Monday, 29 August 2016

Our Fruity Fresh Eid Party!

I'm a bit late with this, but thought I'd post about my sister's annual Eid party which took place last month. As usual, we held it a couple of weeks after Eid to give all the girls in the family, as well as friends, to dress up, great some yummy food and play a few party games.

The theme this year was bright and summery - bright green, yellow and warm oranges and pinks for a fresh, fruity look - all of us said it reminded us of pineapples and watermelons! My sister decorated her house in pretty banners and matching balloons, as well as some 'Eid Mubarak' prints which were framed and put on display - doesn't look look lovely together?

One of my sisters lives further away so wasn't able to make the party, but did manage to come by the night before the party of to drop of these cupcakes which  matched the theme perfectly. On the day we had these on display (and didn't let anyone touch any until we took pictures, obviously!) - they were yummy of course, and were demolished in minutes!

You can see more pictures of the decor here, as well the the recipe for the cupcakes.

We also had more decor around the house, including a table for the kids outside with colourful banners and paper-flowers. I loved the overall colourful effect of this, and the Wonderland-feel of this.

We decided not to go with a sweet bar this time, as the previous parties we have had has usually had too many sweets for the younger children which isn't probably the best idea. This time around my sister decided to have a fruit bar, which mixed up sweet fruit with savoury desserts (with the exception of cupcakes, which were the only 'sweets' on display!) The fruit bar was a hit and was devoured by the guests - the most popular being the chocolate-dipped strawberries.

Having said that, it's not a party without some hot food as well, of course! My sister made the bulk of the food, but the guests all brought a dish each so there was plenty to eat, and a mix of cuisines. I always love seeing the different dishes people bring, especially from different cultures and it was nice to see such a great mix. My favourite dish was one a guest brought - scooped out baked potatoes with a filling of veg and cheese, which tasted amazing!

My sister decided not to go with party bags this time, but went with sweet-cups for the guests when they left, which was a lovely idea and very easy to put together. My mum also packed and brought the basket of mangoes below, which was perfect for the hot weather!

I wanted to show what I wore as well, which was a suit my mum had bought back from Pakistan a couple of months ago. I originally meant to wear this on Eid, but it felt a little too heavy so I thought I'd save it for the party when everyone would be as blinged out as me.

This is the outfit below, which is in a pretty nude and teal colour with gold and silver work. I paired this with rose-gold brocade pants and sandals, which I loved because it gave a girly, on-trend look.

The other girls in the family also wore fab outfits - I didn't get pictures of all of them but here's a few of my sister and my nieces below. My favourite was my brother's daughter (second picture) in a Junaid Jamshed kurta with cars and lorry prints on it!

The party was a lovely one, although it was a little crazy at one point with a lot of guests, food and the heat! 

You can see more pictures on my sisters' blogs here and here, let me know what you thought of the theme!

Wednesday, 17 August 2016

An Exclusive Blogger Preview with Modlist

I was lucky enough to get invited to fashion brand and powerhouse Modlist  for a blogger preview a couple of weeks ago in Chelsea, London, and managed to get a first look at some of the labels which are housed under company. Modlist is a new company which has been set up under the existing Haute Elan label (which is another company which sells higher-end fashion brands). The whole aim of Modlist is to bring affordable, elegant and modest fashion under one roof and making them more accessible for consumers – which is definitely relevant for today’s market!

The event took place in Modlist’s new showroom in Chelsea, which was a beautiful boutique which multiple rooms for showcasing the different labels. It was a great opportunity not just to explore new collections from various brands, but also meet the individuals behind Modlist and speak to various other bloggers as well.

There were quite a few brands on display, some labels which I recognised and some which were new – but they all had pretty beautiful, versatile pieces which everyone looked over and tried on. The Modlist brand has quite a few high street brands such as Zara, Asos, Gucci and Uniqlo, but there were also other brand labels which focus on modesty-wear, such as Aab, Roddiva Couture, Aisyah Al Mashoor and Store WF.

I also got a chance to try on a few outfits, here’s me and fellow blogger Aneesa trying on a few kimonos and kaftans!

I loved that there was also a showroom for children’s outfits, which was beautifully done up as well with a toy room. When shopping for modesty-wear, we don’t often think of children’s clothes so it was nice to see this included as well for parents who want to see different brands for their children too.

There was also an opportunity to get free manicures done from Secret Spa, and also enjoy some massages with Urban Massage. I didn’t get a massage but here’s me getting me nails done!

There was also a lovely buffet spread set out by Halal Eat, not to mention some yummy cupcakes from Lola’s Cupcakes to finish off for dessert.

