UD Review: Urban Bistro Dubai

Urban Bistro's spacious terrace
Urban Bistro’s spacious terrace

 

It’s winter in Dubai, and no one wants to spend all their time indoors. The weather is at its best and we are all want to make the most of it while it lasts. That’s why, I’ve been trying out different outlets for a weekend breakfast. But they must have one thing in common: a terrace or outdoors seating area.

Luckily, Urban Bistro has recently expanded their terrace to accommodate more people. I’ve visited this cool Media City cafe a few months ago and tried their Friday brunch – which I think you should too. The brunch had a great selection of fresh salads, healthy and tasty juice blends, and a good variety of main courses.

Today, I opted for the breakfast meal. My friend and I both went for the vegetarian breakfast. You can choose how you want your eggs to be cooked – we had ours poached. This healthy breakfast option comes with sauteed spinach, roasted cherry tomatoes, avocado slices, Portobello mushrooms, and roasted new potatoes.

I teamed up my veggie breakfast with a green juice for a super nutritious meal 🙂

 

Urban Bistro's vegetarian breakfast.
Urban Bistro’s vegetarian breakfast.

 

Poached eggs for breakfast at Urban Bistro Dubai
Poached eggs for breakfast at Urban Bistro Dubai

 

If you’re someone who doesn’t like to have any meat (chicken, beef or salmon) with their breakfast, then you should give Urban Bistro’s vegetarian breakfast a try. And if you’re tired of the conventional glass of orange juice with your breakfast, then you’ll love the different blends that they serve at this chilled Media City cafe.

I personally prefer to go somewhere quiet and peaceful on the weekend – away from the busy cafes and malls. Somewhere where I can have a nice conversation with a friend, work peacefully on my laptop, or just take in the beautiful view as I sip on my cup of latte.

 

Relaxation mode at Urban Bistro's terrace
Relaxation mode at Urban Bistro’s terrace

 

Urban Bistro Dubai's interior is spacious and airy
Urban Bistro Dubai’s interior is spacious and airy

 

Urban Bistro is a hidden gem that I’m glad I discovered. It’s located in a lovely area of Dubai Media City – surrounded by a tranquil and peaceful green space. There’s even a lake with turtles and sea birds in front of the cafe – perfect for a day of relaxation.

Whether you work in Dubai Media City or just live nearby, then I would definitely recommend that you check out Urban Bistro.

On weekdays, the place is buzzing with media professional and other working people on their lunch break. And in the weekends, it is the epitome of tranquility and peacefulness in a busy, modern city life.

 

Web site: Urban Bistro Dubai.

 

Urban Bistro Dubai - a hidden gem
Urban Bistro Dubai – a hidden gem

BCBG’s Living the Bon Chic Life Celebrates 25 Years of Style in Dubai

Chief Creative Officer for BCBG Max Azria, Lubov Azria standing against a wall that showcases the company’s 25-year advertising campaigns history. This took place during the “Living the Bon Chic Life” exhibition at Cuadro Gallery, Dubai.
Chief Creative Officer for BCBG Max Azria, Lubov Azria standing against a wall that showcases the company’s 25-year advertising campaigns history. This took place during the “Living the Bon Chic Life” exhibition at Cuadro Gallery, Dubai.

 

This post is another project that I did for my web news production class in University. I had the pleasure to meet Lubov Azria, wife of renowned designer Max Azria, and Chief Creative Officer for the BCBG Max Azria group. Lubov and her team are very professional and talented individuals, and I’m glad that I had the privilege of meeting them and speaking to them about the retrospective exhibition.

In the lines below, you can read my final news story which I did for the social media project for that unit.

 

Lubov Azria, the brand’s Chief Creative Officer opens the stylish event with an A-list crowd

 

On her first-ever visit to Dubai, Lubov Azria – Chief Creative Officer of the distinctive fashion retail brand BCBG Max Azria opens the retrospective “Living the Bon Chic Life” exhibition in DIFC’s Cuadro Fine Art Gallery.

The one-day exclusive exhibition was held on Wednesday, November 19, 2014 and brought together the city’s most stylish, VIP and art-loving crowd.

From 7 pm and onwards, invited guests made their way to the spacious gallery and walked through a timeline of events, advertising campaigns and cutting-edge design creations that showcase the brand’s 25 year history.

 

Lubov Azria and I after our first interview.
Lubov Azria and I after our first interview.

 

With famous quotes by the brand’s Founder and Designer – Max Azria – decorating the gallery’s spacious walls, there is no doubt that BCBG is a brand with a strong identity and vision.

Founded in 1989, BCBG was named for the French phrase ‘bon chic, bon genre’ – a Parisian expression meaning ‘good style, good attitude.’

Max Azria’s vision is simple; he aims to create a beautiful dress to make women look and feel beautiful.

Creative Director for the brand’s lifestyle products, Clifford Pershes explains BCBG’s philosophy by saying: “It’s a brand that doesn’t follow trends, it embodies style.”

 

Clifford Pershes, Creative Director for BCBG’s lifestyle products poses to take this photo with me, after his informative tour of the retrospective exhibition.
Clifford Pershes, Creative Director for BCBG’s lifestyle products poses to take this photo with me, after his informative tour of the retrospective exhibition.

 

The 25th anniversary retrospective exhibit takes visitors on a journey throughout the key events and achievements that shaped the company’s history.

Beginning with an events timeline that covers the brand’s entire 25- year journey, visitors get to learn more about the brand, its creators and their vision.

An adjacent space emulates a design studio which stages the evolution of a BCBG dress from idea and pattern design to detailed and careful construction.

BCBG’s design philosophy is inspired by the arts and culture. As Clifford explains: “We feel that arts and culture are part of the brand’s DNA.”

Featuring top models and talented photographers, BCBG’s ad campaigns cover the walls of the brand’s campaign history section in both print and digital platforms.

“There’s a timeless, effortless chicness that goes throughout the years.” – says Clifford of the brand’s innovative, yet timeless designs.

 

An extensive collection of BCBG’s advertising campaigns covers the walls of the brand’s campaign history section in both print and digital platforms.
An extensive collection of BCBG’s advertising campaigns covers the walls of the brand’s campaign history section in both print and digital platforms.

