a simple pumpkin spice latte recipe

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Before I even get into this – no you do not need a coffee maker. Or any of the machinery that modern artisan coffee has become. This is possibly the easiest pumpkin spice recipe you’ll find, and that’s because I, the novice that I am, made it quite successfully, in the first go!

You probably have everything you need for this at home PSL in your kitchen cupboards, the only ingredient you might have to go out and get, is the pumpkin.

The Ingredients:

pumpkin, around 50g

coffee, 2 tbsp

cloves, (crushed) – 1/2 tsp

cinnamon, 1 tsp

nutmeg, 1 tsp

ginger, 1/4 tsp

vanilla essence, a few drops

sugar sweetener to taste
(brown sugar, syrup, honey)

milk, 250 ml

a large mug

Method:

The part that takes the longest is making the pumpkin puree, for this you’ll have to cut the pumpkin into chunks and steam it.

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Once it’s softened, cut off the skin and mash the pumpkin with a fork, making sure to smooth out any clumps. After this, push the pulp through a sieve for a finer puree. That’s it, the hard bit is over.

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Now, add two tablespoons of coffee to your mug,

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crush 2 – 3 cloves, making up about less than half a teaspoon, no more than that as you don’t want the flavour of cloves to overpower the other ingredients,

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and add both cinnamon and nutmeg to the mug.

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Then add a few drops of vanilla, followed by the ginger and your choice of sweetener, I chose to use two teaspoons of brown sugar. Finally add the pumpkin puree to the mixture and stir all the ingredients up until smooth.

At this point you should have a dark thick mixture, and almost as soon as you start to stir all these together, you’re hit with the warmest pumpkin spice scent.

After this, I heated up the milk on the stove and stirred the hot milk into the mixture.

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All that’s left to do at this point is to top your PSL with cream and sprinkle with extra cinnamon and nutmeg.

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Notes:

I didn’t use an espresso machine, just two tablespoons of regular Nescafé coffee. Also, you could use fresh ginger but I used the tiniest piece of frozen ginger, which turned out to be more useful as it was easier to turn into a paste like consistency as soon as it defrosted. You could also make this recipe in bulk to refrigerate and stir in warm milk whenever you fancy a cup.

if you give it a go, I would love to hear how you find it.

happy autumn!

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two decades and counting //(Birthday Post)

It’s the fifth day of the new year 2017,

a quick google search tells me that on this day 1892, the first successful auroral photograph was made. It also happens to be my birthday. Yes. On this day 20 years ago, I was born.

Though the first framed capturing of the phenomenonal lights a hundred and five years prior to my birth, was certainly not a precursor of my tiny human self growing to be ‘extra ordinary’. I hate falling to pessimism but considering the fact that I have failed to keep up with the very blog that I promised more than once to update regularly – its safe to say that I am by consequence – below the ordinary mark in ordinary regards too.

Impair ordinare, as the French may call it.

Oh, that’s not what the French call it? Pardon moi.

Usually I would type out a list of excuses for my near ghosting as a blogger. Excuses that would start with me saying “you see, the thing is” and end somewhat on a lower note. But today, I’ll try not to make a rhetoric of myself and simply set out the blunt truth.

You see the thing is (oh, but this isn’t an excuse! I promise) when I started out blogging, my ‘motto’ was to provide positive content. I had this idea embedded within the blog post writing section of my mind (yes, it really does exist), in which I had decided that the world and its inhabitants had enough problems to go around, and so if a reader was to take a few moments out of their hectic day to read a post- it should simply make them smile. 

With that came the obvious habit of only sharing the good, but just as I began to write this post- I realised that the ‘bad‘ wasn’t all that bad. Sharing the slightly watered down shades of life could make a reader feel familiar and know that they are not alone in this spectrum of raging intensities.

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My brain lacked any space in the blogging department, because a) a family member got sick b) I’ve been busy accommodating for family and guests arriving from abroad and c) I was struggling with assignments.

The final one felt amazing actually, the struggle of putting the work and long hard hours into an assingment – has always done something for me. I can’t quite explain why the bitter sweet dedication one has to put forth into the process is rewarding. Except that, it just is.

As for b), I have had regular guests and extended family coming to visit from abroad and far away places since as far back as I can remember. I don’t know if its just in our South Asian blood or my dads extrovert personality. Guests from distant lands being around isn’t a surprise change. Though having them around every couple of weeks during term time was a sour inconvenience, it’s the knowing that it is illness that has drawn them which was new.

Speaking of new, a) was new. a) was most definitely new. I’d never had to deal with illness being so close to home before.

Early September brought with it the most foreign feeling my almost twenty year old self had yet to come into contact with.

