Undefined Declarations’ List: Top 10 Things I like about being a Blogger


Blogging from Cafes becomes a lifestyle for most bloggers
Blogging from Cafes becomes a lifestyle for most bloggers


My previous Top 10 List was about being raised by parents from the Gulf region. I come from a moderately conservative family. We are not liberal, but we’re also not extremely conservative or religious. Here’s a link for that post if you missed it.

Today’s list includes the top 10 things that I like about being a blogger. I started this blog in September 2012 to showcase my writing to potential employers. Now, it’s more of a hobby and sometimes feels like a full-time role!

I present to you the top reasons that keep me hooked to writing blog posts:

  1. I can work from almost any location that I feel like working from. Writing blog posts can be done from the comfort of my bed, a cafe across the road, or even from the beach if I had the time and luxury of carrying around a laptop, and a beach bag full of beach essentials.

    Jumeirah Mosque view at this Starbucks Middle East location
    Jumeirah Mosque view at this Starbucks Middle East location
  2. I can write posts at any time of the day. On most days, I have a couple of things to get done. So, blogging is something that might not come at the top of my priority list. That’s when I can write in the evenings – when most people are watching TV, reading, socializing, or out having dinner or drinks. This point can be a disadvantage to blogging too. But that will be discussed in another post 🙂
  3. I get to do creative work, that I choose myself, without any supervision or editing from another party. Unlike working for a publishing house and adhering to certain rules and regulations, blogging gives the writer the freedom of expression and writing within their personal set of rules and limitations.
  4. I get invited to review restaurant meals, spa treatments and other cool stuff. When I first started the blog, I was reviewing these things anyway, because I enjoyed it. After some time of hard work, the blog gained more followers and I started to get invites to review meals, and other stuff. The only issue these days is that, with my University course work, I don’t have the same free time I used to have when I first started the blog. That’s why, I don’t write as many reviews as I used to in the past.
  5. Being a blogger means that I’m considered as a media person. This grants me access to events as press. It also allows me to network with other media professionals, and others from the media industry.
  6. One thing that I really like about blogging is meeting other bloggers. Whether they are based in the same city, or on another continent, it’s always great to meet like-minded people. Most bloggers share many traits in common; they are interesting, determined and curious individuals. We love to learn new things, and we are pretty good in taking action.

    What I just Love the Blog and I catching up over lunch
    What I just Love the Blog and I catching up over lunch
  7. Blogging allows me to share my thoughts, experiences, views and ideas with my readers. It makes me so ecstatic to hear that a reader found my post insightful, or that they learned so many things from it. It equally brightens my day when someone tells me that what I wrote resonates with their own experience very strongly.
  8. I love that blogging has helped me practice – and hopefully – improve my writing skills. I think most of all, it gave me the confidence that I needed to keep writing. It helped me stay focused on my goal of becoming a better writer and journalist.
  9. It helped me build on my social and networking skills. I started to attend all kinds of events when I started this blog. This was mainly to meet new people and to generate blog content. It was very exciting to meet people from different backgrounds and industries. At that time, I was mixing with people from the fashion, arts, food or media industries. That fitted well with the blog concept, as I was writing a lifestyle blog that covered all these topics. Nowadays, I still enjoy attending random events. But due to my time constraints, I have to be more selective with the events that I choose to attend. Of course once I’m done with my course, I should be able to attend more events and network with people from various communities.
  10. Being a blogger who doesn’t outsource anything to another party means that you need a set of multiple skills. I truly enjoy being the following:
  • The editor who comes up with the idea for the post.
  • The photographer who takes the pictures for the post.
  • The writer and editor who writes and then edits the words and images.
  • The marketing and PR person who promotes the blog.
  • The social media person who promotes the blog and the posts on social media.
  • The communications person who attends events and tells people about the blog.
  • The entrepreneurial spirit who constantly goes through ups and downs, but never gives up.

As you can see, blogging is a very fun and engaging way to communicate with others and express your feelings and thoughts through words. I love hearing positive feedback as much as I love hearing critical remarks. So feel free to leave a comment or not 🙂

The next post will be a list of the things that I don’t like about being a blogger. So stay tuned for that!

Till then, Have a wonderful weekend ahead. No matter how you choose to spend it!



Coffee breaks are more fun when blogging is involved :)
Coffee breaks are more fun when blogging is involved 🙂

Undefined Declarations’ List: Top 10 Tips for Making it in the Creative Industry



When I first decided to change careers from IT to journalism back in 2008, I had no idea about the way to get there. I didn’t realize that it would be a completely different route to what I was used to, or to how I eventually got my IT job. Doing things the hard way – without anyone to guide me, assist or support me – I must say that I learned the lessons in the best way possible: by trial and error.

Comparing my previous career and work experience to what I do now is a very hard task. They’re two completely different fields and work environments. But, I will give you a brief idea to help you understand and maybe get inspired to make a similar change or adjustment to what you currently do.

