Sunday, 29 May 2016

Things I've been doing: May Edition

May is always a busy month, and this year it was busier than usual! My weekends have been pretty packed this month, and I've been pre-ocuppied with either preps for events or attending them! Having said that, May is one of my favourite months (not just because it's my birthday month!) and I love that summer is arriving and giving us a chance to shed the coats and wear our floral dresses.

Holiday to Norway
Hubster and I went to beautiful Norway a couple of weeks ago, and it was unlike any other holiday we've been to before - plenty of beautiful natural scenery, pretty towns and breathtaking views of mountains, seas, forests and snow. I'm still blogging about my adventures here, so keep an eye out for more posts!

Attended a bridal shower for a close friend
Most of my close friends are married now (and got married before me!) but there's a couple who aren't, so when one of them got married this month we made the most of it to make it special for her. I'll post about this soon, but here's a peek at the gorgeous decor!

Went to a mehndi & wedding event
This was for the same friend as the bridal shower, and it was amazing to see how beautiful the bride and all the guests looked, as well, as the decor details. I'll be posting about these too, soon!

Muslim Lifestyle Show
My sister and I attended the Muslim Lifestyle Show at the beginning of May, which was really fun because of the variety of goods for sale, and since it gave us a chance to find a lot of new brands and meet vendors - more about this soon!

A day out to the farm with family
My sister invited everyone to her end for a day out to the farm, with all of the nieces and nephews along with family, which ended up being a really fun day. There were plenty of animals to see and an entertainment section at the end for the kids (we played crazy golf!) as well as a restaurant for the kids to eat and the adults to relax. It was a really nice way to spend the bank holiday weekend, and the family ended the day with a barbequeue and cake at my sister's house!

My birthday
Like I said, May babies are the best! One of the reasons we went to Norway was partly for my birthday, but on the day I was lucky enough to get wined (the non-alcoholic variety!) and dined by the hubster!

Afternoon tea with friends
I've posted about this here, a really fun afternoon tea with some friends this week (for a long lunch!) which involved yummy sandwiches, scones, cakes and brownies. I loved the atmosphere of this tea room, and the beautiful fresh flowers and vintage floral print crockery which made a lovely, girly afternoon for us.

I'm looking forward to June, as it will be the start of a quieter month and also a time to reflect during Ramadan, which always goes by too quickly. I'll be sure to keep posting through the month, and perhaps some food ideas, so watch this space!

Wednesday, 25 May 2016

Bollywood Stars at Cannes 2016

Last week saw the prestigious Cannes Festival, which also meant L'Oreal ambassadors from Bollywood made their way onto the red carpet. There were several stars who brought the magic to the carpet, although I'm still deciding which I like best!

Aishwariya Rai-Bachchan made a splash with several of her red carpet outfits, although some drew negative comments too!

For her first day on the carpet, Ash wore an Ali Younes Couture gown in gold with a cape, paired with loose curls and smokey blue eyes. I loved this outfit, the colour suited Aishwariya wonderfully and the cape looked great too. Not everyone was in love with the blue eye-makeup but I think she pulled it off!

Next she wore a red Naeem Khan flouncy dress for interviews - I'm not a fan of the fringing along the waist but I loved the bright, fresh red shade and loved her hair as well.

For her second red carpet appearance, Ash wore a lovely beaded Elie Saab gown in gold - she clearly went for a colour which she knew suits her! Some reviewers have said that her second look should have been a different colour as the first red carpet look, but i think the overall look with the rich deep red lips looked just as good.

While interviewing for her upcoming film Sarbjit, Ash wore a metallic bronze jacket with a black dress by Rohit Bahl, complemented with smokey eyes which I though looked great - very elegant and dramatic!

Lastly were the infamous purple lips with a pretty Ram Kadi floral dress with a lilac purple lipstick - again Ash got a lot of criticism for pairing a smokey eye with this colour lipstick, but I think it shows that she's willing to go outside the boundaries a little and be adventurous!

Sonam Kapoor, on the other hand, interestingly stuck to one designer at Cannes this year, with one or two exceptions.

On arrival Sonam wore an Anamika Khanna jacket and dress (right) before changing into another Anamika Khanna outfit for interviews - I love the pretty print of these, right up my street!

Next Sonam wore this Rimzim Dadu structured sari in a rich blue - I think this was my favourite of her looks because it worked well as a fusion of east-meets-west. I haven't seen a sari like this before and  I loved how arty it looked.

For her first red carpet appearance, Sonam wore a Ralph and Russo a sari-inspired caped white gown. The thing I liked most about this was the elegant hair and makeup - it's youthful, simple yet very pretty. In all honestly I liked the shape of this outfit but less so the embroidery - it reminded me of dresses from the 90s with floral beading and embroidery which didn't quite catch my appeal.

While in interviews, Sonam wore another funky Ralph and Russo outfit, although this was more playful with a peplum look which was very flattering on the figure.

Her second appearance on the red carpet was in a white sequined and feather Ralph and Russo gown with an emphasised silhouette feel to it. Like the first outfit, this came with a cape, but I think this one was a little more playful because of the soft colour and the feathered flowers.

For the evening, Sonam chose a black lace Ralph and Russo gown with lace gloves and a diamond necklace. This was another outfit which looked pretty but slightly burlesque to me - I'm still deciding whether I like it or not!