I am quite adaptable. I cut my thumb one day and walked around with it wrapped in a bloody tissue and folded into my fist  for two hours so that I wouldn’t have to be told off for being clumsy and have my thumb properly checked. I survived over 120 minutes with one thumb instead of two. That’s pretty adaptable if you ask me.

September was no different. I adapted to the shock. To the regular hospital trips. To the completely changed routine.  Though the change along with b) and c) meant that my blog suffered.

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Its been 2017 for a while now, and though I may whisper the odd few new year’s resolutions to myself when nobody’s listening, I generally don’t follow the whole ‘new year, new me’ swing. Here’s why.

I personally don’t deem it as entirely healthy to put immense pressure on ourselves to undergo drastic changes – simply because the clock has struck 12. Though I do not see anything wrong with it in principal, setting goals and standards and seeing the new year as a fresh start is a fairly decent way of kicking your productivity up. But lets face it. When we don’t become the new us we had set out to be, it’s bound to set a toll on you somewhere down the line, mentally at least.

I do have a few ‘works in progress’ that I would like to progress further into this year.

So hi there, trusted blog reader. If you’re still reading this, you should know that I will be posting more regularly.

 

More to the point of this post. I am 20. As of now, I feel just about the same. I mean I’ve been transitioning into the twentieth year since about a year, I’m bound to feel fairly comfortable. I’ve been a teen for so long that knocking the number 1 off the first digit of my age seems a little unfair.

I’m blessed beyond measure, and I have everything to be thankful for. Two decades is a long time to be alive, if I could survive 2016 as a 19 year old – I could pretty much single handedly outlive the zombie apocalypse. 

Which I also think is just extravagantly over exaggerated. I mean it might just be a minion take over of the world and more yellow than gory. 

You should definitely follow me on Instagram if you’re not already and tune in to my insta-story today, where i’ll be sharing the birthday love by telling you my tips for having a good day.

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Phew. This is the most frank I’ve ever been on my blog. I usually curve around my real reasons for being gone.

As I mentioned earlier, if you were here in my absence – I apologise for not being around and you may be going through a particularly shaky time in your life right now,

just know that it will pass – you are strong enough to get through it and get through it you will.

That’s all that matters in the end.

*yes, this was a sparsely illustrated, but certainly a self-illustrated post*

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To contact me regarding a collaboration, or to simply get in touch – drop me an email at: rimsharasul8@gmail.com

Papergang: Review

I received my second helping of the stationery subscription box (papergang), yesterday but I had to wait 24 hours until I could tear the box open. I’m sure most of you can understand the level of self-control I had to reach in order to wait.

Again, no – this blogpost is not sponsored by papergang, or anybody actually.

This is simply the Tuesday morning confessions of a stationery lover!

Papergang is (according to their Instagram page) a monthly subscription box by Ohh Deer, for paper lovers. I subscribed to their monthly box some time in August, before the August box was issued and what I will be reviewing today is the September box. Before even getting into the review, I must say what I love most about this subscription box is that it comes in a slim box that the post man can just slip through your post-box and the packaging is always extremely eye-catching, papergang post sure does brighten up my day.

The Contents:

wp-1474964387835.jpegscreenshot_2016-09-27-09-13-36-2.pngGiftwrap: animals in party hats. In other words, the coolest giftwrap you can find

screenshot_2016-09-27-09-13-36-5-1.pngPlanner: blue ombre weekly planner ‘my week’.

screenshot_2016-09-27-09-13-36-6.pngPrinted Calendar: for the month of October

screenshot_2016-09-27-09-13-36-4.pngGreeting Card: a card which reads ‘Its your birthday’ with cute birdies all over.

screenshot_2016-09-27-09-13-36-3.pngGreeting Card: which reads ‘Hedge Hugging’, I adore this as it gives you the option of giving this to a friend for any occasion.

screenshot_2016-09-27-09-13-36-1.pngSticky Notes Pad: it reads, ‘lets get this shit done’.

A little more about the hands behind the box. The accessories are designed and illustrated by independent UK artists with the funkiest designs I have seen on stationery, which I think gives the box a unique touch.

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‘artwork by Lizzy Doyle’

 

Despite claiming to love stationery, I have actually never bought a planner before because, well I guess I’d never found one which suited me. The planner in this month’s box is a whole other story.

Firstly the turquoise ombre cover is gorgeous but other than that, I was sold by the plastic cover around the planner – which has a zip at the back.

It is basically a planner with a built-in pencil case *inserts heart eyes emoji*. Of course I had to show you the stationery inception in action.

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The box also includes greeting cards that tie-in with the animal theme of the box.