 

Upon stepping into the ‘Runway Collection’ installation space, a selection of exclusive, fashion-forward designs can be seen adorning the mannequins.

As Creative Director – Clifford Pershes states: “There are only around 200 pieces made of each piece; so it’s definitely a little more exclusive.”

 

A beautifully curated selection of archive favourites from the BCBG Max Azria Runway label. The collection is exclusive and is launched at the global fashion week runways – where the timeless and elegant label regularly opens the New York fashion week shows.
A beautifully curated selection of archive favourites from the BCBG Max Azria Runway label. The collection is exclusive and is launched at the global fashion week runways – where the timeless and elegant label regularly opens the New York fashion week shows.

 

From fashion week runways, to celebrities’ closets and the renowned red carpet, Max Azria’s Atelier creations are featured in a beautifully colour-curated collection aptly named ‘Max Azria Atelier’.

Launched in 2004, the brand’s most exclusive collection embodies couture eveningwear and special-event dresses for socialites, celebrities and the elite.

The one-of-a-kind dresses worn by A-list stars and royalties including Alicia Keys, Angelina Jolie and Michelle Obama, are limited edition creations.

 

Max Azria’s Atelier collection was curated by colour, and is displayed on a red carpet with a paparazzi wallpaper in the background. Worn by Hollywood’s elite and royalties, this is the designer’s most exclusive collection.
Max Azria’s Atelier collection was curated by colour, and is displayed on a red carpet with a paparazzi wallpaper in the background. Worn by Hollywood’s elite and royalties, this is the designer’s most exclusive collection.

 

When asked about the main concept of BCBG’s retrospective exhibition, the brand’s Chief Creative Officer and Max Azria’s wife, Lubov Azria explains: “The exhibition is really 25 years of my life; it’s called ‘The Bon Chic Living’ and it really showcases the work and my passion.”

Lubov describes the exhibit’s walkthrough design by saying: “It starts off with the history, with when the company started. Then it goes to how we make the clothes. Then it continues to the ad campaigns, to the actual clothes, and then to the one-of-a-kind dresses that we make for celebrities.”

 

BCBG Max Azria’s 25-year mark in fashion history showcased in its retrospective exhibition is a genuine portrayal of its founders’ passion for success and achievement.

As Lubov Azria states: “It’s really without passion, innovation and vision, there is no success.”

 

The window display of Cuadro Fine Art Gallery in Dubai’s DIFC area looks vibrant with contemporary visuals from BCBG’s stylish collections – at the opening of the brand’s retrospective exhibition in Dubai.
The window display of Cuadro Fine Art Gallery in Dubai’s DIFC area looks vibrant with contemporary visuals from BCBG’s stylish collections – at the opening of the brand’s retrospective exhibition in Dubai.

 

For more photos from BCBG’s retrospective exhibition event, click here.

 

Here are some additional photos from the event:

 

The exhibition visitors are welcomed by the brand’s timeline as they enter the gallery. Spanning a total of 25 years, the timeline showcases the company’s pivotal moments that shaped its vision, since its inception in 1989.
The exhibition visitors are welcomed by the brand’s timeline as they enter the gallery. Spanning a total of 25 years, the timeline showcases the company’s pivotal moments that shaped its vision, since its inception in 1989.

 

Kimberly Concepcion (left) and Bettina Micu (right), Fashion Design students at Heriot Watt University Dubai viewing the exhibition for some inspiration.
Kimberly Concepcion (left) and Bettina Micu (right), Fashion Design students at Heriot Watt University Dubai viewing the exhibition for some inspiration.

 

Diana Chipar, Fashion Stylist from the site dcstyling.net wearing a BCBG dress from the brand’s Autumn/Winter 2014 collection.
Diana Chipar, Fashion Stylist from the site dcstyling.net wearing a BCBG dress from the brand’s Autumn/Winter 2014 collection.

 

Saira Mehar, New Business and PR Director for Dubai’s Fashion Forward event networking at BCBG’s VIP-packed exhibition opening in DIFC’s Cuadro gallery.
Saira Mehar, New Business and PR Director for Dubai’s Fashion Forward event networking at BCBG’s VIP-packed exhibition opening in DIFC’s Cuadro gallery.

 

BCBG’s Dubai Marina Mall shop manager, Andreea Pirvuleasa standing in front of the brand’s ‘Runway’ collection in a unique ‘Runway’ label creation. The new collection dress reflects a highly detailed and carefully embroidered, hand-made finish.
BCBG’s Dubai Marina Mall shop manager, Andreea Pirvuleasa standing in front of the brand’s ‘Runway’ collection in a unique ‘Runway’ label creation. The new collection dress reflects a highly detailed and carefully embroidered, hand-made finish.

 

A great networking event for people from the fashion industry, BCBG Max Azria’s 25-year birthday bash was well received by the stylish and VIP crowd. A memorable evening for catching up with old friends, making new ones and celebrating an iconic and visionary company’s success.
A great networking event for people from the fashion industry, BCBG Max Azria’s 25-year birthday bash was well received by the stylish and VIP crowd. A memorable evening for catching up with old friends, making new ones and celebrating an iconic and visionary company’s success.

 

Sheida Fashionista, blogger and make-up artist covering the remarkable event for her next blog post at sheidafashionista.com.
Sheida Fashionista, blogger and make-up artist covering the remarkable event for her next blog post at sheidafashionista.com.

Photo Essay: Sole DXB Event in Dubai

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Today’s post is another University project that I just completed for this term’s photojournalism course. I present to you:

My Photo Essay on Sole DXB event that took place on the 14th and 15th of November. I was there on the 14th of November for a few hours, taking photos and meeting up with some friends.

First up, the short synopsis about the photo essay:

Many think that Dubai’s street culture doesn’t exist. The organisers of Dubai’s urban lifestyle and culture event want to change that misconception.

The city’s first – one of its kind event, Sole DXB was staged at Dubai Design District to showcase the region’s latest street culture trends. Specifically the footwear, fashion, basketball, hip hop, and street art.

Those who made their way to the venue were treated by regional retail brands; Nike, Puma, and Reebok. DJ’s, live performances and panel discussions pumped life into the event and gave it a fresh and exciting community atmosphere. With a hidden construction site chosen as a venue for this year’s Sole DXB event, indeed it is underground.

