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Lifestyle: Year in review

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The Lifestyle pages in 2013 were filled with stories about health, fashion, jewellery, food, wellness and green initiatives, to name but a few. We went to new restaurants to try out the food, investigated hosting a colony of bees on our roof, found out what roller derby is and shared an abundance of tasty recipes with you. Here is a sample of our favourites of 2013.

The group used old Egyptian photos as proof and encouragement (Photo from Hanlbes Fasateen Facebook page)

The group used old Egyptian photos as proof and encouragement
(Photo from Hanlbes Fasateen Facebook page)

We Will Wear Dresses on 24 August

Hadeel Hegazy spoke to the organisers of the controversial campaign

A Facebook campaign was been launched calling for Egyptian women to take back their right to dress as they please: Hanlbes Fasateen, or We Will Wear Dresses.

“The aim behind the campaign is urging girls to feel free to wear what they want; it’s their basic right,” said Michael Nazeehs, one of the founders of the campaign. Many women feel restricted in their attire due to prevalent sexual harassment on the street, he added. “We want them to say, ‘we are not afraid; we will wear what we want,’” Nazeehs said.

Many times the blame for sexual harassment has been squarely put on the victim, often claiming she was dressed inappropriately, completely disregarding the fact that many modestly and conservatively dressed women are sexually harassed and assaulted.

The accompanying hashtag was picked up by Twitter users, and the campaign became popular shortly after it was launched.

 

 

Cairollers in action (Photo from Courtesy of Cairollers Facebook page)

Cairollers in action
(Photo from Courtesy of Cairollers Facebook page)

Cairollers bring roller derby to Egypt

Thoraia Abou Bakr discovered roller derby is not for the faint at heart

For many years, sports in Egypt have been limited, with the few exceptions of watching football matches and going to the gym. However, the past year has seen a lot of new initiatives to change this and now there is yet another sports team that has arrived in the city: Cairollers.

“We, cofounders Indie Hannah (Angie Turk) and Naughty Venclose (Shaneikiah Bickham), met and discovered that we had both played derby before moving to Egypt. As a passing joke we mentioned starting a team in Cairo. As we got more settled in our new city, we were ready to take on the challenge of that dream,” Shaneikiah Bickham, one of the founders, said.

Cairollers are dreaming big; as the sole roller derby team in Egypt, they do not want to simply keep practicing but they want to turn it into a legitimate sport. “We want to grow a league of skate teams in Cairo, which means 60-70 skaters, venues, positive publicity, and lots of shoving and hitting!” Bickham said.

 

A new hybrid orange tree that can be grown in a pot and offers oranges eight months a year (Photo by Abdel-Rahman Sherief)

A new hybrid orange tree that can be grown in a pot and offers oranges eight months a year
(Photo by Abdel-Rahman Sherief)

Spring exhibition in Orman Park

Abdel-Rahman Sherief visited the annual Spring Flowers exhibition in Orman Park

Many agrarian entities and nurseries take part in the prestigious annual exhibit in Orman Park to present their latest creations of flowers and plants. The annual exhibition revives the nearly rendered obsolete and mistreated park built by Khedive Ismael in 1875. Orman is a Turkish word for forest or jungle.

In the past many Egyptian Pashas or Beys, the elite of Egyptian society before the 1952 Revolution, competed on who owned the most beautiful garden surrounding their mansions. The annual competition was open to the public who would flock to view the rare and exotic samples of flowers and plants.

According to Hani Hamza, a nursery manager of one of the exhibiting companies, in previous years most plants on display during the exhibition were imported from the Netherlands and other Eurozone countries. “This year most of the plants are locally produced; we found that it is possible to grow these flowers in Egypt,” said Hamza.

 

 

A young Nubian girl working on a traditional loom (Photo from Yadaweya Facebook page)

A young Nubian girl working on a traditional loom
(Photo from Yadaweya Facebook page)

Yadaweya introduces the world to Egyptian craftspeople

Thoraia Abou Bakr explored a new website featuring local craftspeople and their products

All over Egypt local tribes and Bedouins create the most beautiful crafts and products, but they rarely get the chance to exhibit and sell their work outside their local area. In addition, many of the shops that do carry those products do not shine much light on the makers of the items.

Yadaweya, meaning handmade in Arabic, is a website that ties the craftsmen and women to their crafts and products, and then make the products available worldwide. “I am from Qena in Upper Egypt and I grew up watching my parents and grandparents working on their crafts and products. There are a lot of different crafts in Egypt; but little attention is paid to them and most of the crafts are becoming extinct,” founder Usama Ghazali said.

“Yadaweya is a place where you can get to know the spirit of the art and we exhibit the work of the artists. You can also find the story of each craft. The main idea is to connect the craftspeople in Egypt with the rest of the world,” Ghazali explained.