I had a degree in Business Information Systems from the University of Bahrain. And after working in IT support for around four years, I decided to quit my job and pursue my passion: writing. I was 28, a year later, I moved to London to take a foundation course with London College of Fashion. After completing one term of A-Level equivalent and intensive study, I decided to move to Dubai to start interning for publishing companies in the hopes of landing an editorial role along the way…It’s the year 2014 and I’m still working towards that same goal that I had aimed for when I moved here in 2010. Except that these days, I have learned so many lessons along the way and I would like to share them with anyone who is working towards a similar goal or is looking into becoming a creative professional and earning a living out of it.


1. Start doing the creative work

While it might work otherwise in other industries – get a degree then apply for a job. In the creative industry, it’s the other way around. You must start by doing the work that you aspire to get paid for. Since employers will only hire you after they have seen your actual work and how you can add value to their organization and goals. Plus, doing the actual work will greatly help in improving your skills and expertise.


2. Do unpaid work

Freelancing and offering your services for free is nothing to be ashamed of. It’s a great way to build your portfolio – because you will need one in order to get paid for your work. So keep doing unpaid work for as long as it takes to get paid for your work and to be accredited for it.


3. Work 24/7

Working in a fun and creative environment is a good thing, but you must be prepared to work without taking breaks. Fixed working hours aren’t part of the game. There’s always something new to learn, some project to work on, a new and exciting idea to consider…The cool thing is that you get to be your own boss and you can manage your time according to your personal preferences.


4. Take notes of your ideas and put them into action

Whether it’s your next blog post, photo shoot, short video, web site design, you need to keep coming with fresh and new ideas. Most importantly, put those ideas into action by implementing them into that blog post, photo shoot, video or web page.


5. Love what you do

Any entrepreneur will give you this advise really. You must do what you do with passion if you want to get to anywhere. The monetary return will not appear in the first stages, so you must do what you love in order to have the passion to keep doing it even when the going gets tough and when you are not making any profit out of it.


6. Network, network, network

One of the essential elements of the creative industry is networking. Find out about relevant events and make an effort to attend them. Not only will you learn more about the market, you will also meet new people who share your interests and passions. Building positive and meaningful connections with others in your industry is vitally important.


7. Have casual meetings with like-minded people

Whether it’s over coffee, lunch, dinner or even breakfast, meeting with others from similar industries is a great way to share ideas, discuss various topics and maybe learn new tips and market information. Supporting others in their own career goals is always a great way to build positive and healthy relationships with others in your industry. The road is always more entertaining when traveled with others.


8. Work in creative hubs and open spaces

Whether you choose to work from your local neighborhood cafe, head to the nearest spot of big chain coffee shops, or collaborate with others at one of the work spaces in town, it’s always better than working from home. Being a creative professional – especially when writing – can be a lonely experience. So surrounding yourself with others in an open and busy environment is the best way to go. You will also feel more motivated to work in an environment where everyone around you is working in front of their laptops or doing some sort of productive work.


9. Read, learn, study

Taking a short course or working towards a degree in your chosen creative field will only add to your knowledge and build up your confidence. If you can’t afford a course, simply read online articles about your topic or any topic for that matter! Staying updated with what’s happening in your industry will help keep you ahead of others and boost your knowledge levels.


10. Never give up!

Reaching your goals in the creative industry and getting paid for your work could be an extremely lengthy process. It could take years before you could get published or be taken seriously by potential employers. But the trick here is to never give up and to continue working hard towards your goals. Even if no one reads your blog posts, supports you or what you’re doing, or thinks that you have great ideas, you must stay fixed to your target and aim to achieve it no matter how challenging things get. Keep reminding yourself of why you chose to do this in the first place and how long it took you to get to where you are. You must fuel yourself from your own energy, ambition and inner power.




Lynx Networking at The Dek!




At first, I wasn’t sure if I would be able to attend the Lynx networking night titled: The Creative Club Party; which was basically a prequel to the main Lynx Awards Ceremony taking place tonight. After enquiring by e-mail if it was possible to attend the networking event only, and not be registered as a delegate or attend the day seminars, I was informed that: “the event is very popular and so is only open to registered delegates.”  So, I immediately dismissed the idea of going to the event, until a lady at the Media Mondays’ event commented that it shouldn’t be a problem for you to get in, since the event is held at a hotel venue.

I still wasn’t too keen on getting dressed up and showing up at the door, and risk not being allowed into the event. But then a friend suggested to go and give it a try and then let me know if he faced any problems in getting in. And so he did, and he was allowed in. That’s when I dressed up in a casual business style in a cream tweed-like jacket and a black A-cut shaped skirt that was above the knee. Luckily, my hair was done the previous day for the Media Mondays event, and so after a quick fix and wearing a head band, I was ready to go. (Well, that’s the brief version, of course there was make-up application, ironing my skirt, and wearing jewelry and perfume).