 

Ball Above All
Ball Above All

Professional basketball players take turns at shooting hoops at Sole DXB’s grounds in celebration of basketball culture. Dubbed ‘Ball Above All’, the competition saw the victor walk away with 10,000 AED. The game has proved to be a popular way to bring the community together. The only stipulation was that entrants must be 18 or older to apply to play in the tournament.

 

Funky Lines and Abstract Shapes
Funky Lines and Abstract Shapes

British artist, Remi Rough and his counterpart YesBee are busy creating the freestyled ‘Mondrian vs Wildstyle’ art piece. A 3 x 10 meter art work; spray painted using ‘Montana 94’ paint. Remi’s art began on walls and trains in South London in 1984. By his own admission, “I didn’t invent straight lines, I just made them funky!” – said Rough of his work.

 

Feline Nostalgic?
Feline Nostalgic?

Canadian pop artist, Antoine Tavaglione – also known as Tava is a muralist and illustrator based in Montreal. Famed for his signature ‘dripping milk’ paintings, his “Che Cazz” piece proved a popular addition to Sole DXB. The cat figure mural was created in one day, and produced using spray cans.

 

Melting Bart Art
Melting Bart Art

Additional work from Tava – showing more of his favourite cartoon figures – this time, Bart Simpson. Made using acrylic colours on canvas, Tava said: “I like to recreate iconic characters that are very nostalgic to me, and add my signature dripping effect to them as if they are melting ice cream.”

 

Futuristic Femme Fatales
Futuristic Femme Fatales

‘The Irezumi Girls’ are part of a limited edition created by Dubai-based design studio Robot and Spark. The figures are made using cast resin material with a chrome finish. The artist imagined these toys to live in the year 2075 in the city of London. ‘The Irezumi Girls’ are a gang of heavily tattooed, uber cool, superhero vixens hailing from Baker Street Station.

 

The Dangerous Duo: Lipstick and Suicide
The Dangerous Duo: Lipstick and Suicide

Creative Director Robert Gibbs from design studio Robot and Spark has been working on these original figurines since 2009. The germ of the idea came from a fiction-story about a group of futuristic, rebellious and superhero vixens – namely Lipstick and Suicide. The futuristic fantasy eventually came to life at Sole DXB’s gallery, after a five-year obsession.

 

Vintage-inspired Wheel Art
Vintage-inspired Wheel Art

British artist and photographer, Julian Castaldi expresses his love for Italian company ‘Campag’ with this painting of a vintage bicycle. His cobalt blue piece was inspired by his love for cycling, and the iconic company. Julian explains the concept by saying: “I have always loved the logo and story behind the brand.” The ‘Campagnolo’ painting uses acrylic, enamel, pastels, and lacquer on a 4 feet x 3 feet canvas.

 

Retro Biking
Retro Biking

Corcel, a Dubai-based bicycle and apparel store take cycling lovers back to the good old days with their 50’s/60’s inspired collection. The ‘Bikeid’ range was created for a nostalgic bicycle experience. The simple, elegant, and vintage designs can be customized for personal taste. A couple interested in getting a bike are looking at the catalogue and selecting their preferred colour of bike and tires.

 

Soulful Art
Soulful Art

An amateur artist is keeping himself busy by drawing a pair of sneakers using spray paint. Despite his aching fingers from the excessive amount of pressure while completing this piece of art, he is determined to leave his mark at Sole DXB. He asks the audience: “Does it look like a shoe?” and feels ecstatic after their approval.

 

Neon Galore
Neon Galore

The stylish crowd attending the urban lifestyle event did not overlook making a fashion statement with their favourite pair of sneakers. A young lady sporting a very bright and colourful pair of ‘Nike’ trainers caught my attention. She told me that they were a recent buy from the brand’s latest collection.

 

Drained Soles
Drained Soles

Another original pair of ‘Nike’ trainers worn by one of the ladies attending the street art event. When I asked her about the unique running shoes, she told me the story behind them and how they’ve been worn out at a music festival overseas. “I bought them from Barcelona – for a rave.” she said. I thought they still looked new and exotic!

 

Reliving the 90’s
Reliving the 90’s

A priceless moment in time, as I am transformed back to the 90’s at street wear label Amongst Few’s interactive gaming space. The highlight of the event for me was discovering this cool 90’s inspired concept brand. Founded in 2013, Amongst Few is a Dubai-based street wear brand that merges traditional Emirati outfit inspiration with Western style. In my nostalgic 90’s flashback, I can be seen playing the game ‘Duck Hunt’ on a 1983 Nintendo Entertainment System (NES) console – complete with classic TV sets and 90’s memorabilia.

 

On Cloud Nine
On Cloud Nine

A great variety of second-hand sneakers on display at the sneaker swap stall. Trendy and pristine trainers to match every age and style fill the wooden racks at this sneaker wonderland. Get lost in time as you look for the perfect pair to replace your worn out and tired sneakers. No cash? Don’t worry, you can trade in the currency of sneakers!

 

Bouncing Sick Beats
Bouncing Sick Beats

Dubai-based urban and R&B DJ, Mr. Shef Codes livens up the Reebok space with his top old-school R&B beats. Shefan Lantra, better known as Mr. Shef Codes is currently signed with Bliss Inc Entertainment and plays at local venues around the city. The tunes he was playing were so addictive, they kept the crowd glued to the Reebok stand far longer than they intended to be there.

 

Love for the Sole
Love for the Sole

Iraqi artist, designer, calligrapher, and typographer Wissam Shawkat creates a ‘calligraffiti’ piece of art in his signature modern Arabic calligraphy style. The art work includes the words (love, affection) written in calligraphy style. The Dubai-based artist has been in love with the classical writing style since he was 10 years old. He is using acrylic colours on canvas to create the aptly titled ‘Love for the Sole (Soul)’ piece.

 

Some additional images that were not part of my photo essay project:

 

PUMA x Sophia Chang sneakers
PUMA x Sophia Chang sneakers

I won these lovely designer PUMA sneakers in a competition that I entered with Stylist Arabia magazine. All I had to do was share a photo of my favourite pair of sneakers! This pair was part of a collection for autumn/winter 2014, in a collaboration between PUMA and East Coast creative Sophia Chang. The designer’s illustrations are inspired by New York, and specifically the Brooklyn area.

