Living The Lifestyle: Soirees & Sweets


If there’s one thing hosting the Living The Lifestyle workshops has taught us, it is that creativity feeds on boundless enthusiasm and passion. Just when we think we’ve achieved a truly unique and thoughtful workshop experience, our presenters awe us even further with their ideas and spirit.

Our April workshop had sister-team Rowena and Nazmira Saloojee guide participants through classy make-up technique and styling according to one’s fashion personality. Move over, rhymes-with-ardashian, the Saloojee sisters are a super-glamorous force of fabulous fashion-forwardness.

Nazmira styled models in on-trend looks by Fordsburg-based boutique Leeya’s and abaya-couture house Nspired Abayas.

We also welcomed Allison Brand, boutique-baker extraordinaire and co-author of Let’s Celebrate (, an elegant guide on how to plan spectacular events from start to finish. Allison demonstrated how one could transform sugar cookies into charming centerpieces and napkin rings to double-up as guest favours.

Naqiyah took attendees through two easily achievable tablescapes.

The indoor evening look took on the mood of a grown-up soiree with its rich golds and jewel-tones juxtaposed with light-hearted hanging paper lanterns and tissue-paper pom-poms. Gilt picture-frame party favours and vibrant place-cards created texturally dramatic place-settings. The table was set-off by a centerpiece incorporating black candle-sticks and a sumptuous floral arrangement.

With its fresh flowers in teacups and folded-rose serviettes, the outdoor tablescape was a charming celebration of the young English Rose. Allison’s personalised sugar-cookie placeholders and napkin rings worked especially well against the palette of pinks and greens. A wishing-tree centerpiece hung with decorative cookies enhanced an already inviting space to eat and share.

High Tea was served in the NiQi Living Luxe studio. The neat shelving units in the airy space provided an opportunity for easy entertaining and Naqiyah utilised the space to full effect. A special thank you to Farzana Mia for bringing along her Baked Cream Cheese dish (scroll to the bottom of that blog post for the recipe), it was cleared so fast we were lucky to get just a small scrape on a cracker!

Here are a few High Tea recipes for you to try and share:

Red Velvets by Taskeen Seth

For the Cupcakes:

1 and a 1/4 cup flour
3/4 cup sugar
1/2 tsp bicarb
1/2 tsp cocoa
1/2 tsp salt
1/2 cup buttermilk
1 egg
3/4 cup veg oil
1/2 tsp vinegar
1/2 tsp vanilla essence
1 TBSP red food color

Pre-heat oven to 180 degrees Celsius.
Sift the dry ingredients together.
Combine the liquid ingredients.
Mix the dry ingredients into the liquid combination.
Pour into cupcake wrappers and bake for 15-20 minutes.

For the Frosting:
Beat half a tub of cream cheese until smooth. Add a 1/4 tsp of vanilla essence, and a 1/4 cup of sifted icing sugar and beat until combined and smooth. Gradually add 1/3 (I used less) of a cup of fresh or double cream and whip till mixture is of a pipable texture.

Chocolate Mint loaf (Naqiyah’s mum’s recipe)

  • Beat 125g margarine + 1 and a half cups of sugar.
  • Add 3 eggs and sift in 2 and a half cups minus 2 tablespoons of flour. Replace flour with 2 tablespoons of cocoa. Grate half a peppermint crisp chocolate into the mix.
  • Add 3 teaspoons baking powder.
  • Gradually add in half a cup of milk.
  • Bake at 180 degrees Celsius until a skewer comes out clean. (30 minutes should be sufficient – I don’t set a timer) Grate over the remainder of peppermint crisp just after the cake comes out of the oven.

Madeira Loaf by Naqiyah Mayat

Madeira Loaf (Naqiyah’s mum’s recipe)

Cream: 125g butter + 1 cup sugar + 2 large eggs
Add: 4 ripe bananas + 1 teaspoon vanilla essence + 1 teaspoon baking powder.
Beat in: 2 cups of flour and half a cup of pecan nuts
Add 1 teaspoon bicarbonate to half a cup of hot water. Add the bicarbonate and hot water mix to the batter, mix and pour into a greased loaf tin.
Bake at 180 degrees Celsius for 1 hour.
Naqiyah’s notes:
I made half the quantity as a loaf and the remainder as little muffins. Sa’eed loves bite-size things, and its easy to pack them into a little container for a snack when you go out.
I love the Woolworths’ red silicone loaf trays, they’re smaller than regular loaf pans.

Blueberry Cream Cheese Dip by Saaleha Bamjee

Blueberry Cream Cheese Dip by Saaleha Bamjee

Click here for the recipe



wishing tree, soiree paper decor, cupcake wrappers, food picks, english rose paper plates and paper cups:

photography: Saaleha

Novelty sugar cookies: Allison Brand of Tiny Bite

make-up and fashion styling: Rowena Saloojee and Nazmira Saloojee

clothing: Leeyas

abayas: Nspired Exclusive Abayas

2 Responses
  • Tania Levey
    April 24, 2012

    I have a small gift shop with a showroom at our home and I would like to enquire about stocking your teatowels? They are absolutely fabulous!

    • saaleha
      April 30, 2012

      Thank you Tania, Naqiyah will pop you an email!