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The review would be almost incomplete if I didn’t introduce you to Drew. When I received by first box last month – this was the first thing that popped out –

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Drew is an iron on patch, and leader of the papergang. If you’ve figured out anything about me by now, then you’ll know just how adorable I think this idea is. A cute iron-on patch to initiate membership for me, gives the entire connection a personal touch.

I thoroughly love all the items in this months box and I would definitely recommend you to subscribe to the box to. The contents card totals the contents of the box to just over £20, the box is sold for £9.95.

They do ship to most countries, if where you live is not on their list, you can also request for them to add it on.

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There you have it, my Tuesday blue’s.

See how I customised a plain old notebook using last months papergang packaging and washi tape here.

I hope you have a wonderful week ahead,

Rimsha

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To contact me regarding a collaboration or to simply get in touch, drop me an email at: rimsharasul8@gmail.com

What’s In My Bag

I can’t think of a more fitting introduction to this post, than to tell you that I officially go ‘back to school’ tomorrow! Which means the official end of summer and the official kick start to getting things organised.

I was inspired quite a few months ago to do a ‘what’s in my bag’ when I saw aclockworkhafsa‘s version on her (ever so wonderful) blog. This may not be half as interesting as I thought it would be initially, but to my trusted readers that stay tuned till the end – answer this weeks question in the comments (the quirkiest answer will have their blog/site/Instagram page shouted out at the start of my next post or the next respective Monday.)

So, the bag.

I’m quite a fashion wimp when it comes to bag type accessories, as I tend to go for the most comfortable for university (because I commute, hence – walk around..a lot). I cant bring myself to purchase any colour other than black for my rucksack/backpack. I fear an alternative colour would get a little too mucky for everyday use in the winter.

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The bag is of a velvet feel, with gold zips and (faux) leather straps – I bought this from New Look not too long ago.

The basics I need in my bag (minus my books and crumpled assignments) are,

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screenshot_2016-09-19-12-23-35-4.png A lip balm, because I’m not a fan of chapped lips. Ok that was too scripted a reason, the truth is, I just love the smell of it. I mean its blackcurrant flavoured, do you blame me?

screenshot_2016-09-19-12-23-35-3.pngA mirror

screenshot_2016-09-19-12-23-35-5.png A roll-on, ehem. I am human and therefore I sweat. That sounds like a philosophical quote (it flows with the rhythm of – I think, therefore I am). I prefer roll-ons over spray deodorants, as certain fragrances can sort of make me travel sick. Or at least, add to it.

screenshot_2016-09-19-12-23-35-2.pngA travel cup/mug, some mornings – I prefer my tea on the go.

screenshot_2016-09-19-12-23-35-7.png A notebook/journal, because a girl needs a little paper in her bag!

screenshot_2016-09-19-12-23-35-8.png Speaking of paper. My wallet. I keep everything in here. Up until last year, I was in denial about large mum-ish wallets – it wasn’t until I got one that I realised just how much easier it makes life. I keep everything in here. You can even find my keys stuffed in one of the pockets.

screenshot_2016-09-19-12-23-35-1.png An umbrella. British weather is as unpredictable as my mind on a Thursday morning. It tends to rain almost everyday in autumn. All day. Did I mention everyday? eh, I’m not complaining.

screenshot_2016-09-19-12-23-35-6.png Lipstick/lip crayons, you know as well as I do that uni days can drag. I hate the look of a long day on my face, especially when I still have a lecture to go. For times like that, I need an emergency ‘pick me up’ to feel fresher and more motivated to continue. I find, pops of colours are like Paracetamol for my drained mind.

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Now I do have a tiny confession to make. I never use the mirrors I keep in my bag, I just buy them because I cant resist the pocket-sized cuteness. Who can?

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Being a student is synonymous to balancing larger than life text-books without toppling over. I don’t like to fill my bag with text-books, firstly; I doubt they would even fit in and secondly; I may not be strong enough to carry 8 + giant books on my back. Which is why I carry this …

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A pouch that contains a plastic/waterproof reusable bag. It may not be the most glamorous thing to carry books in, but it does the job!

and that is all that’s in my backpack. I have this very grey feeling that I have missed something crucial, but if it wasn’t in my bag and it was that important – I’ll realise when I’m frantically looking for it at the train station tomorrow morning.

Now tomorrow is Tuesday and the first day back to university for me – but I LOVE Mondays. I know I know, I’m probably one of a rare few. Share the Monday love with me by answering in the comments –

WHAT IS YOUR FAVOURITE MONDAY QUOTE/SONG, ROUTINE OR SNACK THAT KEEPS YOUR MONDAY MOTIVATION AT ITS PEAK?