 

Here’s the finished wall that Remi Rough and Yesbee were painting:

 

Remi Rough art work
Remi Rough art work

 

here are other paintings from Julian Castaldi that were on display at the event’s gallery:

"7Up"
“7Up”

Materials used: acrylic, enamel, lacquer on canvas : 4feet diameter.

Concept: Just love the old school soda labels I actually collect vintage skateboards, soda bottles amongst other things.
"Skater Girl"
“Skater Girl”

Materials used: 100cm x 70cm in metal frame.

Concept: Shot in London and used in Urban Outfitters.

"Typo"
“Typo”

Materials used: 100cm x 70cm in metal frame.

Concept: Love the signage and billboards around LA lots of hand painted and distressed signage which looks amazing, this was shot around Melrose in LA.

 

"Voyeur"
“Voyeur”

Materials used: 100cm x 70cm in metal frame.

Concept: Used to drive past this private members club on Santa Monica Blvd, it had a mysterious look and I stopped one morning to shoot the pic.

 

"7Up Polaroids"
“7Up Polaroids”

Framed original Polaroids shot in LA 2005 on painted board.

 

"Pegasus"
“Pegasus”
Framed original Polaroids shot in 2012 on painted board
Julian explains:
“I have been shooting Polaroids for over 20 years and my Private Rooms project includes Polaroids I have taken of John Malkovich, David Bailey, Oasis, Pearl Jam and many more.”
For more information about Sole DXB or any of the artists mentioned in this post, check the links included in this post.
My personal pair of sneakers which I wore to Sole DXB!
My personal pair of sneakers which I wore to Sole DXB!

 

Event Review: London College of Fashion “Art of Dress” Exhibition in Dubai

LCF Art of Dress Exhibition showcases the work of LCF students
LCF Art of Dress Exhibition showcases the work of LCF students

 

When I received the invite for the private view event for London College of Fashion‘s “Art of Dress” exhibition, I was so excited and knew that this would be the perfect topic for my next video journalism University project.

I had attended LCF back in 2009, as a first step towards changing careers into journalism. The course that I took was a foundation course in fashion media and communication. It was an intensive one year course, equivalent to the UK A-Levels. At that point in time, I wasn’t ready for an intensive study program. Mainly because I had been working in IT support for the past 4 years before starting that course. So it wasn’t easy for me to go back to education and to take an intensive course.

However, I did manage to successfully complete one term of that course. And I still plan to go back to LCF one day to finish that course and maybe take a post graduate course too! I always believe that it’s never too late to achieve your goals and follow your dreams.

The last time I met with the lovely LCF people was two years ago at Okku restaurant and lounge in Dubai. It was an alumni event organized for the college’s alumni in Dubai and short courses’ students and graduates.

You can read about that event here.

As expected, attending the private view event was a great decision made by me, and deciding to cover the event for my project was just as interesting as I thought it would be. I had a wonderful time meeting everyone from the College and conducting the interviews with my lovely and professional talents.

I will leave you now with the video, that was filmed, reported and produced by me. I researched the story, arranged for – and conducted – the interviews, filmed the footage at the event and at the interviews, and edited and produced the short video.

Here’s the link for the short video about LCF’s Art of Dress exhibition private view event, held in Dubai’s AlSerkal Avenue.

 

 

I will be sharing the full interviews with Professor Frances Corner and Linda Roberts on the blog soon. So stay tuned for that.

 

LCF magazine, showcasing the work of students and alumni
LCF magazine, showcasing the work of students and alumni

Coffee Culture Takes on a New Wave

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Here’s a news story that I did for one of my University projects. The course is called “Web News Production” and it really helped me in a lot of ways. I learned how to write news stories for the web, add photos to a slideshow (coming soon in my next project) and create a short video to add value to the story.

The video you will watch in this story was shot and edited by me. I was the camera woman, the reporter, the writer, the editor, and the video producer 🙂

It was filmed at A4 Space at AlSerkal Avenue in Dubai. Happy watching 🙂

 

 

In a genuine desire to share knowledge about coffee and its roasting process, Sabado Coffee Club – a group founded by Matthew Wade who co-runs fat Nancy’s new diet with Anabelle de Gersigny – hosts a monthly coffee tasting event for coffee lovers around the city.

The venue for the club’s meeting – which takes place on the first Saturday of each month – is subject to change. Anyone who is interested in attending their events can follow the club’s coffee, art and culture dedicated blog (http://fatnancysnewdiet.com/) for details about the next event’s date and location.

On the 1st of November, the coffee club’s tasting event was held at A4 space in the city’s creative arts and cultural hub – Al Serkal Avenue.

 

Fresh coffee beans at Sabado Coffee Club
Fresh coffee beans at Sabado Coffee Club

 

Brewed coffee tasting cups
Brewed coffee tasting cups

 

Kim Thompson – who collaborates with Matthew Wade, Founder of Sabado Coffee Club in this non-commercial event – explains the concept behind the insightful coffee tasting event: “Our main aim is to share knowledge about coffee, to create a more discerning customer.”

With the majority of the residents in the Gulf region accustomed to getting their coffee from the big franchises widely available around the city, the Dubai-based independent coffee club is working towards changing that trend.

 

Kim Thompson samples coffee at the event
Kim Thompson samples coffee at the event

 

Getting the community involved in coffee sampling events is a greatly informative and interesting way to start this initiative.

At a symbolic fee of AED 25, coffee club members get to sample coffees from a wide range of roasters from various countries, before identifying their favourite cup.

 

Club members sample coffee and take notes
Club members sample coffee and take notes

 

The event begins with a dry coffee sampling round, where group members smell different coffee beans and note their best pick.

Then, a brewed coffee tasting round takes place. In this caffeine-filled sampling, coffee enthusiasts take little sips of various coffee cups – using spoons – and look out for distinct features in these freshly-brewed coffee selections.

A devoted coffee connoisseur explained to me the characteristics that make up a good cup of coffee. These mainly include; the body, the acidity level, the smoothness and ease to drink, and the taste.

 

One of a variety of roast samples
One of a variety of roast samples

 

Coffee comes in a variety of diverse flavours. These include nutty, floral, citrusy, or with a hint of lime or fruit.

The fun and engaging event ends with a vote for the best coffee on the table by the group members. The winning brew is then served to all participants.

