This weekend, the Kensington Olympia, London hosted the Muslims Lifestyle Show - and it was an event not to be missed. I thoroughly enjoyed myself (and, not because I was child-free, I promise). The event was spread over the two days and there were so many different activities, ranging from Islamic talks, cooking sessions and fashion shows. There was even a soft play area for children, so it was definitely an event catered for family.
Past, similar, large scale events have always left me feeling claustrophobic and I didn't want to expose Mini Mango to that environment so I decided to leave him home for this event. However, upon arrival, I was quick to notice how there was ample space for pushchairs and it was not overly crowded. (I did hear the Saturday event had boasted over 10k attendees, which was 4k more than the anticipated figure, so I assumed it would have been similar on the Sunday - but this was not the case!)
I think the event overall was a success and was very well thought out by the organisers, as I left satisfied and I was very happy with my experience. You name it, that product was at this event. From dates, to suhoor bars all the way to beard oils had a stand! It was such a pleasure to see how many products are now available in the market and catered to Muslims. It was definitely great exposure for small Muslim businesses, so if you are thinking of having a stand in the next years show, make sure you do - it will be brilliant exposure!
I visited the Muslim Stickers Company stand because I was on the hunt for nice Ramadan decorations for the house and I spent a good period of time at that stall. I picked up a few lanterns, badges (although, one was missing by the time I got home) and Eid stickers. I will do a future video/blogpost on what I do with these items. I spoke to the sister who runs the company and masha'Allah she was so lovely, who has clearly put a lot of time and effort into her company and products. I would highly recommend visiting her website if you homeschool, want decorations for Islamic events or would like packaged halal sweets.
I wanted to buy Ali a nice beard oil as, like any man's his beard has a coarse texture and the company's stand which caught my attention was Five O'clock Products, which was 100% natural (an essential requirement for any product Ali uses) and was made in the UK. The customer service was great, he took the time to explain the concept, each product available for what I was after and his personal recommendations. In the end, I opted for a unscented beard oil called H2o, which I felt was the safest option for Ali (so he can't complain about the smell!). Ali has used to oil everyday since he has received it and so far, the texture has improved a lot. I would definitely repurchase from this company in the future.
If anyone knows me, they know I am the type of person who buys books, even though I have a pile of books already at home that are waiting to be read. So, when I saw the Darussalam stand, I could not go past and not browse. I ended up purchasing children books for Mini Mango, with flaps (his current obsession). They had written on their Facebook page that there were distributing free Eid cards, which you can colour in. However, when mentioned at the till, the man did not know what I was referring to so I was a tad disappointed as I was looking forward to Mini Mango colouring in a few Eid cards to distribute to friends and family. I have always bought Islamic books from this company, and I will continue to do so, as their prices are often very competitive.
I was excited to know Verona Collection would have a stand at the show, especially as they have recently come over to the UK and their collection looked amazing on the website so I was looking forward to feeling the material and seeing if the quality lived up to the reviews. I was left pleasantly happy with my purchase as they were selling chiffon hijabs and I have been dying to purchase one but never had an opportunity to purchase. YouTuber, Sebinaah was at this stand over the weekend and she was such a delight to finally meet. We had lunch together and she is such a lovely girl who is exactly like her videos.
There were so many stands that I did not get to visit/purchase from, so I think next time I would spend more time looking at the leaflet and planning the stands I want to definitely visit as looking through the hashtag #mlslondon on Instagram - I missed out on some great products/stands.
One thing I wasn't very fond of was the Fashion Show. I felt it dragged on, the models did the same walk for all of the collections so it was rather tedious to watch. I actually left after watching the show for an hour and I did not regret leaving my seat. The music was FAR too loud/too many speakers and there were mixed messages from the organisers for the fashion show. We were told to be seated for the show over the intercom. However, upon arriving to the seating area, we were told we cannot sit down until the 'reserved'/VIP ticket holders had sat down - which I thought was silly as no one who did not have a VIP ticket was trying to sit in the reserved section. It was just pointless calling us to the fashion show area if they weren't ready for us.
However, besides this mishap, the event was great. I will definitely go again next year, insha'Allah with my family and make a day trip out of it. I will also take my card, as many of the stands accepted cards and I will take a packed lunch as the food court was packed and in my opinion overpriced for what you are given.
I was only able to video a few clips as I had so much fun, I completely forgot to record most things! If you would like to see a glimpse of the show, please watch the video below:
I hope you enjoy the video and if you have not subscribed to my YouTube channel, please do so :)