Top 7 expert tips for hosting a small but memorable Ramadan iftar

Top 7 expert tips for hosting a small but memorable Ramadan iftar
Egyptian etiquette expert Dina El-Selmy shares top tips for hosting a small iftar gathering this Ramadan. File/Instagram
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Updated 25 April 2021

Top 7 expert tips for hosting a small but memorable Ramadan iftar

Top 7 expert tips for hosting a small but memorable Ramadan iftar

DUBAI: Should you be hosting your own iftar this Ramadan, there are dos and don’ts to bear in mind, especially with the coronavirus pandemic and the subsequent government restrictions it has brought about.

Certified Egyptian etiquette consultant Dina El-Selmy has long been a resource for dinner party hosts looking to create a night to remember. Here, the founder of Urban Etiquette, an online platform dedicated to everything to do with manners, shares her top etiquette tips for hosting a small iftar gathering this Ramadan.

Check health guidelines

Consider the World Health Organization’s safety and health rules regarding COVID-19 to protect loved ones while celebrating together.

Minimize crowding

Invite only the government-mandated number of guests and ensure physical distancing between people by adding a place card with the guest’s name on it, or use engraved napkins. “For extra measures, provide all necessary supplies such as hand sanitizer and tissues, closed-lid bins and masks,” advises El-Selmy.




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Your invitations matter

Include the date, time, location and any additional details, such as health guidelines or a specific Ramadan theme, on the invitation to make things smoother for yourself and your guests.

Consider the Iftar menu

No iftar gathering is complete without a beautiful table-scape or a mouth-watering food menu. However, when planning an iftar, it’s important to keep your guests’ dietary preferences in mind. “A golden tip is to keep a variety of healthy choices on your iftar table,” says El-Selmy. 

Be prepared 

Make sure the meal is prepped, the table is set, and your outfit is picked out well before your guests arrive, for a seamless and stress-free evening.




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Create a spiritual atmosphere

“Consider creating a quiet, comfortable space for your guests to pray,” says the etiquette consultant. “The prayer space can be in the corner of a room or a designated area in the garden.”

Show appreciation

It’s important to make your guests feel valued throughout the evening. “Don’t forget to thank your guests for coming as you say goodbye and thank anyone who brought you a gift,” says El-Selmy. 


Courage at forefront of World Refugee Day mural by Syrian artist

Courage at forefront of World Refugee Day mural by Syrian artist
Updated 7 min 13 sec ago

Courage at forefront of World Refugee Day mural by Syrian artist

Courage at forefront of World Refugee Day mural by Syrian artist
  • Syrian artist Diala Brisly: “It’s very important to show solidarity among refugees”
  • “Courage is having fears, having all this worry, having all this trauma, and still having the energy to keep going”

LONDON: A refugee artist from Syria has created a unique piece of art that captures the spirit and courage of those fleeing war and poverty.
To mark World Refugee Day 2021, which was on Sunday, Diala Brisly created a mural with one key theme: The courage it takes to flee one’s home.
Commissioned by the International Rescue Committee, the piece depicts various people against a backdrop of a bombed city.
Now safe in France, Brisly said her work is about having the “energy to keep going through fear, trauma and upheaval.”
She added that the piece’s message — “refugees are courageous” — captures the essence of what it means to be forcibly uprooted.
“I really like the slogan because it shows strength, regardless of all the troubles that we’re going through,” she said.
The artwork depicts people of various ethnicities and identities, including children, and one man poignantly wearing a life jacket — a staple item of refugee migration across the Mediterranean Sea and elsewhere.
“It’s very important to show solidarity among refugees. I believe in solidarity between all people. When we have this struggle in common, and we understand each other’s pain, we’re able to help each other because we share similar experiences,” said Brisly
“The media puts the spotlight on refugees when they’re in the middle of the sea. But it’s very important to understand that the crisis didn’t start in the Mediterranean, it started before,” she added.
“For me, courage is having fears, having all this worry, having all this trauma, and still having the energy to keep going.”
During the revolution against the Assad regime, journalists shared Brisly’s artwork to supplement their reports.
But this exposure, she said, put her life in danger. She fled Syria via Turkey and ended up in France.
Now she uses her talent to create moving works that support the causes she believes in, and runs art therapy workshops for children affected by war.
According to the UN’s refugee agency, nearly 82.4 million people were uprooted in 2020, fleeing war, violence, persecution and human rights abuses.