 

A Kef pendant in sterling silver inlaid with lapis lazuli (Photo from Adam Elwan Design)

A Kef pendant in sterling silver inlaid with lapis lazuli
(Photo from Adam Elwan Design)

Colours and clean lines define Adam Elwan’s jewellery

Adel Heine sat down with the young Egyptian designer and talked tradition and modern designs

Jewellery design and production has been part of Egyptian culture for as long as anyone can remember. In the last few years a lot of new designers have started to sell their pieces through social media and exhibitions, with many designs featuring traditional Arabic calligraphy.

Young designer Adam Elwan is different; he has designed a collection that is fresh, clean-lined and very beautiful, using sterling silver or 18ct gold and precious and semi-precious stones and wood. He spent time in Europe to learn the craft of design properly: “I studied for three years in Florence at Le Arti Orafe where I learned jewellery design and silversmithing.”

When he returned to Egypt he developed his own line of jewellery. “I work with the craftsmen of two families in the Khan. It is a shame to see how little work there is with the decline in tourism. Families have worked in their crafts for generations yet these days the younger members are leaving to find work elsewhere.”

 

 

Growing vegetables with this method eliminates pesticides and saves 80-90% of water  (Photo From Egyptian Hydrofarms Facebook page )

Growing vegetables with this method eliminates pesticides and saves 80-90% of water
(Photo From Egyptian Hydrofarms Facebook page )

Quality food, one lettuce at a time

Omar El Adl talked to Egyptian Hydrofarms about growing fresh vegetables hydroponically and pesticide-fre

If you have to be wearing a mask to be near plants when they are being sprayed with pesticides, how safe is it to be eating them a few days later? Egyptian Hydrofarms is the latest environmental effort that is looking to supply you with safe fresh vegetables.

Today, Egyptian Hydrofarms produces a half tonne of lettuce and other herbs, “until we start operating at full capacity, we are only producing a half tonne of things that are considered greens; lettuce, basil, rocket, spinach, et cetera,” said Amr Bassiouny, founder of Egyptian Hydrofarms.

Egyptian Hydrofarms says the word “hydroponics” literally means “working water”. They call it the “art” of farming without the use of irrigation and therefore without the use of pesticides. The plant roots are allowed to grow in a nutrient-rich solution which Bassiouny says decreases water consumption by as much as 80-90% compared to traditional farming.

 

 

Participant in the urban beekeeping workshop shows a comb with honey (Photo from Nawaya Facebook page)

Participant in the urban beekeeping workshop shows a comb with honey
(Photo from Nawaya Facebook page)

Local organisation introduces urban beekeeping

Adel Heine found out how to be a host to a colony of bees

The current trend of eating a healthy diet has inspired many to switch to organic produce. And while supermarkets now offer organic options, some are taking it a step further and are growing their own vegetables in their gardens, rooftops and balconies. Nawaya, a not-for-profit initiative that promotes true sustainability, organised a workshop recently that introduced yet another possibility to produce your own food: honey.

Urban beekeeping is becoming more popular around the world and according to Sara El Sayed, one of the founders of Nawaya. “Bees are vitally important to farming, they are needed to pollinate crops,” El Sayed said. “Keeping your own bees will also allow you to have access to your own honey, of course,” she added.

“This workshop was an introduction to what it means to keep bees in an urban environment, how to do it and how to taste the different honeys. We plan to follow it up with how to build and maintain your own colony,” El Sayed said.

 

 

Driftwood turned into a kitchen cabinet (Photo from Gazwareen Facebook page)

Driftwood turned into a kitchen cabinet
(Photo from Gazwareen Facebook page)

Gazwareen: The art of driftwood

Thoraia Abou Bakr spoke to the doctor who transforms what the sea brings to shore in beautiful furniture

When a ship sinks and starts to disintegrate, the wood that the vessel was made off get lost at sea. After a while, the wood finds its way to a beach and lies there in the sun. Some people may not imagine that this type of wood can be used, but Shahir Mikhail does. Mikhail is the founder and owner of Gazwareen, the name of which is a type of tree in Arabic.

Mikhail recalls the many summers he used to spend helping his father with his hobby. “I spent my whole childhood in Agami,” he explained. Agami is a beach-town close to Alexandria, and the place where he first saw driftwood.

“The sea salt makes the wood very hard and it also becomes insect-repellent. It has an aesthetic quality due to the withering and it also has a historic quality,” Mikhail said. The historic aspect comes from the fact that before landing on the beach, the wood went on a great journey. Mikhail emphasised this aspect which he believes gives the wood “its personality”.

Bites Fil BeitBites Fil Beit: Good Egyptian food

Iman Adel Abdel-Fattah shared a recipe with us each week, adjusted for the season and time of year. During Ramadan she suggested several full iftar menus per week, when school started she presented us with a variety of healthy sandwiches to pack in lunchboxes but most of all she shared the secrets behind traditional Egyptian dishes.

One of our favourites was Yellow Lentil Soup, a hearty, warm treat that brightens up grey winter days.

 


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