Wednesday, 8 November 2017


As a blogger, entrepreneur and between my other juggles, I have had the privilege of attending a great many events (Alhumdulillah!).

However standing in as judge, for Covered Magazine's Ambassador search was really, unforgettable!

Judges at the table, Picture courtesy of Sabihah Docrat, contributing writer for CM and host of Salaamedia

I had first learnt about Covered Magazine's Ambassador search,  from Founder and Chief Editor Ms. Yesmien Khota. I initially had the pleasure of meeting her for the first time at the HFWSA (Hijab Fashion Week South Africa). As you know, we recently launched Modesty Inspired, an up and coming modest model agency, and we teamed up with CM to provide their ambassador with a one year contract with Modesty Inspired.

I was invited by CM to be on their judging panel, to assist with choosing their 2018 ambassador. I could never imagine being a judge under any circumstances to be an easy task, but I was excited at the prospect of being a part of this monumental and bold move taken by CM. I heartily accepted!

A fashion show exhibiting the work of various designers retailing under My Online Souk (MOS), worn by the candidates, was in the planning. What was extra special about this event is that it was also an awareness campaign and fund raising event in aid of PH kids SA, with 10% of all proceeds going toward this worthy cause.

What is PH? PH is Pulmonary Hypertension and it is a very rare life threatening lung disease for which there is no cure. The pulmonary artery which carries blood from the heart to the lungs narrows, and as a result makes it difficult for blood to flow freely through the vessels. This causes high blood pressure, and results in weakening of both the lungs and the right side of the heart, making any physical exertion very difficult.
Some of the symptoms are as follows:
* bluish lips or skin
* chest pain
* fatigue
To learn more about PH and spread the word, follow PH kids and become PH aware!

The guest of honour was none other than amazing mum Shaakira Bodhania, and her truly inspirational daughter Humayra who is currently fighting PH. May Allah grant Humayra complete Shifaa. Ameen. Join them by following PH kids SA.

MashaAllah! An older pic of Mum Shaakira and Daughter Humayra. Pic credit: Sumaya Omar, za Parents

This inspirational event was held on 21 October 2017, at The Rooftop Cafe. The theme was "Denim and Diamonds", which was perfectly relevant! Diamonds, being rare gems and the toughest substance, represent the fighters and the rarity of PH, and denim traditionally blue, to represent the visible symptom of bluish skin and lips that present itself in those who are pH affected.

The Rooftop Cafe was beautifully laid out, with decor to match the denim and diamonds theme. Denim table cloths were spread over the tables, with polished cutlery and white and glass crockery. White frames hung from the gazebos with artificial blue roses peeking through. This was carried through to the tables with faux diamonds (diamante) pinned at its centre.
Instead of the red carpet being rolled out, the carpets were "blue" and laid in two. The audience of 120 to be seated on both sides of the ramp. The judges tables were set up with gold sequin overlays.

Getting ready

Waiters in their pressed uniforms rushed to and fro, making sure everything was perfect under the supervision of vibrant and beautiful owner Ms. Aziza Cassim, also a judge on the panel.

Ms. Aziza Cassim

Also on their Guest list was Mrs. Candice Abraham's Former Mrs. South Africa

Prior to the Big day, I got to know the gorgeous and very inspiring candidates for the ambassador search. These ladies are just as beautiful, as they are qualified, professional, multi-tasking, vibrant and inspirational. We had loads of fun rehearsing at the Rooftop Cafe a few days before, with only 3 of the 8 candidates having had previous ramp walk experience, and prior to that, none at all. It was all about having fun, showing their personality as they took the ramp, owning their walks and allowing their personalities to shine through. Their ability to share their vision and that of Covered Magazine was essential. The candidates were as follows:

Hamida omar
Sabeeha Mosam
Tasleem Rahman
Aisha Van Der Wal 
Waseela Patel
Yumnah Sarang
Faheema Ebrahim
Nazia Mullah

From left:Hamida, Yumnah, Nazia, Faheemah, Aisha, Ms Yesmien Chief Editor of CM, Sabeeha, Waseela and Tasleem. 

Each candidate held the X Factor for what they could bring to the table as CM's Brand Ambassador. From promoting unity amongst the Ummah, to taking the world on and breaking stereotypes, inspiring youth toward higher goals, raising the age bar,  and a lot more. Such amazing personalities and so driven, choosing between them seemed near to impossible.

Backstage is always a world of its own, hard work and fun were the order of the day. We were at the venue hours earlier. Makeup, dressing, jittery nerves, the candidates were excited and so were we.

It was smooth sailing with My online Souk's Sabeena prepping the candidates for their ramp walk, from hijab styling, dressing, to coordinating accessories and shoes. She treated the ladies to copious amounts of snacks and beverages backstage. "I'm a mom!" she says, when I am shook by the table covered in edibles.... The candidates were certainly fortunate to have her and so was I, I took liberties in indulging

Judges took their seats and the audience patiently waited as they munched on the platters and fruits skewers provided.

With the exception of  Ms. Yesmien, I met the other 6 judges for the first time.