Saudi label Hindamme presents ‘Driving Jacket’ at London’s Victoria & Albert Museum

Saudi label Hindamme presents ‘Driving Jacket’ at London’s Victoria & Albert Museum
Updated 21 June 2021

Saudi label Hindamme presents ‘Driving Jacket’ at London’s Victoria & Albert Museum

Saudi label Hindamme presents ‘Driving Jacket’ at London’s Victoria & Albert Museum

DUBAI: Saudi brand Hindamme, founded by designer Mohammed Khoja, is presenting its “Driving Jacket” at London’s Victoria & Albert Museum. 

Khoja designed the black and green bomber jackets with the insignia “June 24, 2018, 10 Shawwal 1439” — the date when women in the Kingdom were allowed to drive.

The unisex design, which was created in 2018, features gold and black embroidery in comes in the colors of Saudi Arabia’s flag. 

The Victoria & Albert museum is exhibiting the green version of the jacket, which has become part of its permanent collection.

 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 

A post shared by HINDAMME (@hindamme)

 

In a previous interview with Arab News, Khoja said: “I was moved by the decision to lift the ban on women driving, because it seemed like something that would never happen. It is a symbolic gesture. The ban has always been held against us as Saudis.”

Khoja said he hoped his jacket would help fashion-conscious Saudis mark the event.

“Every country has historic days when things happen that shift the course of the future — and this is one of those dates. That was the inspiration. I thought, how can I, as a designer, pay tribute to this?

“I call it a driving jacket to commemorate the date.”

 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 

A post shared by HINDAMME (@hindamme)

The designer said he was “super-proud” of the direction Saudi society was taking with this “progressive push.”

The exhibition showcases clothing, accessories, design, and cultural memorabilia.

Besides Hindamme’s jacket, the museum is also presenting a pair of shoes by Christian Louboutin, the Mae West Lips sofa designed by Salvador Dali, the 2015 Selfish book of selfies by Kim Kardashian and more. 


French-Algerian actress Sofia Boutella plays a protective parent in new ‘Settlers’ trailer

French-Algerian actress Sofia Boutella plays a protective parent in new ‘Settlers’ trailer
The trailer for ‘Settlers’ starring Sofia Boutella is finally here. File/AFP
Updated 21 June 2021

French-Algerian actress Sofia Boutella plays a protective parent in new ‘Settlers’ trailer

French-Algerian actress Sofia Boutella plays a protective parent in new ‘Settlers’ trailer

DUBAI: The trailer for the upcoming sci-fi film “Settlers” starring French-Algerian actress Sofia Boutella came out this week. 

IFC Midnight, an American film distribution company, released the two-and-a-half minute long trailer on Twitter, writing: “They left Earth for something more. They weren’t prepared for what they found. Watch the trailer for #SettlersMovie, in theaters and on demand July 23.”

Boutella stars alongside British-American actor Jonny Lee Miller, Puerto Rican actor Ismael Cruz Cordova and American child actress Brooklynn Prince.

“Settlers” is set on a remote homestead on Mars, where a refugee family from Earth clings to hope for a better life. 

The Algiers-born actress and Miller take on the role of parents to Remmy (Prince).

The film is set to debut this summer. Supplied

The trailer kicks off with the voice of Remmy saying: “There’s strangers nearby. I’m scared,” prompting her father to respond, “No, it’s just us, there’s nothing to be scared of. No one’s going to mess with you kid,” as he tucks her into bed. 

The 39-year-old features throughout the trailer tending to plants in a greenhouse and protecting her daughter from armed invaders.

The science fiction film set to premiere this year was directed by Wyatt Rockefeller, marking his feature narrative debut. 

Meanwhile, Julie Fabrizio, Joshua Horsfield and Johan Kruge all served as co-producers for the film.

Boutella is also set to star in “SAS: Rogue Heroes.” Supplied

Boutella is also set to star in “SAS: Rogue Heroes,” a new series from “Peaky Blinders” creator Steven Knight.

The dancer-turned-actress will feature in the series, currently being filmed, alongside Egyptian star Amir El-Masry.

The pair feature alongside a star-studded cast that includes English actor and model Connor Swindells, “Game of Thrones” actor Alfie Allen, and Dominic West from “The Affair.”

While character plots remain scarce, the cast names have been revealed with Boutella set to play the role of Eve.

Boutella is certainly one of Hollywood’s busiest stars. The “Atomic Blonde” actress is set to begin shooting sci-fi comedy “Alpha Gang” alongside an all-star cast that includes Andrea Riseborough, Jon Hamm, Nicholas Hoult, Charlotte Gainsbourg, Mackenzie Davis and Steven Yuen.

Meanwhile, her latest film, “Prisoners of the Ghostland” starring Nicolas Cage, made its world premiere at the virtual 2021 Sundance Film Festival in February to critical acclaim.

