Okay so uhhh where do I even start with this post? Perhaps a warning that this will probably be super long because oh my god it's been months since I last posted on here and it feels like I've lived more in these last few months than I have in my life. I remember writing a simple line in my phone notes at 4am as I lay awake in my sleeping bag and looking up at the stars and watching the sky lighten as the sun rose: I fucking love my life. 

The months of quarantine were the necessary period of time for me to recuperate from the frantic pace of life...the anxiety, the stress and perpetual feel of dread that basically followed me everywhere. Looking back on it now in mid September with talk of a second lockdown approaching, all I can really remember from those seemingly never ending months of quarantine was my heightened appreciation for running, netflix, banana bread, Thursday 9pm claps for the nhs which seems so dystopian now and tiktok. As lockdown began to ease I went back to Exeter to collect some clothes as the pyjamas and fleeces I'd hurriedly packed when returning were no longer cutting it for me. I later returned for another week in July to empty my room before my tenancy ended. 

The weeks I spent back in Exeter were healing, therapeutic and reminded me of the beauty of the outside world, Devon especially - new friends made unexpectedly, cooking risottos and discovering the wonder that is tenderstem broccoli, dancing in gardens, finding new beaches, charity shops, having Katie over and our evening candle lit strawberries and chocolate (only to have my absolute bitch of a flatmate rain on our parade), cycling, swimming in the river Exe, tanning in the garden and reading Murakami that my strange American flatmate lent me, almost getting Lyme disease from hiking through some woods and getting put on such strong antibiotics I'd feel nauseous for the first hour every. single. day (#justgirlythings), packing up my 2 years of my life and leaving my beautiful university home for the year. Summer in England is just lovely and I will look back on those weeks spent in Exeter so so fondly, they truly were just blissful. 

But in true Dalal fashion, I also managed to spend a month in Northern Italy which was incredible. I've been back for a few weeks now and I already find myself looking back on that month in total awe that I managed to experience so many beautiful things. I hiked the Dolomites, saw the 'tre cime' which was breathtaking, hiked up the Bergamasque alps which I swear almost took me out, swam in Lake Garda and Iseo, (we all know I love a good lake), spoken a lot of Spanish with an Italian accent and hoped for the best, even picked up a little Italian, albeit very basic, went to Milan a couple of times and met friends, spent nights partying in fields and sleeping under the stars, I ate so so much amazing food and reached the highest weight I've ever been which has been difficult to process but I remind myself that it is testament to the wonderful time I had and a little weight gain isn't the end of the world. I finally got to visit Florence for a few days and walk around the Uffizi and saw the beautiful Boticelli pieces and of course somehow managed to pass out in the backstreets of Florence and napped by the Arno because nothing ever goes smoothly for me in this life but I guess it just adds to the beauty of it all. It also felt as though my lockdown induced order of Dante’s divine comedy (honestly though, I did that for what?) came full circle as I roamed the streets of his home town lol. After my month with my amazing host family (who just feel like a second family to me now) I was planning to take a train down to Naples and stay with my lovely flatmate who's originally from Amalfi, but return flights were too expenny :( But I will make it to southern Italy soon. I had such a wonderful time in Italy and I'm so proud of myself for just going (and forever grateful to Ambra for pushing me to do it) I cannot wait to return and explore more.

And now? I turned 20 on the 21st of last month, leaving behind my teenage years and entered a new decade which is scary but incredibly exciting, I really do feel like my life in all it's chaos and madness and beauty is all ahead of me and I can't wait to make it my own. To make more impulsive decisions to live in new countries, to read even more, to swim in new waters and eat new foods, to meet more people (socially distanced ;) ) and spend more time just allowing myself to feel. More crying, more laughter, more euphoria, more love and appreciation for nature. Life is amazing. It's stressful and difficult and sometime's it feels like I am on the verge of tears for what seems like forever and ever but ultimately it is incredible. 

My next step is moving to Madrid which is insane, it's felt like an impossible task through multiple points of this year. I'm excited to see how the year pans out for me, it's a beautiful city that I fell in love with instantly when I first visited a few years ago, it feels crazy to say that it will be my next home. Of course I have a very characteristic knot of anxiety somewhere within me which likes to hit me at random times "will you even like it?", "will your internship be too demanding?", "what if your flatmates hate you?" and so on but I know (I hope!) it will all turn out fine. And I can't wait to share the journey on here :) 

How have you all been? How did your summer turn out and how are you feeling about going back to uni/work/placements etc? I shot my first proper roll of film, maybe I'll share them all on here in another post! 

Dalal x


  1. I loved this post, especially the part of you turning 20. I'm turning 20 as well, in January, but I'm always feeling so sad when my birthday is coming closer. This really reminded me of the beauty of life and to just live even though it's all chaos. Thank you xxx

    1. Thanks so much! I always feel sad approaching my birthday too haha.

      Sending you lots of love!

  2. What a difference travelling can make! I've also just come back from Lake Garda (South part) and it was such an utter dream. Reading everything you got up to, it brings me back to the first time I got to explore those beautiful places. Amalfi Coast is such an experience and if you enjoy hiking MAKE SURE you go town to town because there is paths connecting the whole coast and it is amazing. Looking forward to seeing that roll of film!!
    Louise x

    1. Oh for sure! I loved Lake Garda so much, I assume you were in Sirmione then? I would love to visit Amalfi in the next year, hiking town to town sounds like such an amazing experience, wow!

  3. Omg I absolutely adored this post Dalal! I felt like I was holding my breath for most of it as I truly felt and envisioned everything you described! Your summer sound beautiful, I'm insanely jel of those beautiful Italian landscapes you got to see and touch. Sooo excited for you and your journey in Madrid! (It's your sandwich year right!?) It's going to be AMAZING. Doing a year abroad is literally the best thing you can during uni. Can't wait to read your future posts! Sending luv,

    Zoe xo

    1. Ahhh thanks Zoe, your comments never fail to make me smile!! It was an unexpectedly wonderful summer, definitely one to remember. Yes, Madrid will be my year abroad eeek, I was so envious of your time in Bordeaux haha

      Lots of love

  4. Firstly: happy incredibly belated 20th birthday! Your summer sounds quite magical and so surreal that you managed to make it to Italy for a month, the culture, the nature, the people all sound divine and I have to agree I couldn't expect anything more Dalal. As for Madrid, I hope you continue to indulge in new and incredible experiences and cannot wait to read all about them. I also hope you have had a fab time in Bristol recently! It looked lush. sending my love <3 xx


    1. Haha thank you!! I can't wait to share all the Madrid stories and photos on here! Ahh yes Bristol was so lovely, it's wonderful when it's sunny and warm haha

      Lots of love x


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Lots of love, Dalal

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