Matt Toogood – who also collaborates with Matthew Wade, Founder of Sabado Coffee Club – emphasises the fact that it is a non-commercial event that allows people to learn about the various coffee options – apart from the big brand names and franchises.

 

Turkish coffee brewing at the event
Turkish coffee brewing at the event

 

The Club’s next coffee tasting experience takes place on Saturday, the 6th of December. The event starts from 12 pm and goes on for two hours. It will be hosted at “The Magazine Shop” in the DIFC area.

 

Anabelle de Gersigny, Co-editor of fat Nancy's new diet
Anabelle de Gersigny, Co-editor of fat Nancy’s new diet

 

UD Review: Sri Sri Harmony with Yoga Ashram

Great views at Yoga Ashram Dubai studios
Great views at Yoga Ashram Dubai studios

 

I have a confession to make: I had leftover bean nachos and some guacamole dip for dinner (recipe will be shared soon on the blog). I feel bloated, extremely guilty and very uncomfortable. As if eating a 2-days old leftover mash of beans, corn chips and tomato sauce – that now looks like play-doh – isn’t enough to make anyone feel an ultimate surge of guilt and self-loath…I also just saw a recent photo taken of me at the Zeta restaurant and lounge opening at The Address Downtown Dubai, where I have an obvious bulging belly!

And to top all of this unhealthy diet phase and low workout lifestyle, I am now overwhelmed with University projects and assignments that I need to spend a lot of time working on. This means that I won’t be able to do any proper physical exercise until the term ends sometime in mid-December!

But, at least I have Yoga Ashram just across from my building. If you still haven’t read my previous posts about this lovely yoga studio, then you are missing out big time. I’ve been trying out a couple of their classes, and I must say that each class they offer is distinct and different.

My latest review was of their Hatha Yoga class. This time, I tried a class called Sri Sri Harmony. Which is also very different in essence from the Sri Sri Fit class – which I reviewed earlier.

What is Sri Sri Harmony?

The session is comprised of a combination of breathing exercises and basic yoga postures. Sri Sri Harmony is more of a therapeutic type of yoga, as opposed to a fitness one.

Why Sri Sri Harmony?

The main aim of this type of yoga is to bring back the awareness and balance to the body. This is done by performing a sequence of postures that are done with gentle and repetitive yogic breathing.

How difficult are the postures?

I must admit that the postures and breathing techniques for this class are fairly simple and easy to follow for all levels. This is a great class for beginners to yoga, as the postures are very basic and don’t require much effort.

Who should attend this class?

Anyone who is looking to meditate, release tension and destress should give this class a try. It’s a great way to let go of all the stress and negative emotions, and to bring more awareness and presence to the body in a very relaxed and casual environment.

What are the benefits of this type of yoga?

At the end of the class, you will notice that your breathing is more deep. You can take longer inhales and exhales, and you start to breathe correctly. You will feel as if the lungs are more open and that you are more relaxed and less stressed.

I personally felt that the blood circulation in my body has improved greatly – as I always have cold hands and feet. I also could feel that my abs have toned and that feeling continued for two days after the class!

Of course, with all the stress from my University school work, meditating with Sri Sri Harmony surely helped reduce my stress and anxiety levels.

Whenever you visit Yoga Ashram, you will feel as if you have entered a new space – full of positive and peaceful vibes. That is also made more powerful with the help of the extremely friendly and genuinely kind staff.

In a nutshell:

If you’re looking for a way to find peace and presence in the midst of a busy, fast-paced and hectic lifestyle, then you won’t regret trying Sri Sri Harmony. The session offers a simple and effective way to re-energize the body and soul with basic breathing and yoga postures.

 

Yoga Ashram Dubai
Yoga Ashram Dubai

 

Note: When we breathe, we only use up to 30% of our lungs. Sri Sri Harmony helps us make use of 90% of our lungs’ capacity.

 

Sri Sri Harmony at Yoga Ashram Dubai
Sri Sri Harmony at Yoga Ashram Dubai

 

Honestly, I can’t wait till I’m done with my University course so that I can become a regular at this authentic and blissful yoga studio.

The next time you are in JLT, give Yoga Ashram a visit and you won’t be disappointed.

Yoga Ashram is located in Cluster X – X3 tower (1504).

Tel: +9714 – 3609028
Email: [email protected]

Web Site: http://yogaashram.com/

Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/yogashramJLT

 

I can’t wait for my next Yoga Ashram class, not only to shed off some of the weight that I’m accumulating and tone up, but also to see the lovely and warm team at that studio – who make it a truly one of a kind fitness and well-being center.

 

Rebellious Diva Signing off X

 

 

Undefined Declarations’ List: Top 10 Signs you Were Raised by GCC Parents

Did you grew up in an Arab Gulf family?
Did you grew up in an Arab Gulf family?

 

This post might resonate with a good deal of people who grew up with Arab or Asian parents. Since both cultures have a lot of similarities – especially when it comes to the family and social issues.

If you need some introduction to the way things are in the Gulf Region, have a look at my previous post about the topic here.

Now that you have a general idea about our lifestyle from my previous posts about this highly complicated and rich subject, let me present to you the top 10 signs that you were raised by GCC parents:

 

1. Your curfew time is at around 9 or 10 pm the latest if you’re a girl.

Whether you’re a University student, an employed adult, or a teenager, staying outside the house for a late hour is a big no-no. You can try to beg or ask for permission politely to stay late at your best friend’s graduation or wedding party, but rest assured that all your pleas will be faced with a clear rejection. Note: This rule does not change no matter how old you are or serious the situation may be. So even if you’re in your fifties or sixties or spending the night at ICU, you still must be home by the earliest time possible!

 

2. You’re not allowed to have male friends.

If you happen to mention the name of a male work colleague, brother of a friend, or any other person from the opposite sex, then this must mean that you have feelings for him. Therefore, the two of you must get married ASAP. The simple and basic fact that you mentioned him in your conversations must mean something. You can’t talk about a man for no reason, right? this must mean that you like him, and this gesture must immediately translate to a marriage contract 🙂

 

3. Attending concerts, visiting another city/country on your own are all considered indecent acts for a single young woman.