As my friend and I arrived at the funky and graffiti decorated “The Dek on 8” at Media One hotel in the heart of Dubai Media City, we immediately started putting our networking skills into the test. Still acting on the high impulse and drive from the previous night’s Media Mondays event, we went up to random individuals and started to introduce ourselves and have a casual discussion with them. The only problem being that this event wasn’t actually designed for doing that!  As we approached people to start a conversation with them, we were confronted by looks of surprise and sometimes arrogance as to what we were exactly doing 🙂  Having interned at a multi-national advertising agency in Dubai over a year ago, I wasn’t the slightest bit surprised of the responses we got.

Yes, I was highly familiar with the ad agency types…I can’t generalize though. I was very delighted to meet some genuine and good friends from my internship days at JWT Dubai. It was a wonderful opportunity to catch up and discuss general topics. I was even impressed that some of them could remember me after such a long time of me leaving the agency. I always thought that people who worked at ad agencies had super powers to be able to work for extra long hours, and still manage to wake up early the next day and be at the office on time!  I think I could learn a lot from them on work ethics and loving what you do and having undying passion for it.

To make the picture more clear to you readers, last night when I was approaching random people at “The Dek on 8”, I felt as if I was the star of an episode of the popular MTV British reality TV show: Plain Jane. For any of you who are not familiar with the show, the series basically takes a different plain Jane girl each week and with the help of British fashion expert Louise Roe, transforms her into a more confident and stylish lady before going out on a romantic date with her secret crush. (I know, very teenage thing to watch – I do enjoy it though!).  So in the same way as plain Jane would have to overcome her shyness and approach strange guys at the beach or any other public place and start a casual conversation with them, I found myself going up to random people and introducing myself and chatting them up.  Except that the show wasn’t directed or produced by a TV network! It was my own life and I was the sole actor, director and producer 🙂

I can proudly say that although the event wasn’t exactly created for exchanging business cards or meeting new people, me and my friend still managed to meet a good number of people throughout the night. We had a good time and laughed our way out of awkward moments. But the most important thing is that we didn’t let anything or anyone discourage us or get in the way of our own networking agenda.

Let’s put it this way: we helped get The Creative Club Party started 😉










Media Mondays: The Sequel :)

The venue: Kempinski Palm Jumeirah
The venue: Kempinski Palm Jumeirah



If you haven’t yet heard of or attended the UAE’s biggest media networking event: Media Mondays, then you truly are missing out on something valuable. The networking event is held quarterly in Dubai and Abu Dhabi, and brings together working professionals from all areas of the media industry.

The event offers an open networking platform where individuals can approach one another in a casual, laid-back atmosphere and introduce themselves while discussing business or general topics. It’s a great opportunity to promote your business, your services, or your skills.  It’s also a good way to make new business contacts and get referrals for whatever job/business lead you are looking for.

I personally have made some good friends at the previous Media Mondays that I have attended. If you missed out on my earlier post, you can read all about it here.  This time, the venue chosen for the event was the spectacular Kempinski Hotel at the beautiful Palm Jumeirah. The weather was perfect for an outdoor gathering, and the crowd was a lot much bigger than last time. The buzzing atmosphere, cool breeze, and chilled vibe made for an amazing night under the stars of the clear Dubai sky.

Although I managed to meet a good number of remarkably interesting and exceptional individuals, I would have liked to meet and speak to even more people at the event. That’s why I have two points to consider for my next Media Mondays event:

  1. I plan to attend the event from the time it starts; to make the most out of the networking opportunities it has to offer.
  2. I will try to spend less time at each networking session; to be able to meet a larger number of people. (although this might not be easy, especially when some one is talking about an interesting topic or giving you insight that you need).

For anyone who has missed this year’s first Media Mondays event, don’t worry there will be many more to come. Just keep your eye on the event’s page and make sure you show up with a smile and a stack of business cards 🙂




Prize Giveaways at Media Mondays
Prize Giveaways at Media Mondays

A Cool Publishing Event at a Magazine Shop! I must be getting closer to something!




Who knew that a cafe/magazine shop aptly called “The Magazine Shop” existed in DIFC? The newly opened shop serves as a cozy outdoor space to sit and read magazines; nestled in between the art galleries of DIFC. You can find a great variety of International and local magazine titles on the shelves. All you have to do is order your coffee or tea, take your pick from the many cool magazines and unwind at a cute wooden stool chair.