Lastly was this pretty ice blue dress, again by Ralph and Russo - someone described it as an 'Elsa' look from Frozen and I agree! The dress was slightly too pale though and made her looked a little washed out in some pictures, but I do like the simplicity of her makeup, and LOVED her beautiful gold jhumka earrings,

I also loved Sonam's hair, which was a pretty braided tied in gold string, which looked very chic.

Mallika Sherawat was another Bollywood star who stayed loyal to a single designer throughout Cannes, with most of her dresses by Lebanese designer Georges Hobeikaa.

Her first appearance on the red carpet saw Mallika in a Georges Hobeika gown and diamond neckpiece from Maison Mellerio. I wasn't a fan of this dress, I though it was a little mish-mash with the horizontal stripes and the blue hem, but it was very flattering on her figure.

Next Mallika wore a Pucci maxi dress for her interviews, again I'm not a fan but it's a nice casual look which suited her figure.

While attending the amfAR gala, Mallika wore nother piece by Georges Hobeikaa in purple lace. Again, I'm not too keen on this dress but I do think it was a nice daytime dress which Mallika wore well.

WHile at a UNICEF party, Mallika was seen in an ombre dress by Parisian designer Alexis Mabille - I loved the colours but not the lace and flowers. While this looked slightly too  busy I like that she went for something dramatic.

Lastly is another gown by Georges Hobeikaa, which was more of a silver princess dress. I think this dress was a girly one which looked pretty and glamorous for the red carpet - it certain stood out to me more than her other dresses.

Although more of a Hollywood actress than Bollywood, Freida Pinto also made an appearance at Cannes, opting for less flouncy dresses and more muted yet elegant looks.

For her first appearance on the red carpet, Freida appeared in Tory Burch shift-cut maxi dress. I didn't love the border down the middle of this dress but I did like the cut and though it looked very chic.

For the press meet, Freida dressed in a summery Prabal Gurung dress with a white jacket, which looked very pretty for a daytime look.

Lastly is this Elie Saab Couture dress which Freida accessorised with a blue belt and stud earrings for an elegant but alternative look to the usual maxi gowns worn by a lot of the stars. I though this was a really pretty dress which was girly and not-try-too-hard, and suited Freida's fresh makeup style as well.

I loved the variety at Cannes this year, and followed the event on Instagram as the stars posted their pictures on each day. Personally, while I loved Sonam's chic outfits, I though Aishwariya was a little more daring this year and went for outfits which looked very glamorous!

You can see more pictures of what Bollywood celebs wore here and here.

Friday, 20 May 2016

A Meet and Greet Blogger's Session with Imaan Boutique

Last weekend I was lucky enough to be invited to an afternoon high tea with leading Malaysian hijab and modesty-wear brand Imaan Boutique, and also a chance to meet Imaan Boutique founder, Madam Rubina Mughal. The company had exciting pieces of news, firstly the company celebrated their second anniversary, and secondly the release of their new Eid collection.

Imaan Boutique has a gorgeous range of scarves, modest outfit pieces and abayahs which aims at an audience of young adults, career women and also 40s women. Initially the brand was launched online in 2013 with the use of social media, but since then the brand has opened a boutique in Malaysia, and aims to launch new collections every season to keep up to date with trends. One of the things which really struck me about this brand was how colourful yet wearable this brand it - it aims to create beautiful outfits which appeal to many ages and which fit in with comfortabole yet modest.

The event took place at Skylon Restaurant in central London, and when the bloggers arrived we were all given an outfit or a hijab to try on. I arrived a little late (blame the trains!) so I didn't get a chance to try on the abayahs or dresses, but I did manage to look at the hijabs, and I loved the fabrics which were used.

The group managed to have an interview session with founder Rubina Mughal, where she told us about the brand's aim and the new Eid collection, which consisted of beautiful pastels, maxi dresses with drapes and pleats, soft pinks and mints and embroidered sleeves. Personally I loved the scarves, the material draped beautifully and I love that they are big enough and versatile enough to be draped any way the wearer wants.

Here's a quick peek at the restaurant we went to - I forgot to take a picture of the amazing view overlooking the River Thames and all of the lights below, but you can see how lovely and floral it was inside!

Here is also some pictures of the outfits on the actual bloggers - I love that we all got a chance to try and get a feel for the new collection for ourselves. Most of the bloggers (including myself) loved the outfits, and agreed that they were very wearable. Not all of us wear abayahs but the designs were very appealing and there were also a mix of maxi dresses which looked lovely.

And of course a mention of the tea itself! We were served several juices and teas, along with delicate sweet treats and nibbles, which tasted lovely - I quite liked the raspberry and pineapple tarts!

Imaan boutique very generously gave each blogger an outfit and a hijab to take home - I got this lovely black one with embroidered sleeve and a very pretty salmon-coloured hijab. Even though I don't wear abayahs normally, I can imagine wearing this one because of the flattering cut and how wonderfully it drapes, especially as it was made from a thick silky material which looked quite decent in quality. I also was really happy with the hijab scarf as the material is a non-slip one and the colour is something which is right up my street!

All in all, I thought this was a really fun day to meet the Imaan Boutique brand, and also to meet other bloggers who are interested in hijab, modesty and fashion. It's great to see brands which are trying to make hijab fun and colourful without compromising on modesty. In this day and age, it's still too easy to associate boring with abayahs, especially if you see a lot of plain black ones, or even for non-Muslims to find hijab intimidating, so it's lovely to see brands like this which try to combat this.

I'll be styling my Imaan Boutique hijab and abayah soon, so watch this space!

Imaan Boutique online store

(You can also see a few Youtube Vlogger's videos here and here of the day!)