The judges were:
Yesmien Kota (founder and Chief Editor of CM)
Nasreen Chamda ( Founder of Doux, and finalist in the Big South African Bake off, season 2)
Julie Ali (Talk Show Host on ITV show called Let's Talk with Julie Ali)
Aziza Cassim (Owner of Rooftop Cafe)
Tasneem Abed ( Financial Management for Multi choice)
Humaira Soojee (PH KIDS Representative)
Sumaya Omar (Marketing Manager for Jozi Kids as well as PH Kids SA Representative)
And ofcourse, myself.

Ms. Yesmien and I

Ms. Julie and Ms. Nasreen Chamda 

Ms.Tasneem Abed

Ms. Zarina Mia and Ms. Zaytoon Akhalwaya Abed

The Rooftop was buzzing, and the hosts were:
Ms. Zarina Mia,  a motivational Speaker, Counselor and Affiya Healing Specialist.  MS. Tasneem Ismail Bulbulia and Ms. Nadia Rabim,  Itv Producers.
They did a brilliant job! The program line up was entertaining, required audience participation, was informative and surprising.

The afternoon began with a dua and introduction to the judges (I always squirm when it comes to my introduction, even if someone else is doing it...;).

Pic credit: Ms. Yesmien Khota

We were spoiled with blue mocktails and sumptuous savory platters.
The food, from savouries, down to dessert, was impeccably delicious and as usual according to Rooftop high standards, was just as beautifully presented.

Blue mocktails

Gorgeous little silver box keepsake from CM

I wish I could have these everyday!tuna and egg roll ups, wraps and mini cottage pies. 

Desserts were absolutely divine! Macaroons, chocolate brownies, flapjacks, creme Brulee and cupcakes. 

Next, courageous and inspiring Shaakira Bodhania, Mum to Humayra (our beautiful little Guest of Honour), then took to the stage. She made us all PH aware and spoke of her journey as a mum, of Humayra's journey as a PH affected child, as well as the loss of her son to PH. At that point, I was trying very hard to hold back tears, and as I looked around, I could see her message clearly resonated with the audience too. May Allah grant ease to all those who suffer with severe illness, and grant them complete Shifaa. Ameen.

The fashion show ran in segments between the talks, and featured candidates in contemporary and glamourous pieces ranging in category from modest swimwear, casual and evening wear.

They brought fun to the ramp with their bright smiles, skirts swaying, beach balls, unique poses and natural charisma. I loved the atmosphere, no judgements, just love and excitement.

Pic credit: Aisha Van der Wal

Pic credit:Jehan Of My online Souk
Jehan in action

Other speakers were Hawa Charfary, a renowned International Corporate Trainer, Motivational speaker, who promotes Women development and much more. The truth is, her accolades deserve an entire post of its own. She is also a strong, inspiring and beautiful mum who has suffered the loss of her children, and continues to share her strength, positivity and message with the world. Her talk at the event was no exception, and she certainly has a way of changing your outlook for the better.

A wonderful song by Zain Bhikha about Humayra was then played, and the most beautiful thing happened. Everyone began to hold hands, we listened to the words, allowing it to sink in, and tears flowed freely. A realisation crept in and I whispered to Ms. Yesmien, "One little girl united us all!"....then hope fluttered, we can make a difference! Click here to listen to listen to Zain Bhikha's single: Ca C'est La vie

Pic credit: PH kids SA, Humayra with Zain Bhikha

Anisha Patel, owner of Midori Eco Salon (SA's one and only Eco friendly & organic beauty salon), shared her message of courage, hope, and survival through clean living. A cancer survivor, she is a warrior and pioneer, who is proof that improvements to your lifestyle in an otherwise toxic world, will improve your chances of reversing and preventing various illnesses and their ailments.

There were brilliant giveaways that took place throughout the event from spa vouchers, lingerie and more. An auction was also conducted by Ms. Nadia Rabim  and boy, did she drive a great auction. It was a lot of fun sitting at the judge's table watching the auction (you can tell I'm a total newbie!). Some of the items auctioned ranged from a delicious cake made by Nasreen Chamda, a box of makeup, to Islamic art. The audience were an amazing appreciative lot with big hearts, and the auction was incredibly successful.

Pic credit: Cake made by Nasreen Chamda and put up for auction

The candidates were given a chance to each speak about how they would contribute,  and why they deserved to be CM's Ambassador. The judges then deliberated, while beautiful Former Mrs. South Africa, Mrs. Candice Abrahams, on the request of the audience, took to the ramp.

The 2018 ambassador and runner up, for Covered Magazine was then announced by both Chief Editor, Yesmien Khota and Deputy Editor Zaytoon Akhalwaya Abed . Congratulations to Hamida Omar, Ambassador for Covered Magazine and Runner up, Sabeeha Mosam. What an amazing achievement! We cannot wait to see you ladies break boundaries and make new pathways.InshaAllah!
Moments before the big announcement... Ms. Yesmien and fellow colleague and friend Ms. Zaytoon.

Pic credit: Covered Magazine. Left Hamida Omar Ambassador and runner up Sabeeha Mosam Runner up

The event was closed off with a fantastic helium balloons were released from the rooftop.

