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Hi! I'm Shabana. I live in Bahrain. I'm a businesswoman by day and a fitness instructor by night. I believe that dressing up is the easiest way of loving yourself, and this blog is where I journal my outfits and my life. If you'd like to know more, click on the About Me tab on top. I hope you enjoy my blog!
15/random posts
Pencil Skirts and Style Experiments

Pencil Skirts and Style Experiments

I had given up on pencil skirts a few years back. The reason was that they're usually uncomfortable as they're so body-hugging. You have to always suck in your stomach when you're wearing them {unless you're super thin or had your stomach organs removed}, and it limits the range of your stride. Annoying for a person like me who likes to walk fast. Instead, I stuck to A-line skirts.

But I got sucked in again. I kept seeing all these pictures of gorgeous pencil skirt outfits on Pinterest, and I got tempted to try one again and see if I want to get more. Which is why I got the most forgiving colour- black. And a cheap skirt from Shein when they had their free shipping offer. I didn't want to spend a lot of money on an expensive skirt only to decide that I don't want to ever wear it again. This is an experiment, after all. I wanted to wear one and see if I like wearing it. 

It's really, really hard for me to find a pencil skirt I really like. It was the same even when I used o wear them. They're either too tight or too short. It was very hard to find one that was flattering and looked elegant. What I really liked about this skirt is that it covers my knees. Also, it's a completely stretchy material. I had my misgivings about it when I was buying it from the app, but all the reviews said it was a thick material. {ALWAYS read the reviews when you're buying anything online. ALWAYS.} And they were right. It is a very thick material. So it doesn't look cheap. Plus the colour is a deep, inky black, which again makes it look elegant and expensive. The only drawback is that it doesn't have a slit at the back, so it's a bit constricting when you walk. But otherwise, it's very comfortable. 

I paired it with a peach button-down from H&M, for a striking contrast between the top and bottom. I believe H&M still have this line of shirts. They're available in several colours. I have two from this collection- one in baby blue and one in this muted peach. I love these shirts as the material, though polyester, is soft and thick. My biggest peeve with button-downs is that most times the material is thin and see-through. Because this material is soft, it looks effortless and feminine. The colour is such a gorgeous pastel shade. 

Although I have to admit that I've stopped purchasing button-downs recently. {This one is quite old. It ages very well. I've had the blue one for 3 years now and it looks new.} I realized that I got stuck in a rut of wearing button-downs and amassed a big collection. The thing is, button-downs are so easy to wear and they're perfect for looking professional. Which is how I found myself wearing them almost every day until I got sick of them. Even if I buy one now, it has to have really different sleeves or something really unique about it.

But I have always loved how a soft, slightly billowy blouse looks worn with a tighter, structured pencil skirt. Which is why I love this pairing. The contrast of shape and textures makes it so pretty and gives you the illusion of an hourglass shape even on someone with a straight frame like me.

Because the top and skirt are fairly simple and professional chic, I added some interest with nude heels with a knot detail. A gold flower ring and a crystal pendant kept the jewellery minimalistic and elegant. 

A big, boxy statement bag adds more structure to this simple outfit, and the tan colour goes with the nude shoes.

Top: H&M, Skirt: Shein, Necklace: Gifted, Ring: Damas, Bag: Parfois, Shoes: Debenhams.

Watch this space for more pairings with this skirt. As for the result of my experiment, I think I'll give them a try again. I'd love to try a printed skirt, maybe a floral print or a graphic print. IF I ever find one that I like.

What do you think? Do you like A-line skirts or pencil skirts? Or do you hate skirts altogether?

I talk in detail about fashion basics and looking after your clothes in my book, Loving Yourself In Style. Check it out on Goodreads HERE.

Until next time,

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Shabana Feroze
Lanterns & Lavender, And The Universe Being Nice Again

Lanterns & Lavender, And The Universe Being Nice Again

This material was yet another love-at-first-sight. When Sajida from Saji's Couture showed it to me I was like yes yes yes! It's a very soft chiffon, with textured polka dots in white. But what made me fall heard for it was, of course, the print. Nice big bold flowers in fuchsia and purple. I've always been a sucker for floral print on a white background. 