Growing up in the Eastern Province of Saudi as a teenager, with neighboring Bahrain, only meant that we had access to famous artist concerts and shows. But I had to argue my way to each and every one of those concerts that I managed to attend! Yes, I’ve always been a rebellious one 😉

Now this rule doesn’t only apply to concerts, it goes for any type of outing that involves a bit of freedom. Examples include visiting neighboring Bahrain for shopping and movie trips, or just meeting up with friends. You can’t go alone, even if you’re in your twenties. A parent must tag along to ensure that the reputation of the family stays intact :p

 

Growing up in the Gulf Region has its pros and cons
Growing up in the Gulf Region has its pros and cons

 

4. Traveling abroad for leisure on your own or with girlfriends is another no-no.

Of course, for some liberal families, this rule can be broken. When I was in school, many of my friends were able to travel together in groups without their parents’ company. If not at school age, then maybe later in life – when they’re in their twenties. But for me, this scenario was out of the question. I actually went on my first solo trip for leisure purposes in late 2012. You can read about it here. This is not to say that I wasn’t lucky enough to travel abroad to live and study when I was only 18. But – as you might have guessed by now – I fought really hard for that privilege. My mother used to genuinely think that going away on a beach holiday in the summer is a silly and superficial thing to do! She actually thinks that my desire to do something that the rest of the Universe does – take a beach holiday – is a complete waste of time and resources. And obviously, is not acceptable by all means.

 

5. The house maid or house keeper transforms into a body guard to accompany you at the local mall.

I think this headline requires little or no explanation. For those of you expats who currently live in the Gulf region, you might have already noticed this phenomenon at the malls. Every so often, I see young GCC ladies walking around the mall with their house maids, and I’m taken back in time to the days when I had to be accompanied by my own house keeper. Luckily, she was a very warm and lovely lady. God bless her, but she did get on my nerves at times. You can’t blame her though, she was only following my mother’s strict instructions!

I also had my eldest sister accompany me to University in Bahrain. Even when she didn’t have classes herself. But that’s just going to make this point longer than intended. So let’s end it here 🙂

 

6. Your mom reminds you that it’s time to go to bed at around 9 or 10 pm when you’re in your early or late twenties.

I think this one also requires no explanation. Arab mothers like to take full responsibility for their children – especially the daughters. And this includes making sure that you go to bed at an early time and don’t spend any extra time hanging around or doing pointless activities.

 

GCC parents can be very controlling and over-protective
GCC parents can be very controlling and over-protective

 

7. Your dad tags along as you shop for under garments at the department store’s lingerie/sleep wear section.

Not sure what is worse; shopping for underwear at Saudi shops and asking for assistance from the male sales people (which I don’t recall doing), or browsing the high-end department store’s lingerie and underwear section (in Bahrain or other location outside Saudi) with your dad at your back in every step you take. Hmm…both are difficult situations to find yourself in – I must admit.

 

8. Your mother constantly gets you clothes and tops that are one or two sizes bigger than your actual dress size.

I think anyone who comes from a conservative family will find this point familiar. Traditional Middle-Eastern mothers think that a woman shouldn’t expose her figure by wearing tight-fitting outfits. This applies to all body shapes and sizes. So no matter how slim or flat you are, you are not encouraged to wear skin tight clothes that flatter your body. Even if you had a gorgeous body that you don’t mind showing off 😀

Note: Most of the time, mothers also decide what type of outfits you should wear and what fashion style you should follow. As a teen and a young adult, I always felt more comfortable wearing jeans and a nice top. So this didn’t really affect me that much. In fact, until today, I prefer to wear loose and comfortable clothes on most days. And only dress up for occasions. I guess I’m a bit of a tom-boy 🙂

 

9. Your mother continuously compares you to others.

Be it your class mates, your close friends, your relatives, you name it, she’s got it covered. Arab mothers see this comparison as a form of motivation. They think that by comparing you to others who are in some way or another better than you, you will be influenced in a positive way to become a better version of yourself. Of course when done on a regular basis, this causes serious issues of low self-esteem and diminished self-worth. When I say ‘better’, I mean various things. So it can be in their social skills, their fashion style, their attitude, anything really.

 

Growing up with GCC parents
Growing up with GCC parents

 

10. Your father makes all sorts of decisions on your behalf.

If you read my previous post about the lifestyle in the Gulf Region, you would understand this point. Basically, since the parents (mostly father) support their children financially even when they are adults, they also have the right to ask you to follow their own rules and visions for your own life. This means that your father will feel that he has the full right to make choices for your education (University level), career path, personal, marriage, and ultimately all life aspects 🙂 This is valid for as long as you are single and is being supported by him financially. And as long as both you and him are alive and well. They also tend to always think that they know what’s best for you – even when that’s not the case. And they feel privileged to make decisions on your behalf – as if you don’t exist really.

So the financial support also means that you must play by their rules – and only their rules!

 

Now I would love to hear your views on this topic…do you agree? do you disagree? does any of the points that I mentioned resonate with you? did you grow up in a liberal type of GCC family with very liberal parents? do you think I’m just a spoiled brat for writing this post?

Whatever your opinion is, feel free to share it 🙂

 

And because I always like to see the bright side of every situation, I must admit that having grown up with somewhat controlling and over-protective parents has taught me many useful life skills. One of these important skills is the ability to practice self-discipline in my daily life. So, I am thankful to my parents for that. I can say that I have a considerable amount of self-discipline that comes in handy at times. That of course is coupled with a huge lack of self-esteem, self-confidence, and self-worth 🙂

I’m also thankful for being more privileged than many others who share my struggles. It’s true that I had to fight for what I have, but I’m still more lucky than many others who might not have the opportunity to get their voices heard or their side of the story listened to.

The photos in this post are by the highly talented Yasir Saeed. You can read my review of his photography session here.

 

Positive Attitude is Essential in every situation!
Positive Attitude is Essential in every situation!

 

Adios mi amigos y amigas X

UD Review: Yas Waterworld Abu Dhabi Waterpark

UD visits Yas Waterworld waterpark in Abu Dhabi!
UD visits Yas Waterworld waterpark in Abu Dhabi!

 

I can’t believe it took me this long to visit Yas Waterworld waterpark in Abu Dhabi! I think the main reason was the fact that I don’t drive, and so the idea of venturing out of the city requires some sort of planning and transportation arrangement.

