordan's new album, I love 'body talk', 'you', 'phases' and 'the space between' They have a really nice R&B and synth 80s sound which is weirdly a really good mix. Of course, Daniel Caesar's Freudian album has remained a firm favourite. I recently discovered a new podcast (bear with me) called "Coffee Break" and it's specifically for language learners. They offer them in Spanish, Italian, French and German and seriously they are so good! Just being able to sit on the bus on my 30 minute journey and listening to the language and focussing on grammar, sentence structures, idioms and vocabulary has helped so much.

what i want-
There hasn't been much that has appealed to me, much to the capitalist system of consumerism's despair. Black friday sales were meh. After watching Stranger Things (I'll shut up about it soon) I wouldn't mind a pair of flares and Nike cortez's- I think the whole 80s style would be a cool look to experiment with...I've also seen this amazing dark green suit at H&M and I'm envisioning it with slick straight hair and a bold red lip but I can't justify spending £60+ just on a vision lol. A bit less fashion orientated is a desk. Yep, a desk. I don't have one but I've come to the realisation that it is exactly what I need in my life. Those who know me will know that I spend all my time in the study room, on one particular table (it's in the corner and is surrounded by 3 huge windows and right next to the heaters) and if that desk isn't free, I'll go home. That stubbornness has led to a lot of procrastination although by now, everyone knows to leave it free for me every Wednesday periods 3,4,5 and 6 as well as periods 5 and 6 on Thursday and Friday, I've still missed out on so many hours of potential work being done. Also weekends are hopelessly unproductive and so are my holidays therefore a desk is absolutely imperative. Have I argued my case enough? Perhaps I should change my potential career path to law lol.

On another note, I bought a backpack a few days ago and it arrived yesterday and oh my it's amazing. After my old zara one broke I was reduced to using canvas tote bags which killed my shoulder, especially as my laptop always comes to school with me nowadays. Padded straps, laptop compartment and spacious enough to fit in a lever arch folder without making me look like an enthusiastic year 7...tis a dream.

what i've been anticipating-
The Christmas holidays! This term has been one of serious emotional tests and I just want to catch up on lost sleep in all honesty. I have my mocks in January so a huge chunk of the holidays will be filled with revision but thanks to my fantastic "revise in your frees and stay in after school till they kick you out" policy, I've managed to get most of it done during the term. I think most of my revision will take the form of practice essays for history, past paper questions for biology and fuck knows what I'll do for spanish- probably just analyse symbols and themes from the literature module. I'm pretty relaxed about these mocks (for now) and I'm hoping they won't be too demanding. Also I may be going to Brighton with Lexie this month and then reciprocate that later whenever Katie's travel doesn't cost her an arm and a leg. I'm going to Vienna at the end of December and I am very excited for that because although it's quite an understated destination, it is packed full with history being a firm favourite of Stalin, Trotsky and other revolutionaries. It will be a good 4 days ;)

SO yes, that's everything that has been happening in my life in the past few weeks. As irrelevant as it may all sound, it's so relaxing to be able to cast my mind back to everything that has been happening and swimming around in my mind and solidifying everything in the form of a blog post. I look forward to reading this in a few months or even a years time ;)

what have you been up to?
-dalal

Sunday, 3 December 2017

finalmente!

Siempre me he querido escribir un blog post solamente en Español, y ahora estoy haciendolo (finalmente!)

Aunque no tengo un gran numero de personas en los paises hispanohablantes que leen mi blog (pero si estas de alguien pais que habla español, por favor queda aquí ;) como he dicho antes, siempre he querido escribir en un idioma diferente y como un estudiante de español por cuantos anos, me siento que ahora es el correcto tiempo en que estoy en un nivel de competencia en el que puedo lograr uno de mis metas.


Entonces, voy a dejar de divagando (puedo hablar por días cuando quiero) No tengo un plan definido por este post pero es lo mismo por todos mis otros publicaciones aquí jaja, así que voy a hablar sobre mis planes porque para la primera vez, tengo mas de usual (wooo dalal finalmente tiene una vida social) Los últimos semanas del cuatrimestre siempre son estrenaste con los simulacros de exámen y los plazos, pero tengo algunos cosas que estoy deseando.


Este sábado, voy a encontrar con mi amiga de Internet, Katie! Por los últimos meses, al principio de nuestros aplicaciones al Universidad de Oxford, nos hemos convertido en amigas cercas. También, tenemos un esquema de 'pen pal, en que enviamos cartas etc lo que me parece muy guay porque muestra el poder de los letras que existe todavía en un mundo dominada por cosas electrónicos y digitales. Vamos a explorar Londres: comer, ir a los museos, las galerías de arte y generalmente pasemos el rato. Si ambos nos invitan a los entrevistas en Oxford (dedos cruzados) podemos vea la ciudad juntos también. Mis otros planes? Creo que Lexie, Katie y yo vamos a Brighton en unas semanas. Lexie visita la ciudad con mucha frecuencia por lo que conoce todas las cosas interesantes que hacer y podemos evitar hacer las cosas más típicamente turísticas. También estoy en un grupo de otros bloggers (Fran, Kate, Lucy, Abi, Liv y Sophie) de mi edad y podríamos tener un dia en Londres también pero no se ha finalizado todavía. Y finalmente, durante los vacaciones de Navidad quizás voy a Strasbourg en Francia en los primeros cinco días y luego en el final del mes, voy a visitar Vienna. Estoy tan emocionado a hacer los excursiones a pie sobre los comunistas y la segunda guerra civil, visitar el "Cafe Central" que era un favorito por todos las personas que han cambiado nuestra sociedad (en maneras negativas y positivas) como Trotsky, Tito, Freud y Stalin y también visitar el museo de Freud que esta en su casa real. Hay muchos otros excursiones obviamente pero los tres que he mencionado son mis prioridades ;) si has visitado Vienna y tienes algunos consejos hazme saber en los comentarios.

Cambiando de tema, he acabado viendo Stranger Things y dios mío, todos necesitáis verlo! Es mi nuevo serie favorito y no puedo recomendarlo mas. Los personajes, especialmente los niños son tan talentosos y el argumento es realmente increíble. Estoy enamorada con el carácter de Steve Harrington, especialmente en la segunda temporada cuando tiene el papel de ser como un madre a los niños, y su pelo <3__<3


Voy a terminar esta publicación de blog aquí porque a) No tengo nada más que decir y b) escribir en otro idioma y tener la gramática y el vocabulario correctos es muy agotador. Creo que he tenido que usar el sitio web del diccionario español cientos de veces para comprobar si mis sentencias tiene sentido.


Espero que les haya gustado esta forma de contenido en mi blog y tal vez haga más posts en español en el futuro


-saludos, dalal