I hope you enjoyed this somewhat overly-descriptive log of whats in my bag,

Thank you for reading.

Rimsha

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To contact me regarding a collaboration or to simply get in touch, drop me an email at – rimsharasul8@gmail.com

Stationery + Notebook Cover; DIY

Last month, I purchased my first ever subscription box. The first thing that caught my attention was the funky marble cardboard packaging! In fact, I thought it was soo beautiful that I should cut it up and make good use of it. I’ve never done a DIY on my blog before, but there’s a first for everything right. Since ‘back to school’ season has commenced, this DIY is for those of you that like to add a personal touch to your stationery.

Today, I will be showing you how to customise a plain notebook and pencils using printed paper/card (which happens to be recycled packaging in my case) and the washi tape that I received in my paper gang subscription box.

No, this blogpost is not sponsored by papergang.

Of course, you can substitute the print and washi tape I use for colours/designs that you prefer.

D.I.Y Notebook Cover

  1. a plain notebook (or cover a notebook with black card)
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  2. pens/pencils/stationery of your choice
  3. a glass jar/glass mug (these are available at most kitchen/homeware stores and are very affordable)wp-1473936927040.jpeg

4. Basic equipment to cut and stick (scissors, glue, a ruler and pencil)

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To begin, you need to faintly line a large section of the card using a pencil and ruler (to ensure a straight edge) and cut the card along the pencil line.

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I cannot cut a straight line to save my life, but that can be fixed once you know how much card you need.

 

Next, measure the length and width of the space you would like to cover.

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Cut your desired shape (I kept mine as a long rectangle) and stick the card on to the notebook, like so –

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You may choose to finish here and leave your notebook like this,

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(or)

Roll out the washi tape and pull the tape along the length of the spiral/wire.

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cut the tape and neatly fold the excess over the edge of the cover and stick down.

 

Once I completed the notebook cover, I was obsessed with how the copper foil effect came out and proceeded to add washi tape to the ends of my favourite black pen, pencil – and also along the length of my ruler.

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TIP: Stick a small piece of card (left over from the material used to cover the notepad) at the end of your washi tape. This way, you wont ruin your tape whilst looking for the end the next time you use it.

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Finally, I filled my gold – rimmed glass jar with pens.

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the final look!

 

I think the matching notebook and stationery are great accessories to go in your school bag, or to use as display on your desk.

If you liked my first minimal DIY and would like me to share more, let me know in the comments and if you try this yourself – I would love to see how yours turns out!

Support my little blog by sharing this post with friends.

Love, Rimsha.

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To contact me regarding a collaboration or simply to get in touch, drop me an email at: rimsharasul8@gmail.com 

The Stress Kil(l)ometer

Sunday. Funday?

After a nineteen years long study of Sunday’s, I have come to the conclusion that Sunday’s usually go one of two ways for me; worrying about the week ahead whilst procrastinating over tasks or trying to enjoy the scheduled ‘lazy day’ with the worry of things I have to do on Monday still niggling at my brain. 

Neither of the two actually help you to enjoy your Sunday. 

Both of them lead to stress!

That isn’t a surprise to anyone right, because stress has become a part-and-parcel of daily life. That’s only the case because we let ourselves fall into the trap of thinking that it’s ‘ok’ to stress ‘a little’.

Here’s a rough doodle of ‘The Stress – Killometer’ that I sketched earlier. As the graph shows, there are three stages to eradicating stress out of your routine to make way for a more positive thinking space. 

See  recognising that you’re over stressing (and that isn’t helping you in any way) is the first step. At first simply knowing that you are under stress can help, you may start to feel a little calmer.  

Ease – stress levels fluctuate and it’s very likely that you’ll start to drown under as much – if not more stress than you were before. At this point, you should start to incorporate a few moments to prevent stress into your day. 

Believe – this is when you know that you are above stress. You understand that it’s self-induced and you know how to prevent it. 

Ok Einstein, but what  exactly should you do to ‘ease‘ yourself out of stress. Well, here are 5 ways that I prevent stress from escalating: 

1. Staying Organised: Stress for most people is caused by the feeling of having too much going on around them. Stay organised with the help of to-do lists, day/week planners and clean working spaces. 

2. Taking a break: take a break in a calming environment that is away from the work place. Taking a break in the same room that you work/study in may not always be a solution, as your mind associates that area with work. 

3. Finding a hobby: this doesn’t have to be a dazzling hobby that you share with the world, it could simply be something you find helps to take your attention away from other things. 