At the end of the evening, CEO Rommana Bint-Abubaker explained a little further about the aim of Modlist as a company, which was not just to bring affordable modest fashion under one roof, but also to empower women through modest fashion – whether you’re a blogger, a businesswoman, a fashionista or you simply want to dress elegantly.

We also left the launch party with two lovely goody bags, you can see the contents below, which included eyelashes, makeup tools and snacks. I especially liked the bag of Oud Bath Crystals which I thought was a great idea!

I had a really incredible time at the Modlist Preview event, and thought it was a great way of showing how modest fashion is really making leaps and bounds in such an entrepreneurial way. As the modest fashion industry has boomed in the last few years, it’s great to see so many diverse labels available in London for shoppers and being made more mainstream, especially as a lot of these brands are mostly only available online.

The Modlist Chelsea showroom is now open by appointment only, although you can also browse their website online and also their Instagram account.

Instagram accounts - @hauteelan


Popchips - @popchips_uk 
The Vintage Cosmetic Company - @thevintagecosco 
Store WF - @storewf
Mi-in Lashes - @miin_lashes 
Samol Herbal - @samolherbal 
Roddiva Couture - @roddivacouture (designer)
Scents Of Paradise - @scentsofparadiseuk
Catering Sponsor:
Halal Eat - @halaleat
Urban Massage - @urbanmassage
Secret Spa - @secretspauk  

Other bloggers also at the event:
Hannah (@thefleurdusiel); Aneesa (@hijabi_in_london); Mona (@manoosa92); Mara (@maradxb); Tulin (@trestouline); Aneesa (@ibreatheshoes) ;Hannah (@hannahghouri); Amira (@modesrmira_); Halima (@misslittlefancy); Zahra (@zahrarosea); Maryam (@maryam.taqi); Sabba (@queenofsabba); Zara ( @zaraazix); Anna Nourin (@aana_nourin) ; Mariah Idrissi (@mariahidrissi); Nabila Bee (@nabilabee); Asma (@asmabdrr); Nadia (@rnadiasabrina); Sebina (@sebinaah)

Sunday, 14 August 2016

Lovely Hijab: Amna Hajar Hijabs

I recently came across Amna Hajar hijabs, which are a Malaysian brand selling hijabs in various colours and fabrics, and which I thought were quite pretty. I've met a few fashion and modesty-wear bloggers who have worn this brand, and thought I've give it a try myself, so decided to opt for a lace scarf.

I ordered the scarf via fashion blogger Aneesa (aka Hijabi in London), who is the UK seller for this brand, and also stocks a variety of other Malaysian brands.

The scarf arrived pretty quickly (I ordered a pink lace hijab), and I was pretty pleased to see the beautiful quality of the scarf, which was a really soft cotton material. I was also quite happy to see that it was a decently big size - although most companies do cater for people wanting maxi scarves, you don't always get big scarves which cover your head when wrapped around a few times.

I also particularly liked the fact that the colour of the scarf was quite easy to wear - there are a range of colours but I thought pink would probably go best with my wardrobe!

You can contact Aneesa via the Amna Hajar instagram page or her own account HijabiinLondon, or otherwise purchase directly from the website to buy any scarves. I'll be sure to post pictures of this scarf when I wear it - let me know what you think of this brand!

Sunday, 7 August 2016

OUTFIT OF THE DAY: The Royal Blue & White Khaadi Outfit

Now that summer's finally hit London in full force, I've been able to pull out all of my printed kurtas, lawn outfits and pretty summer pieces that I've been waiting to wear. Some of my outfits are a little old, since I've purchased them a year or two ago but they're all pretty wearable and perfect for summer (although that's not to say I may not have a few new purchases by the end of summer!)

This is an outfit from Pakistani label Khaadi, whose outfits I love because of the bright colours and prints, and the which I've always found wearable and comfortable. I bought this outfit last year, since I love the colour and the print design but didn't get much wear last year, so took the opportunity a few weekends ago to pull it out since it was perfect for the warm weather!

This is the outfit - a printed blue kameez with white embroidery on the neckline, which came with tapered pants with a lace cuff. I really like the print of this outfit at the hem and sleeves, which is streaked and has a pretty floral border, and like a lot of other kameezes, the back has a different print at the back which gives it a playful look.

This is me wearing the outfit, which I wore pretty simply, with flats and simple accessories. When it comes to warm weather I don't tend to wear a lot of jewellery or go crazy with my make-up, and this simple look suits me fine! The outfit itself was made from a lovely cotton material which was perfect for the summer weather, and loose enough to feel comfortable.