Pic credit: Covered Magazine

The energy was undeniably electric and the love and kindness, astounding. I am so greatful to have been a part of it, I sincerely thank Covered Magazine for having me.

Aisha Van Der Wal and I

Sisters Jehan left and Sabeena right of My online Souk with Nazia Mullah

My only regret was missing out on meeting Humayra, and the guest speakers, but hey, you and I, can reach out;) If a little girl can unite so many, we can certainly make big strides too!

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Friday, 3 November 2017


Halaal Treasure at Killarney Mall

Halaal treasure? in Killarney Mall??? "What" am I going on about?

Hubby and I rarely have alone time between the kids and our crazy schedules, but lately we have adopted new approaches to spending our time. So, when we were invited to Pizza Del Forno, complimentary, we accepted!

If the Halaal Goods Market and Halaal Food Expo is anything to go by, you know that Jozi Muslims love their food! Finding new Halaal restaurants and cafes are worth celebrating via an explosion of instagram posts captioned #finallytriedit #gotmyfix #halaalcertified #whoopwhoop and a few squad pics at the newly launched Halaal franchises.

If you are as fussy as they come, prefer banting friendly meals or hubby prefers real meals that not only look fancy, but actually fill him up, and the kids tastes ping pong from burgers to pizzas and hot wings, Pizza Del Forno exceeds expectations.

Pizza Del Forno is SANHA approved!

Sundays, kids eat free from the kids menu, per paying adult, (excludes combo meals) 

Very few actually know about this newly launched gem, so no waiting in line, unless it's Saturday to call ahead and make a reservation. They are without a doubt family friendly, have baby chairs, and also cater for those in niqaab, offering the use of pardah frames.They also have their own private restroom, and even so, the public restroom are also just outside the venue.

The restaurant is beautifully designed and the decor has a sophisticated,  contemporary, and yet relaxed feel to it. Neat wooden flooring, a fireplace, face brick walls coupled with stone cladding, from which hang black and white photography, echoing the streets of Italy.

The seating is a combination of comfortable stand alone wooden tables and chairs, with wall to wall sofa booths. There are also 2 large screen televisions, so sports enthusiasts will rejoice! Lighting further complements the natural wood and stone finishes, with a combination of down lighters and weaved basket light fixtures that hang from the ceiling.

The ambiance definitely leans towards a fine dining experience, however the pricing is reasonable, and the menu is possibly the largest Halaal menu I have seen. You will be spoilt for choice! I needed about 15 mins to finally make up my mind on what I wanted to order, and the staff and manager were more than happy to offer up their suggestions.

They offer everything from a full breakfast menu, to authentic Italian pasta dishes, pizzas made in a traditional wood burning oven, burgers and sticky wings to make their patrons go "Rocco who" ?

There's also a variety of grills, Mediterranean dishes, platters, serving chicken, seafood and beef, beverages such as mocktails and monster shakes, with a dedicated coffee bar and more! Could you say all that in one breath? And not to forget, most of it comes in either classic, traditional or gourmet alternatives.

Our waiter was Sly, a hearty chap. We chose booth seats, and were served a Mediterranean platter for 2 as a starter, new on their menu, as if the menu needed any further additions. The platter was a colourful and wholesome presentation of fried haloumi cheese, sticky wings and flame grilled chourico. Each one perfectly cooked, the haloumi was soft and not overly chewy, the sticky wings were literally finger licking good, and the chourico was addictive.

Next we ordered our main meals, I ordered Pollo del Forno which was chicken fillets stuffed with melted brie cheese and Macon, covered in peppery Dijon mustard sauce with a side of roasted seasonal vegetables.

Zakariyya, my husband, opted to try their burgers, made with 100%  beef patties. He chose the gourmet mexican nacho burger and requested the guacamole be excluded, as he's  not an avo fan, with skinny chips on the side. They happily obliged.

I enjoyed my meal, it was not my usual order, and being someone who loves to try new items on the menu, it satisfied my curiosity and appetite. The portions are huge. Hubby, notoriously fussy when it comes to eating out, actually stopped to complement the chef.

Drinks were Freddo cappuccino for me and a caramel kit Kat monster shake for hubby, which was also new on the menu. If you love your coffee strong, freddo cappucino fits the bill. If you craving something sweet, their monster shakes are divine, and will satisfy any sweet tooth.

Desert was a chocolate volcano, which is a hot chocolate cake with a molten chocolate centre with the kind of vanilla ice cream I love, that is not too creamy, but deliciously accompanies the chocolate volcano. Serving size is good for one.

Does it meet little finger's demanding expectations? Yes, absolutely. We ordered pizzas for the kids and they loved it.

I suggest you also try out their chicken schnitzel, golden crumbled goodness and their pastas and blueberry mocktail.

All in all, Pizza Del Forno is high on taste, large in portions and not too bad on the pockets. Hope you enjoyed this review, do tag #stylexplora and #hungryforhalaal when you #getyourfix;)

Pizza Del Forno, Killarney Mall:
011 646 5715

Lower level, Killarney Mall, opposite Ocean Basket.

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