The best part was that I got to spend my Friday doing something completely new, fun and exciting! Plus, being an outdoorsy person and a cancerian, means that walking around barefoot on grounds made cool with water sprays and splashing in water for a full day is my ideal definition of the word leisure!

If you need an instant boost to your mood, an intense dose of adrenaline rush, or simply a unique and fun way to spend a weekend, then Yas Waterworld should be on the top of your list 🙂

The park is open from 10 am to 7 pm daily. And there are clear directions for how to get there on the waterpark’s web site.

UD is excited about visiting Yas Waterworld!
UD is excited about visiting Yas Waterworld!

 

What’s unique about this waterpark?

  • Yas Waterworld is not your ordinary waterpark. It’s a waterpark with an Arabian theme and concept.
  • There are water sprinklers on most of the spaces in the park. So you don’t have to worry about walking barefoot in the UAE summer heat.
  • There are even members of staff spraying water on you at different locations – just to cool you off while you walk to your next ride.
  • The whole atmosphere in this waterpark is so lively, upbeat and full of a strong zest for life and happy times 🙂
  • There are professional photographers scattered around the park to take your picture in the water, in front of the slides, or even at the roller-coaster ride.
  • There is underground irrigation, which helps keep the ground cool at all times. This makes it easy to walk without flip flops throughout the park.
  • There are dance competitions for kids with passes as giveaways.
  • There was a pearl diving show for both adults and kids. Which is great for expats to learn about the pearl diving culture and heritage in the region.
  • There were performers all across the park on the day I visited. As it was the first day of the start of the 100 family days – an event which will go on until the end of the year.
  • The park has a wide range of food and drink options. The ice-cream is not to be missed! super delicious!
  • There are different levels of the rides. So whether you just want to slide down a river in a floater or go down a vertical drop slide, there’s definitely something for everyone.
  • There’s a good number of rides and activities for kids too.
  • There was music all over the waterpark. And my favorite radio station – Channel 4 FM – were at the park on that day 😀

Here are some of the photos from the rides that I went on (mind you, my friends and I went on all of the rides twice and three times on one of them!):

The Bandit Bomber is a super cool roller coaster ride – only more fun since you’re in your swim wear! This ride gives you a full tour of the waterpark with crazy detours and turns that will blow you out of your mind 😀  in a good way though….it’s also very breezy up that ride!

 

Bandit Bomber ride at Yas Waterworld in Abu Dhabi
Bandit Bomber ride at Yas Waterworld in Abu Dhabi

 

This ride had different speeds and you can choose the one that matches your fitness level 🙂

 

Slither's Slides at Yas Waterworld waterpark
Slither’s Slides at Yas Waterworld waterpark

 

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waterpark fun at Yas Waterworld in Abu Dhabi
waterpark fun at Yas Waterworld in Abu Dhabi

 

The “beach” or “waves” pool is great for chilling out in between rides. This is me doing poses in the “beach” pool 🙂

 

UD at Yas Waterworld "beach" pool
UD at Yas Waterworld “beach” pool

 

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Great fun at Yas Waterworld in Abu Dhabi
Great fun at Yas Waterworld in Abu Dhabi

 

Being the coffee addict that I am, of course I had to look for a place that serves iced-coffee. And I’m glad to say that I wasn’t disappointed because Yas Berry Cafe serves up a variety of drinks from smoothies to coffees to all things refreshing and delightful…

Yas Berry Cafe at Yas Waterworld
Yas Berry Cafe at Yas Waterworld

 

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iced coffee at Yas Waterworld
iced coffee at Yas Waterworld

 

The surf pool seemed cool, maybe I’ll try it next time 🙂

The surfing pool at Yas Waterworld Abu Dhabi
The surfing pool at Yas Waterworld Abu Dhabi

 

Dancers at Yas Waterworld stage
Dancers at Yas Waterworld stage

 

Chilling at Yas Waterworld
Chilling at Yas Waterworld

 

They even have body drying machines at the park! which come in handy when you forget to bring your swim suit wet bag like I did…

Body Dryer at Yas Waterworld
Body Dryer at Yas Waterworld

 

There’s no end to the leisure activities, top quality service and upscale facilities that Yas Waterworld has to offer! Read on to find out more:

  • Private cabanas.
  • Sun loungers scattered all around the park and at the area by the “beach” pool.
  • DJ playing cool tracks near the “beach” pool.
  • River with floaters that takes you from one side of the park to the other. We used the river to get to the next ride location 🙂
  • Waterfalls, water splashing at you from random places, and all sorts of water park fun.
  • Friendly and helpful staff. The general atmosphere at this waterpark is highly positive and refreshing. Everyone is happy to be there and to do their job at their best level.
  • Professional picture taking – you can choose to buy your photos at the end of the day. I had mine saved on a USB stick.
  • Good way to stay fit in a fun and cool environment.
  • Great options for food and drinks. I must try the coconut drink at my next visit. The quality of the food was excellent too.
  • A range of activities and things to do for kids. As well as exciting competitions.
  • Events for families. The “100 family days” event will go on till the end of the year. But there will also be other events throughout the coming months.
  • Upcoming events include: festival of lights, music events, and winter activities.

 

Result?

I honestly woke up with an unusual high the next morning after my Yas Waterworld adventure! I guess it was the adrenaline rush from going on all those fun and exciting rides. I think everyone should head out to this original and vibrant waterpark every once in a while. It’s a truly refreshing and invigorating way to spend a Friday. One that’s suitable for the whole family too. Everyone from the babies to the elderly and all ages in between were having a blast at this cool waterpark.

Here are the prices that I took a picture of at the ticket booth on my way out…

Yas Waterworld ticket prices
Yas Waterworld ticket prices

 

Note: If you’re visiting the park on a weekend, you might want to go for the premium admission passes. The premium admission tickets allow you to access the rides through the fast lane/track. This means that you will avoid waiting in the long queues for some of the popular rides on a Friday.

 

For more information, check out Yas Waterworld’s web site or Facebook Page.

 

I can’t wait to visit this lovely and magical waterpark again. Have you visited Yas Waterworld? If so, what did you think? 🙂

Love,

The Rebellious Saudi Diva

Majestic Muscat: Souvenir Shopping at Muttrah Souq

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Crowne Plaza Muscat offers its guests a complimentary shuttle bus service to a couple of tourist attractions. These include the “Grand Mosque”, the “Grand Mall”, and a traditional street market called “Muttrah Souq“.