Here's a quick look at the back of the outfit, which was in a similar print to the front but in a lighter blue and white. I also liked the eclectic look of the floral border strip on the sleeve which matched the hem too.

This was a pretty simple, non-dressy outfit which is perfect for relaxing in on summer days. I bought this from the Khaadi store in Westfield but it was a little pricey for a casual look - I'm looking to purchase some more outfits directly from Pakistan to save a little money this year!

One of the things which has always bugged me about buying Pakistani labels is that oversea buyers such as us in the UK always seem to get charged more. I have bought Khaadi kurtas from Pakistan which have worked out about £25-28 each, yet when buying from the Khaadi stores in the UK or when buying online, the outfits can work out to as much as £50-60 and upwards, which seems a little unfair.

I can understand that we have to account for shipping or the costs of the shop, but it seems like we're expected to pay more because we're oversea - there's a perception that as we live in London (or the UK!) we can afford to spend more, which isn't always the case. I've spoken to a few people about this who feel the same way - it seems like there are other brands out there which seem to have this same idea about buyers in the UK.

Since the rise of Facebook sellers, instagram sellers and online websites which offer cheaper alternatives, I've been looking at outfits which are more affordable and wearable. I'll be doing a separate post about this soon once I've accummulated some more info - but wanted some feedback on your thoughts about this, what do you think about sellers and buying branded labels from Pakistan in the UK?

Monday, 1 August 2016

A Meet and Greet Session with Mehreen Syed

I was lucky enough to be able to meet the beautiful Pakistani supermodel Mehreen Syed a few weeks ago, with a small group of select girls at the Dorchester Hotel in London. I've been a fan of Mehreen for a few years after seeing her modelling campaigns from as far back as about a decade ago, and I've also been interested in her charity work and business endeavours since.

We managed to speak with Mehreen for an hour, and she was full of stories, of modelling, fashion designers, beauty care and her travels. I wasn't sure what to expect as I haven't met a lot of Pakistani celebrities, but I found Mehreen very friendly and bubbly - she told us she got about 5000 messages a day while she was in London requesting meetings, and how she wished she could meet everyone!

It was also nice to see that she looks exactly as she does in her pictures (she's also super tall!) and has a very natural beauty which you can see photographs well, and is one of the reasons she's a sucessful model today.

Mehreen herself has previously blogged before, and is the founder of the Desi Beauty Blog (now managed by co-founder and makeup artist Nilo Haq whose work I also follow). I really like the idea of someone who is experienced in the fashion industry giving back knowledge from what she has learned and her experiences, rather than looking to make money from her knowledge.

Another project Mehreen told us about was setting up a beauty school in Pakistan for poor girls - daughters of workers and servants who couldn't always afford an education so that these women could not only learn makeup skills, but use these to create a career as makeup artists themselves. She is also chairperson for the International Fashion Academy Pakistan (IFAP), which is a private educational institute based in Lahore, Pakistan, and is a fashion industry school. The school was developed to an platform for the next generation of fashion industry professionals; specifically stylists, models, makeup artists and photographers, and for them study their field in a professional environment

We spoke to Mehreen for a while, and also managed to get some beauty tips from her - I've forgotten some of these but I'll post what I remember:

  • I'm sure you can tell from the pictures that Mehreen has amazing hair! She told us that the latest shampoo she was using was L'oreal Elvive Extraordinary Oil Hair Care series - the shampoo, conditioner and hair oils. She said that she sometimes has pretty dry hair due to a previous illness earlier on in the air, which meant she needs intense hydration, and these shampoo and conditioners were really helpful. I've bought these but haven't tried them yet, so I have high hopes for them.
  • If you're looking to dye your hair - make sure you pick the right colour and don't over-bleach!
  • Without sounding too obvious - a balanced diet is very important if you want to be healthy. As a model Mehreen said that this was important to maintain a good figure and remain slim, and to not over-indulge in sugary foods!
  • Similarly, she said exercise is important, regardless of whether are thin or not in order to maintain your health.
  • Mehreen encouraged us to try different makeup styles and tips - find out what you like, don't be afraid to try new things and practise doing makeup to find out what suits you.

It was really lovely to meet a down-to-earth, humble person such as Mehreen, and I'm really glad I got the chance to meet her during her stay in London. She has encouraged us to keep in contact and also email or message her for any queries, which I also though was very generous considering how busy she is! It was also nice to hear her stories - of fashion designers, of Pakistan and of her travels, and it was really great to meet a celebrity who made the time to sit with us and have tea : )