I was honored to meet two prominent and outstanding individuals from the publishing industry in Dubai at the event. Conor Purcell – the Founder and Editor of the niche targeted “We Are Here” magazine was hosting the event. He explained to us the idea and concept behind the magazine, as well as the process and challenges associated with publishing an independent magazine in Dubai. Conor’s main objective was to create a travel guide magazine that was different from the commercial travel magazines available in the market. His view is basically to try not to become a cliche. But instead to present something different to a niche target of readers. He also shared with us some valuable information on independent publishing procedures in Dubai, and gave us honest tips and useful advise from his own personal experience during the creation of “We Are Here”.

Another leading Dubai persona who I had the pleasure to meet at the event was Narain Jashanmal – General Manager at the Jashanmal Group. Having grown up in Al Khobar in Saudi, trips to the Jashanmal Bahrain store were a vivid part of my childhood and teen days. I also remember a Dadhabai store in Al Khobar, which was part of the Jashanmal Group if I’m not mistaken. Yes, those were the days when all I had to worry about was what cool stationery item I was going to buy next. And I would genuinely get upset if I had seen something in a catalog or an International magazine that wasn’t available in the Saudi market!  While nowadays, I am surrounded by almost anything that I could ever wish for; except that I don’t have the peace of mind to shop for it since I spend most of my time working towards my goal and career path. Ah, the irony of life.

Honestly speaking, this event has proved to be the most relevant, useful and worthwhile event that I had been to since I started to attend events and network in September of last year.  I think while I have truly enjoyed going to fashion or art events, I knew that those weren’t exactly what I needed to do or where I needed to network. While mingling with the young Dubai fashion crowd, or the older and more mature artistic circle was quite interesting and enjoyable, I believe that meeting inspiring individuals from the publishing and journalism industry is what will get me closer to understanding the market and help build my knowledge about it.

Do I regret not attending Rihanna’s new collection launch in-store event at high-street store River Island?  Absolutely not.

As I was chatting with a friend who I unexpectedly met outside “The Magazine Shop”, I found out from another lady that there was a “Dior” event taking place in a nearby shop at DIFC.  This time though, I was glad that I wasn’t part of the fashion pack 🙂




An Evening of Art at the Brownbook Headquarters



When I saw an announcement on the Brownbook magazine facebook page about an event that they were hosting at their office in DIFC, I was determined to attend.

Brownbook is a magazine that covers a wide range of topics within its Middle-East region focus. As stated on their web site: “Brownbook takes on the task of reintroducing the Middle East to itself.”

The event consisted of two parts: one was the outdoor screening of the Brownbook Urban Series. Which is a showcase of video documentaries about prominent and inspirational individuals from the region. The second part involved a talk about an artist’s work and a presentation of his pieces.

As I was walking into the office, I almost tripped on the cable that was at the entrance to the ultra sleek and modern interior of the Brownbook office…I guess I was too excited to be that close to my dream career in lifestyle journalism! I loved the minimalistic approach to the design of the office. As well as the canvas paintings reflecting the UAE’s culture, decorating the walls.

What I didn’t predict was the fact that there was no one from the magazine team attending the event! Please correct me if I am wrong.

At the beginning of our meetup, we did a round and introduced ourselves and gave a bit of information about what we do…and as the majority of the attendants were from the art industry or somehow related, I found myself in an unforeseen situation. Not that I didn’t want to be there, it’s just that I wasn’t expecting an evening of pure art discussion.

Although I didn’t get to network with anyone from the Brownbook team (or any other publishing professionals), I am glad that I attended and that I can say that not only have I been to the magazine’s urban and cool office in DIFC, I have also had a discussion about art at their conference table 🙂

Now since my dad is in town, this happy go-lucky story must have a different twist to it. When I told him about my evening at the Brownbook hosted art discussion, his reply was: “so it was useless.” Or something similar.

I explained to him that he does not see the long-term vision of this event. The fact that I went out there and made an effort to attend an event and networked with others, and exchanged some business cards is a valuable experience in itself!

That although this time I didn’t get to meet any contacts from the industry that I am trying to get into, I must keep moving and continue what I am doing. Maybe on another occasion, I will meet a valuable contact or source of information that will lead me to the next step in my journey.

My dad was always obsessed with results. Unfortunately, that’s not the way that life works. It’s not magic! you have to put in a lot of time and effort in order to get the tiniest result. That’s when he said: “yes, it’s a mature market here and the competition is big.”

While my dad is focused on the destination (me getting a full-time role at a company), I have learned that I must enjoy the ride and take the time to go through every experience and develop and grow and learn from it.

I believe that the journey of self-development is an endless one. Whether you are working on your career, relationships, finances, or any other aspect of your life…you must continue to put in the right amount of time and effort if you want to improve your life and personality.

I am highly grateful for the opportunity that I have to experience a new way of life, to meet new interesting people, and to continuously develop and grow as an individual.

We all have personal spaces and limitations that we set for ourselves sometimes that could use some expansion. So get out there and make an effort to break a personal boundary at least once a week. You will be delighted by the freedom and positive energy that will replicate itself back on you.