Once I okayed the cloth for making a blouse, it was stitched and ready to wear. Usually, after you okay a fabric with Saji's Couture, a design is shown to you to approve. But this was made without showing me as by now Sajida knows my taste and I couldn't be happier with how it turned out. I love how the top is 'more is more'. Usually, with a busy and statement fabric like this, I'd imagine a simple design. But this has so much going on with the sleeves and I love it! It's got big, badass statement sleeves which make it look so glamorous. I like that the sleeves are not just lantern sleeves but have tied ends as well. More is more!

The neckline is simple and slightly high, so the front of the top shows off the beautiful print. Since the material is a bit sheer, there's a camisole for wearing under it. It's in dark purple, a color I would never think of for under a white material. The purple under makes the top a subtle shade of purple as well and makes the white dots pop more. The cami is a soft crepe material in a loose cut and is soooo comfy. The straps are nice and wide so they don't cut into your shoulders or slip off. I always hate store-bought tank tops that stick to your body. I mean, you're wearing another top on top of it. It gets so stuffy!

With such a glam, statement blouse, I knew I had to wear something simple. This lavender material has been with me for some time. It was a maxi skirt and I stopped wearing it but never stopped loving the material. It's a soft, slightly stretchy crepe and that lavender colour is so soothing. So I gave it to Sajida to redesign as a shorter A-line skirt.

The length is great as it hits just above the knee for a fun, flirty look. However, there's no lining inside it so I'm wearing it with a skirt petticoat. {I get them from Manama Souk.} It was a coincidence that the skirt went so well with this top, and was just the plain and simple balance the top needed. 

This floral bag was a recent purchase from Parfois and I'm crazy about it. I've never had a floral bag before and I love how fresh it looks. Even though the top is floral, I decided to carry the bag as the prints are completely different. The top's floral is big and bold, while the bag is muted and delicate. 

I wore simple accessories and put my hair up in a ponytail keeping with the fun and light outfit. I finished with my favourite black heels with cutouts. I can't wait to try this top out with other bottoms, such as darker pants or jeans. 

Top & Skirt: Saji's Couture, Ring, Bag: Parfois, Shoes: Debenhams.

I know that this post is a day late{I usually do outfit posts on Mondays}, but this week is squeezing me dry. Every day feels like two days. Some days I can't believe that the tasks I did in the morning weren't actually a day back. You know the feeling- when you think about something you did and go, "Was that today? I can't believe it's still the same day!". I don't have enough space in my bullet journal's day block for the things I need to finish. It's insane and I'm so tired I could sleep for a year. 

Although I know that these things just... happen. Life just throws everything at you all at once. And I'm not saying that everything is all bad. Some good stuff got thrown my way, too. Stuff I've been wanting for ages and ages. ANd that's what I have to remember and be grateful for. It's as if the universe is being nice to me again, after months of being a jerk. Also, when everything tends to overwhelm me, I have to remind myself how much I hate getting bored. I'll take chaos over boredom any day. Any. Day.

Until next time

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Shabana Feroze
The One Thing You Can Do To Lose Weight Fast

The One Thing You Can Do To Lose Weight Fast

A lot of you ask me what's the quickest, fastest, speediest way to lose weight. While I always say that there is no shortcut to losing weight and that you have to eat clean and exercise, I will tell you about one thing you can do to watch the weight fall off.

Here in this article, for the sake of easy understanding, every time I say 'weight', I mean fat. Our weight is made up of muscle, fat and water. The one you really don't want is fat.

The one thing you can do to make a big difference in the speed of your weight loss is to stop sugar completely. What a lot of people don't realize is that sugar makes you fat. Sugar is a refined carbohydrate. It's pure energy. When that energy is not used up, it gets stored in your body as fat, for future use. If you eat more sugar than you're burning off {and we usually don't do activities that expend the considerable amount of energy we get from eating something sugary}, you will put on weight.

This is something that many people don't realize. They don't equate sugar with fat. They think foods that make them fat are oily, buttery, cheesy and meaty. Lots of my fitness class students say they've changed their diets completely and they're eating healthy now, but they can't seem to shift the weight. They don't eat rice and bread and butter and ghee anymore. Then they'll inform me that they have a Red Bull every day. Boom. There's the problem. A whole can of sugar. No wonder they can't lose weight!