Since I grew up in this region, visiting a mosque wasn’t exactly something that I would choose to do while on vacation. I think that type of excursion is more suitable for Western tourists who want to learn more about the region and visiting a mosque can be a good introduction. Especially in the Gulf region. At the same time, coming from Dubai – a city famous for its endless glitzy and shiny malls – going to another mall during my trip wasn’t exactly what I had in mind. Luckily, I can visit the grand malls of Dubai anytime that I wish.

“Muttrah Souq” sounded interesting. The concept of a traditional street market selling all sorts of souvenirs and local goods was something that I could do on one of my days in this enchanting and original city.
So, I decided to take one day off of my strict tanning and beach lounging schedule to check out “Muttrah Souq”. I actually gave up one full day of going to the beach to visit this old traditional souq. So I hope that you will like the photos that I took as it was mainly for the blog 🙂

Here’s the shuttle bus that takes the hotel guests to the various touristic spots:

Shuttle bus at Crowne Plaza Muscat
Shuttle bus at Crowne Plaza Muscat

 

Shuttle bus timings
Shuttle bus timings

 

Here are some random photos that were taken at Muttrah Souq:

 

beaded trinkets
beaded trinkets

 

mini coffee pots!
mini coffee pots!
Souvenir fridge magnets
Souvenir fridge magnets

 

pop corn (foushar)
pop corn (foushar)

 

I thought that it was ironic that there was a store titled “Dubai” shopping center in the street behind “Muttrah Souq”!

 

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pottery gifts at Muttrah Souq
pottery gifts at Muttrah Souq

 

hair scrunchies and other accessories
hair scrunchies and other accessories

 

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gold shop display window at Muttrah Souq
gold shop display window at Muttrah Souq

 

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Muttrah Souq is a true and authentic street market with its branched out and narrow alleys. While walking around this super cool and traditional market, I decided to make my market experience even more rich by sampling some street food. I snacked on two samosas (one with a vegetable filling and the other with potatoes) and one piece of falafel. Now I have to give you guys a valuable piece of advise: stick to the falafel and avoid the samosas! The samosas are way too greasy and you can barely notice any flavor other than the taste of oil used to fry those samosas. Although the falafel was very dry, it had a nice flavor to it and I regretted not getting three falafels instead of one falafel and two samosas!

 

street food snacks at Muttrah Souq
street food snacks at Muttrah Souq

 

antique decoration boxes
antique decoration boxes

 

Antique decoration or storage boxes
Antique decoration or storage boxes

 

Muttrah Souq entrance
Muttrah Souq entrance

 

For someone who is from the Gulf region and has grown up in it, I can frankly tell you that Muttrah Souq is severely authentic and is a true representation of the culture, traditions and icons of the region. Almost every item that is sold at that souq resonates with me in one way or another. The antique boxes for example, are used to decorate corners in houses in the Gulf region. At our house, we used them to store old newspapers and magazines! Yeah I know what you’re thinking, we’re a weird bunch 🙂

 

I will be posting the rest of the photos from my Muscat trip on the Facebook Page soon. So that you won’t miss a thing from my trip.

If you didn’t get a chance to check the previous post from my trip, you can find it here.

Time for me to go to bed, as I have been out all day doing something quite adventurous…you’ll hear all about it soon. Simply watch this space.

 

See ya,

The Rebellious Saudi Diva xxx

Majestic Muscat: Amazing Crowne Plaza Muscat Breakfast!

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One of the remarkable things at the Crowne Plaza Muscat is the breakfast buffet at Tropicana restaurant. Honestly, even the 5-star property hotels can’t match this vast and fresh breakfast spread. The extensive breakfast buffet is served from 6 until 10:30 am on weekdays, and ends at 11:30 am on weekends.

A wide selection of all the possible breakfast variations that anyone might think of is included in the Crowne Plaza muscat breakfast buffet.

With different corners for Arabic, Asian, and Western types of breakfast, prepare to be spoiled for choices and confused as to what to have!

There’s even a pancake machine, coffee machine, and a live cooking station where a chef will make your eggs the way you like to have them.

No matter what your ethnic background or country of origin is, rest assured that there will definitely be something at the Crowne Plaza Muscat buffet to satisfy your palate.

All the staff at this hotel are extremely friendly, well experienced and highly professional individuals. So, having breakfast every day on my own didn’t make me feel awkward or anything. Instead, I felt at home and truly enjoyed my little chats and casual conversations with the breakfast restaurant staff members.

Now, let’s have a look at some of the breakfast buffet options at Crowne Plaza Muscat…

Pancake Machine at Crowne Plaza Muscat Breakfast
Pancake Machine at Crowne Plaza Muscat Breakfast

 

Coffee Machine
Coffee Machine

 

Asian corner condiment table
Asian corner condiment table

 

Fruit Selection at Crowne Plaza Muscat breakfast
Fruit Selection at Crowne Plaza Muscat breakfast

 

fresh fruits at the Crowne Plaza Muscat breakfast buffet
fresh fruits at the Crowne Plaza Muscat breakfast buffet

 

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Being a huge foodie and a true breakfast lover, I was taking my time in having breakfast every day…and in a failed attempt to avoid over-eating (which I must admit that I did during my Muscat trip), I decided to have a delicious freshly made vegetarian omelet on one day, and an Arabic breakfast of “foul” (fava beans) on another 🙂  Not to mention the fresh salad that I would team up with my “foul” day. I know, I’m such a nerd that I even plan what to have for breakfast….

I truly miss the wonderful and fresh breakfast buffet selection at Crowne Plaza Muscat. I was so craving a hearty breakfast this morning, but I decided to stay at home to write this post with a reliable wi-fi connection. All I had was a banana for breakfast, so you can imagine how much I would love to indulge in a Crowne Plaza Muscat breakfast at this very moment…

Stay tuned to this blog for the next post from my Muscat trip…hint: it involves some souvenir shopping and traditional souk hopping 🙂

In the meantime, you can check out my previous Muscat post at the famous Barr Al Jissah.

 

Love,

The Rebellious Saudi Diva xxx