4. Plan B: you don’t wanna hear about how things don’t go to plan, after all – that’s what you’re working for, and for a plan to not work out would be devastating. The truth is, things don’t always turn out the way we expect them to. For the odd time that you experience the dreadful feeling of an unsuccessful project, try not to dwell on hours lost and keep a plan B prepared. 

5. Audio – Visual Relaxation: certain music will help you to relax…it’s a no brainer, but I personally prefer to spark positive energy with keeping myself surrounded with pretty visuals. In my room and on my feed. 

Here is an awe-spiring gallery that drifts my mind to scenic views and out of this world beauty: 

Instagram: @muhammadyasirbaloch

* this would be the first time that I have successfully named a post after one of my doodles, it sure does feel good.*

I hope you have a great week, 

Rimsha. 

My Fray’d Notebook

Yesterday I received a notebook, which was sent to me by Fray Design Studios. Or should I say, I almost missed it! the rain was relentless as I tried to reach home in time for my sudden delivery which was due to arrive on the 23rd but made it here a day earlier. Oh heck, a prompt parcel delivery service…I’m not complaining.

Although this is the first time that I have reviewed a product on my blog, I would only ever review something sincerely. If it was any other way, I would just be wasting your time as well as mine.

Firstly, the customer service was perfect. I had a few queries about shipping etc., and lets just say – my questions can get a little bothersome. My inquiry was addressed in a polite and friendly manner which is always a plus.

The Notebook:

A5 ring binder – style.

There are two things I love most about the notebook

  • The sheets are lined in black and they do not have coloured margins – I personally do not like to write on a page that has pink or blue coloured lines. I prefer my pen ink to be the only colours on the page.
  • The cover art.

The cover is of a smooth PVC material and although it is flexible, it does not bend or crease. It is sturdy, which I can imagine would not get damaged at the bottom of your bag whilst travelling.

Oh, the cover art! The design/print of the notebook cover is inspired by Pakistani art, more specifically; truck art. The highlight of the cover is the word ‘desi’, which is printed in the centre in Urdu. The colours and art definitely do give off desi vibes. Overall, I am impressed by the quality of the product. It is a beautiful piece to keep around your desk and I would definitely recommend it (it would also prove to be a great gift idea).

The business and the products are based and made in Pakistan.



From a dream to a business

When customer-business interactions are solely based online, they are minimal and it can be hard to get a feel of the personality behind the products, which is why I had a few questions of my own to ask Faran; the founder of Fray Design Studio.

– Tell us about the inspiration behind your brand name.-

Faran: Fray is my nature

The ‘frayed’ edges of a fabric is relatable to textiles as well. That gave me my brand name.

– Where did your journey begin? –

Faran: I was fortunate enough to stand 4th in a competition held by Messe Frankfurt’s Karachi office. 

The guys that arrange Heimtextil, the largest textile expo in the world. I got a chance to visit the exhibition that year. That was a game changer.

We have been always prepared in uni to work for a company and rarely to work on our own, but after visiting the Fair…it was such an impactful journey that I started thinking about turning my studies into a business back when I was in my final year. After graduation I took a break, was jobless for a while and then started working for Alkaram textiles

It was quite a learning experience, but I wanted to do more.. and in the mean time, Crafter’s Expo started to show up in my fb feed.

I have been following a few brands namely Firefly and Ghazal Peerzada Creative Studio.. and I was sooo impressed and motivated by their work that I planned to quit my job and start to work on my brand to showcase at the Crafter’ expo. It boosted me and then I got an offer from a local Interior studio, Pith, to stock my products there.

– As a fairly recent start up, how do you stay motivated? –

Faran: I like to explore things, and I’m always curious to try something new.. sooo.. this is like my catharsis.

 

I love Pakistan.. I try to bring every element of pakistaniat I can into my designs.

It’s been 1.5 years and one hell of a ride, businesses is not easy and I’m very new to it, was a realization that hit me a few months into doing it. I have a full time job, I freelance and run my business alongside this. 

 

– What is Fray Designs moto? –


Faran: To spread happiness.

I love a few people’s vision: Elon Musk, Mir MAK and YouTubers such as Superwoman and Marie Forleo, and a photographer Brooke Shaden.. 

They sort of helped me by sharing their stories and struggles.. which made me believe more in myself. I might be quite an introvert, but their lectures and stories have helped me understand myself better, taking risk now seems fun.
I’m not afraid to fail.. I’m afraid not to try at all.

~

I would like to thank Faran for sharing his unique journey. I feel inspired by his efforts and the success he has achieved thus far, to check out his original range of products, you can shop at:

Fray Design – Facebook

Fray Design – Instagram
~

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To share your story/inquire about my blog, drop me an email on: rimsharasul8@gmail.com