So if you really want to lose weight fast, try going on a sugar fast. Cut out sugar from your diet completely. That's not just stopping desserts and sodas, but you'd also be cutting out a lot of other foods from your diet. There is a lot of hidden sugar in many foods. Bread, pickles, sauces, ketchup, health bars, sports drinks, fruit juice, even some brand of chips, have sugar. And sugar is not just written as 'sugar' on ingredient labels. It goes by many names. Many food manufacturers use different forms of sugar or use another name and label themselves as 'healthy' or 'low-fat'. Also, most items that are low-fat have a ton of sugar to make up for the lack of taste. The mania with Pinkberry in Bahrain always amuses me. Lots of people eat only their frozen yoghurt thinking it's low in fat or has no fat at all when it actually has more sugar than other ice creams and sweet treats!

Sugar By Any Other Name Is Just As Harmful

Look for and avoid:

  • High fructose corn syrup {HFCS}
  • Anything that ends with -ose. Fructose, sucralose, dextrose, maltose, glucose, etc. 
  • Barley malt
  • Rice syrup
  • Maltitol, sorbitol
  • Agave nectar
  • Brown sugar
  • Cane sugar
  • Jaggery
  • Cane juice

Going sugarless also means avoiding all artificial sweeteners. No aspartame, saccharin and sucralose. You can eat natural sugars such as fruit, and use honey to sweeten your beverages. But avoid all refined sugar such as white sugar, brown sugar, as well as look for hidden sugar in packaged foods.

I have done this diet myself a few years back and I saw the weight fall off. I wasn't even fat. I was just my normal size and I became thinner. I didn't change my exercise routine. I was still exercising as much as I was before and there was no increase in my physical activity. Which means all the fat loss that happened was because of stopping sugar.

Going on a sugar fast has other benefits than just losing weight. Your metabolism will speed up, burning more calories. You'll see a big change in your energy levels. You'll find that you have more energy.  Your skin will look clearer and your hair will be healthier. Your mind will be more focused and calm. Sugar has such a massive negative impact on our health but we don't realize it. Only once you stop consuming it, you see the changes.

How long do you do it for?

You can do this for as long as you like, forever if you want. Or do it for a few months or a year. Or just until you've lost the weight you wanted to lose. Once I did it for a few months, I found that I lost the craving for very sweet foods. Even a little bit of sugar felt 'too sweet' and cloying. I ate only dark chocolate after that. Even now, the sugar I consume is very less. Only on occasion, I'll have something really sweet.


Now I know that giving up sugar completely is very, very difficult. We use sugar as a treat. As a celebration. Since we were children, we were given candy for good behaviour and as a reward. It's embedded in our subconscious that sweet things mean happiness and celebrations. Of course, this is because sugar gives you a rush and makes you feel happy for some time. But that's a very short-lived, fleeting happiness and you feel tired soon after as the energy goes unused.

So here's an alternative- allow your only sugary treat to be dark chocolate. Start the switch with a mild dark chocolate which is at least 50-55% dark. Then build up to 65%+ over time. Whenever the sugar craving hits, eat a piece of dark chocolate. If you don't like chocolate but really crave sugar, eat dried fruits like apricots or sweet fruit like dates. Have a piece of fruit when you need a sugar hit.

Another alternative is to cut out all sugar but when you're really, really tempted such as at a birthday party where there's a delectable piece of cake served to you, or someone offers you a luscious dessert which is one-of-a-kind and you don't want to miss out, have a spoonful. But not more than two. A few bites are better than a whole slice. Plus, you won't regret that you didn't even taste the dessert or feel guilty afterwards for consuming a whole load of calories.

To summarize, if you really want to make a change to your weight loss, stop sugar completely from your diet. Get to know hidden sugar and don't consume processed, packaged foods that are usually high in sugar. Switch to dark chocolate if you MUST have chocolate. If presented with a tempting dessert, have a bite. And thank me when you feel better and look better.

Give this a go and tell me about the changes in your body and health, or if you think this is too hard for you to do. Leave me a comment after the post. I'd love to know your thoughts.

Until next time,

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Shabana Feroze
Holding Onto Summer & The Self-Hate For Putting On Weight

Holding Onto Summer & The Self-Hate For Putting On Weight

Summer is on its way out and here I am, still desperately holding on to it. I still haven't worn all my summer dresses. And I just bought these gorgeous sandal heels! Come back, summer! It's always the same when summer ends. I want it to stay longer just so I can wear all my summer things. But I also want the heat to calm down, because, well, it's HOT. This transition from summer to winter {and from March to May when it's transitioning from winter to summer} is the best time in Bahrain. It's the closest thing we have to autumn. Last year winter was almost non-existent. Let's see what happens this year. And don't be surprised if I continue wearing my sundresses and heels when the rest of the world is in knits and boots.