 


Bella Hadid, Arab stars pay tribute to their fathers

Bella Hadid, Arab stars pay tribute to their fathers
Bella Hadid shared photos of her father, US-Palestinian real estate mogul Mohamed Hadid. Instagram
Updated 21 June 2021

Bella Hadid, Arab stars pay tribute to their fathers

Bella Hadid, Arab stars pay tribute to their fathers

DUBAI: Instagram feeds were flooded with special tributes to dads this week as celebrities took to social media to mark Father’s Day, which took place internationally on June 20.

Bella Hadid posted a carousel of images of her and her dad, US-Palestinian real estate mogul Mohamed Hadid, captioning it: “Happy Father’s Day baba. You make me laugh more than anyone in the world. Although I cry writing this because I wish I could give you the biggest hug and kiss today! I miss you and love you to the moon.”

 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 

A post shared by Bella(@bellahadid)

Her older sister Gigi also dedicated a few posts on Instagram to their father.

“Happy Father’s Day my daddio @mohamedhadid,” wrote Gigi on Instagram to her 67.3 million followers, alongside a photo of her father pushing her nine-month-old daughter Khai on a stroller. “I love you so much and have loved watching you be the sweetest jido to Khai!” she added, using the Arabic term for grandfather.

 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 

A post shared by Gigi Hadid (@gigihadid)

Hadid, who welcomed her baby girl with former one Direction star Zayn Malik back in September, also took to the social media platform to celebrate her partner and wish him a happy first Father’s Day, writing: “Our Khai is so lucky to have a baba who loves her so much and does anything to see her smile! @zayn Happy first Father’s Day… I’m so grateful for all the little bits of her that are you. We love you so much.”

 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 

A post shared by Gigi Hadid (@gigihadid)

Elsewhere, British-Moroccan supermodel Nora Attal took the opportunity to mark Father’s Day by sharing three photos of her dad on her Instagram Stories and captioning them “Happy” “Father’s” and “Day to this no. 1 man” respectively.

Also taking to social media to pay tribute to the most special man in their lives were US-Palestinian DJ duo Simi and Haze Khadra.

Instagram/@simihaze

The identical twins posted a sweet childhood picture on their joint Instagram account, writing: “Happy Father’s Day. Love you to the moon.”

Meanwhile, French-Algerian actress Lyna Khoudri reposted a lengthy tribute she wrote in 2019 in honor of her journalist father, who received death threats during the country’s civil war.

“Dad, I don't think I have a quarter of your qualities,” she said in the thoughtful post which she reuploaded onto her Instagram Stories, adding: “I love you, my one and only.”


Gigi Hadid is collaborating with Buddy Valastro from ‘Cake Boss’

Gigi Hadid is collaborating with Buddy Valastro from ‘Cake Boss’
The 26-year-old model spent the entire day as a baker’s apprentice. Instagram
Updated 20 June 2021

Gigi Hadid is collaborating with Buddy Valastro from ‘Cake Boss’

Gigi Hadid is collaborating with Buddy Valastro from ‘Cake Boss’

DUBAI: Gigi Hadid spent an entire day interning at Buddy Valastro’s — star of America’s reality TV hit “Cake Boss” — Carlo’s Bakery in New Jersey this week.

“Best. Day. Ever,” the part-Palestinian model wrote alongside an Instagram carousel featuring piping bags and a selfie with Valastro. “Somethin’ coming soon from Cake Boss Buddy Valastro and his biggest fan/newest Carlos Bakery intern. Thank you to the whole famiglia for the warmest welcome. Big, big love,” she added.

 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 

A post shared by Gigi Hadid (@gigihadid)

Valastro reposted the selfie on his personal page and wrote about his newest pastry chef: “You may know Gigi Hadid as a world-famous supermodel, but she’s also the sweetest person ever and one amazing cake decorator, too!”

While neither the catwalk star nor the Cake Boss offered up details about their collaboration, the two have a longstanding relationship.

The self-proclaimed biggest fan of “Cake Boss” revealed that she’s been watching the show for a decade and that there almost isn’t an episode that she’s missed.

Valastro memorably made the mother-of-one’s “everything bagel cake” that brought her to tears for her 25th birthday.

She wrote at the time that she “10/10 would be a Carlo’s intern whenever needed.”

Hadid also commissioned the famous baker to make the cake for her partner, former One Direction star Zayn Malik’s 28th birthday in January in the shape of a Bradford Football Club jersey.

 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 

A post shared by Gigi Hadid (@gigihadid)