The Outfit

This dress is part of a bunch of dresses I bought from Aliexpress a while back when there was a big sale going on. 50s style A-line dresses are a big love of mine, more so if they're floral. See my other 50s style floral dresses here, here, here and here

I fell in love with this dress because of its vibrant colours and print. What I wasn't expecting when I got it is how thick and durable the cloth would be. It feels like a thick cotton, so it's a very comfortable wear. Usually, these dresses are a thin, slightly shiny polyester which I don't mind, but this one is cotton and that makes it great for summer. 

It has a zipper down the back and a belt attached to the sides which you can tie either in the front or the back. My only peeve is that these dresses are always available in the same cut - sleeveless, with the same type of neckline. Which is why I've stopped myself from getting more and started buying dresses in different cuts and shapes. I have a tendency to overdo it when I find a shape that flatters my straight frame. {It's such a relief now that I can get any kind of dress stitched by Sajida of Saji's Couture and she lets me know what will look good or won't.} But right now there are different types of dresses available on the same link of this dress, with collars and in different prints. 

These types of dresses usually don't have a lining inside. So I wear them with a skirt petticoat and cycling shorts. You can find the petticoats in clothing shops in Manama Souq. I got a pair of lace trim legging shorts from Shein specifically to wear under dresses and skirts, and I love them! If you don't have a thigh gap and live in a crazy humid place like Bahrain, you need cotton shorts to wear under skirts and dresses so the inside of your thighs don't get sticky as they rub against each other when you walk. It's such an icky feeling. I got these shorts as they're a cotton and lycra mix and not spandex like other cycling shorts. That material makes you sweat even more. And who likes sweaty inner thighs. Eugh. 

I got a bunch of heels from New Look recently. They're closing down in Bahrain, and lots of their bigger heel sizes were available for great prices. I've always wanted really simple strappy heels but always thought my feet are too ugly for those kinds of shoes. Miraculously, these heels actually make my feet look pretty. The fuchsia colour was love-at-first-sight, and because the ankle strap is so high and wide, these heels are very comfortable to wear. The straps are of satin cloth, which also makes them more comfortable. They don't cut into the skin.

These heels were the perfect pairing with this dress as they bring out the fuchsia in the print, and embody the summer vibe completely. 

I put my hair up in a high ponytail, wore diamond-shaped geometric earrings in white gold, and a simple watch. A boxy bag in dark pink completes the look and matches the heels. 

Dress: Sisjuly from Aliexpress, Earrings: Al Jasra Jewellery, Watch: Borrowed from mom, Bag: Parfois, Heels: New Look.

Body Issues

Let's talk about putting on weight. I have recently put on a few pounds, and I'm trying not to obsess over it. When you're really used to being a certain size and weight, and you're an ex-anorexic like me {read all about my experience with anorexia in my book, Loving Yourself In Style}, it's very hard to accept that you've put on a few. 

It's more humiliating for me {in my head} because I'm a fitness instructor and I want to be the fittest I can be so I'm a good role model for those who attend my fitness classes and for all of you who follow me for my posts on health and fitness. Somehow all the weight has gone into my upper arms and it's making me soooooo irritated. I just want to get my nice slender muscular arms back. :( Having the body type that naturally has heavy upper arms, I've always focused on keeping them as fat-free and slim as I can. Now that they've become heavier again, I can't keep my mind off of them. It makes me stop and think twice before wearing sleeveless dresses like these.

And I'm trying not to let it get to me. I'm working out more and eating right, but what drives you crazy at a time like this is the constant nagging in your head that makes you so conscious of yourself. It keeps telling you that you should be doing more more more to lose weight.

So for all of you out there in the same boat as me, I feel you. When the voice in your head gets really annoying and negative, you have to remind yourself that it's OKAY. It's okay to put on a few. Stop beating yourself up about it. If anyone points out that you're fat now, beat them up! 

You're only human and your weight will fluctuate during your lifetime. You still have an amazing, beautiful body, so enjoy it. If your clothes get tighter and make you feel more insecure, donate them! I did. Get clothes that flatter the body shape you have now and don't cry about not being able to fit into your favourite dress or skinny jeans. GET OVER IT. 

Wear whatever makes you feel like the goddess you are and rock it with your smile and confidence. And know that if you put on a few, you can go back to the size you were. You can sculpt your body as you want it to look. Nothing is stopping you. Just don't let your body insecurities make you feel like shit. Enjoy food. Enjoy exercise. And keep loving yourself.

Until next time,

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Shabana Feroze
What To Do When Your Body Hurts The Next Day After a Workout

What To Do When Your Body Hurts The Next Day After a Workout

So you've started exercising, you've lifted weights or done cardio or done an hour of yoga. And the next day, your body HURTS. It hurts in places you didn't know existed. And you don't know what to do. The lazy part of your brain tells you to lie down and just rest. You worked so hard the previous day and now moving around is wayyyy too painful. Let's give those aching muscles some rest.

Don't do that. Instead, keep reading and let me tell you what to do when your muscles are sore and you feel like you're dying.

This is a very common question I get asked by students- after doing a Combat/ Balance class with me, especially for the first time, their body hurts like crazy the next day. And they ask me- what do you do when you have muscle soreness the next day? Do you just lie in bed the whole time?

The answer to that question is that you need to NOT rest. You've finally woken up your muscles and you need to let them know that this is how things are going to be from now on. You have to make them used to this new chapter in their lives. So do some light exercise. Go on the treadmill. Stretch. Talk to your muscles. Okay, maybe not that last one.

DOMS or Delayed Onset Muscle Soreness usually is the worse 24 hours after a workout. It gets worse 48 hours after and is the most painful after 72 hours of working out. If you simply don't move and rest or lie around all day, your muscles will feel stiffer and more painful. You need to move. Do some sort of physical activity. It will feel even more painful when you do and you might feel your muscles burning, but after you've exercised or moved around, you'll feel better. The soreness will reduce.

If your muscles are really sore and very painful, I recommend applying heat. Use a hot water bottle, an electric heat blanket or take a hot bath to relieve some of the pain. You can even get a massage if the pain is really very bad. But don't get a very strong massage or the pain will get worse. Been there, done that.

Just remember, that after a hard workout, or your first time exercising or even your first time doing certain moves, your body will feel sore the next day. It's proof that the workout was effective. Soreness is completely natural. I know a lot of people who stopped exercising or stopped a certain type of exercise because the pain was so bad the next day. Don't. Don't stop. Go easier the next time if you want. I promise you, it gets better. Your muscles get stronger. Your body gets used to it.
And that's when you have to change up your routine again, of course. *smiling devil emoji*

Once you get into an exercise routine that you love, like most fitness freaks and athletes, you'll get addicted to the pain. Because deep down you know, no pain means no change.

So remember, muscle soreness is completely normal. It is not a sign that you need to rest the whole day. I'll share a natural home remedy for muscle soreness in my next health post, so stay tuned!

If you have any questions on this, or other clever ways to reduce muscle soreness {that doesn't involve popping a pill} leave a comment below!

Until next time,

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Shabana Feroze
Black Lace + Why You Should Change Your Year Goals

Black Lace + Why You Should Change Your Year Goals

Confession. I've had this lace top for some time now. Maybe over two years. But this is just the second time I'm wearing it. Why? I don't know. Maybe because I feel it's so pretty and I need an occasion to wear it. Or maybe I feel like it's too pretty for me and I don't deserve to wear it. 

Do you go through this too? When you've bought something really pretty and you don't wear it because you're saving it and/or you feel like you're not worth it?

Well, I'm putting a stop to it right now. I already donated all the clothes, shoes and accessories that didn't spark joy in me earlier this year {I used the KonMari method after reading the amazing book} and now all the stuff I have makes me truly happy. Which includes this top. And I plan on wearing it more often. Because every day is an occasion to celebrate yourself and you have to stop deferring pleasure. Amirite?

The Outfit

If you know me, you know my love for colour in attire. And this outfit {AND the last one} is an anomaly because it's all neutrals. Don't worry, I'm not falling out of love with colours. I'm just changing up my style a bit. 

Getting back to this top, I've always been a fan of the black-lace-on-beige combo. It was a major trend ten odd years ago. The delicateness of the black lace can be seen so beautifully on a beige or taupe background. When it was trending, I remember a lot of celebs wearing the combo in full-length gowns and it looked jaw-droppingly stunning. 

I always wondered if I'd look good in it as I feel that black washes me out. And also, I never could find something that I could a) afford in this combo, or b) that didn't look cheap. {I hate cheap lace. HATE it.} The good thing about good trends is that they stick around. So I stumbled across this top in an Oasis shop and honestly, I didn't know if it would look good. My mom {who is always my shopping partner} told me to try it on and bam! I was in love. There's just something about lace that always makes you look so feminine, so elegant and so, so classy. It instantly makes you look more expensive. 

This top is a perfect fit. It's structured and tailored well so it sits well on the body. The lining is a soft satiny material, so the top has a soft flow, which you can see from my photos. Usually in good quality, thicker lace, the tricky part is of making it 'fall' or sit on the body without looking puffy. I love how they got that right in this top. Also, another major tick mark is that the lace doesn't feel scratchy. So often I've worn thick lace tops and jackets and they feel like torture on the skin! You just want to throw them off. This lace looks thick but feels like cloth against the skin. For instance, in the sleeves, it's just the lace without the lining. But it doesn't prick my skin.

There isn't just one repetitive design in the lace. It's a composite of lots of different designs put together and that makes it look so interesting. I love the little circular ends on the sleeves and the hem, which give it a younger look. The backing is a nice pinkish beige, so the lace stands out against it and it doesn't wash me out. Sometimes the problem with nude coloured material is that it does the job so well, it looks as if you haven't got anything on, making people do a double take when you wear it. {This is not a personal experience, thankfully, just one that I've observed}.

To make the top stand out, I paired it with stone coloured wide leg trousers. These are a linen-viscose mix and one of my faves because of that. You need a LOT of linen, viscose and cotton in your wardrobe if you live in Bahrain! The colour is a nice muted grey, making it the perfect neutral pair to wear with colours or black. The width of the legs falls straight and I love that it's nice and long, skimming the foot. Being tall, it's something I always look for in trousers.

I grabbed my big beige bag to match the top. I added colour with powder blue pumps. 

Since I put my hair up in a braided bun, I wore teardrop stud earrings. With a statement top like this one, you need to wear earrings that are simple but eye-catching at the same time. 

I wore an intricate ring to match the designs in the lace. 

Top: Oasis, Pants: ASOS, Earrings: Gifted, Ring: Silver Souq, Bag: Parfois, Shoes: Payless

I'd love to try this top with other coloured trousers. Maybe darker trousers too, something I don't usually do. {Hey, I rhymed.} Maybe I'll try it with a skirt too. 

On a Personal Note

So... September is coming to an end. Which means that there are just three more months left for 2018. It's time to start looking back at the year and seeing how you did, how many things you achieved, what personal, career and creative goals you fulfilled.


 Don't you just hate doing that?

Maybe we need to stop it. Maybe we need to just think about how many happy things we did, the memories we created with the people we love, how much we laughed and how much more we loved ourselves than last year. Because in the end, these are the only things that really matter.  

I'm big on loving yourself. It's why I write this blog. Dressing up is such an easy way to show yourself some love and I believe everyone should do it. I've even written a book on it, called Loving Yourself In Style. If you'd like to learn how to love yourself a little more, find your passion and true happiness, then it's the book for you

I'm already thinking about the things I can do to be nicer to myself and to be nicer to the people around me, come 2019. To make sure I never ever feel like I'm not worth something amazing. To not be afraid of being happy.

What about you? What do you look back on when you look back on a year? What's important to you? Leave me a comment after the post, below.

Until next time,

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Shabana Feroze
[name=Shabana Feroze] [img=] [description=Shabana Feroze is the owner of advertising agency The Silver Kick Company, and co-owner of Lace Love, a lace business that she started with her mother. She is a Les Mills fitness instructor, teaching BodyCombat and BodyBalance classes. She is also a published author with her first book Loving Yourself In Style. She enjoys dressing up, chasing her passions, traveling the world, staying fit and encouraging people to do the same. She lives in Bahrain with her family of humans and cats.] (facebook= (instagram= (twitter= (bloglovin= (pinterest=

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