Nagging With Style!

 

 

 

Hello friends, so it has been a while right? Life has been FULL, isn’t it always full though? It’s crazy how no matter how you think you can balance it all, you always have to cave in, and admit defeat since the day is only 24hours long, and you will never ever get a minute extra!

 

So today I would like to talk about a very important topic, a topic that we- mamas- talk about a lot, especially on those rare girls’ nights out, that we get to have, once every blue moon; where we seem to take every opportunity we land on to exchange funny stories about all the crazy things our husbands do, and let’s face it we all have at least one of these stories that usually end up with some serious eye rolling and a bit of tongue twisting. Yes we laugh at each other’s husbands, and we all yell in solidarity with each other: “What the hell do they know…these husbands!?” and we leave at the end of the night a little more lighter and a little less bitter about those same stories we joked about; however, those stories and many many more happen on daily basis, we always have something to complain about when it comes to our significant others, and that’s exactly what I want to talk about today.

 

No one starts a marriage thinking of the hard times this same marriage is gonna go through, no one starts thinking about all the downs that will face this union, no one thinks about the natural, and inevitable consequences of living together under the same roof and leading the same hectic, stressful, unkind life we all live nowadays. We only think of the romance and the passion that usually and in most marriages fade after few years or after having the first baby, for the very simple reason: Life happens!!! We get busy, we get caught in the dark web of life’s excruciating demands, and we forget that there is a little seed that we need to nurture and keep close to our hearts, for the many years to come.

 

In a marriage, when you know a person inside out, and you know their weaknesses and their strengths, their perception of themselves and the way they like to be, their soft spots and their multiple selves, isn’t it enough data to embrace that human being fully and acknowledge their presence in your life just the way it is? The way they are and not the way you want them to be? Isn’t it enough to pass through and beyond the little details, such as who did not take the trash out last night and who left the front door open or who lost the only existing house key..? The answer might surprise you indeed!

 

I would like to think of it as an invitation to experience and test each other’s humorous side. What if we turned every fight and each argument into jokes? Just like we joke about them days later with girlfriends. Why don’t we try to find the funny side instead of calling out every dark thought we could get our “hands” on? What if we make that wicked, evil, irresponsible, forgetful husband of yours burst into a fit of laughter with each and every complaint you blurt out? Are you reading these last few lines out loud wondering what has happened to my sanity? Well it’s very simple: Humor is a very powerful tool that if used right can get you anywhere you want, in a very relaxing and fun way, so why not take advantage of that? Why not take at least one burden off your shoulders and deal with the biggest source of stress in our lives so lightly, softly and in a way that will definitely have a positive outcome for both parties: Husbands aaaand wives?!!

 

 

Life already does surprise us with few slaps in the face every now and then, and that to me is enough stress and discomfort any one should deal with. So when we don’t really take ourselves and each other so seriously, and let room for some fun and laughter, we discover a new level of satisfaction and fulfilment, of understanding and contentment.

 

So ladies, roll your sleeves up, and show those other halves of yours how women can crack jokes about that forgotten trash, that unfixed light bulb, those groceries that were never done and all those little things on the list that were never checked….Never done! Take a moment to breath and to remember that those little things are not the essence of your life together, they are not the true meaning of your story. Just breath and make fun of each other and make some space for all the new wrinkles on both your faces, from all the laughing you will be doing, that will mark a new start, and a completely different level, in your holy bond.

 

Ouiam

Disneyland Done Right!!

 

Alright, so just to clarify things: There is really nothing you can do right while having a toddler at your feet, for very obvious reasons-well it’s a toddler we are talking about- but we can definitely make things go smoother, aiming to minimize any collateral damage.

 

Last month we traveled to Paris, the city of love and pastries, yet we were aiming  for a different kind of adventures. My genius husband had come up with a fantastic plan, in just a couple of days of researching “Where to go on a holiday with a toddler” –yup he is this cool! And he soon announced that we were to visit the one place on earth where you can pretend to be a kid, and no one will have a problem with that. I was mostly excited that my 3 years old son will finally meet his number one idol, the one and only Mickey Mouse! Yes Mickey the Mouse himself! The trip was going to be 5 days (or so we thought, little did we know that adults also can’t get enough of that magical land!). From the airport we headed straight to Disneyland filled with excitement and joy. I really didn’t know what to expect, after all I had never been to Disneyland before!

I would say, to do Disneyland right, you ll first and foremost need one thing: MY HUSBAND (just kidding lol). He really did such a great job researching and figuring out all the tips, dos and don’ts, and thanks to him we had a wonderful experience, so through this post, I will try to share his wisdom with all of you out there 😉 Here are some of the tips that helped us greatly:

Download the Parc de Disneyland® app: It’s a MUST!! It gives you all the info you need while in Disneyland: The location of the rides/games, how long you ll need to queue for, where to get food/ice cream from…etc!

 

Make sure you choose the right season to visit: as obvious as this might be, it can also be tricky. In Summer prices are obviously very high compared to winter, however, in winter it might be too cold especially if you are with kids, in addition to the fact that in winter some rides can be closed for maintenance. So you really have to choose carefully.

 

The park opens its doors at 10am, but you can aim to be there at 9 or 9:30am. First because the road from the doors to the actual park is very long, then because you would like to escape the crowds, and do at least one or two rides before you start queuing for crazy amounts of time.

The majority of the park’s visitors choose to go with the flow: clockwise around the park, try going against the grain: either go anti-clockwise or start from the back of the park (make sure to pick up a map or use the app) and work your way forward.

If your child is less than 3 years old, he/she gets a “child’s rate”, but you will be required to show proof, either his passport or birth certificate.

 

If you are new parents, make sure you use your ‘Baby Switch’ priority. If you’re bringing along a baby, you can definitely ask for a ‘Baby Switch’ card at the entrance. This will allow one of the two adults to queue up, while the other looks after the baby. And once the ride is done, the other parent can use the card to re-visit the attraction, this time without having to queue.

 

 FASTPASS: Quite simply, the best way to avoid the queues. Available to pick up as you go in, these special FASTPASS are valid for only an hour, so in order to fit the most into your day, I suggest picking up passes every two hours or so. You can move between the two parks as and when you wish. Some rides aren’t included in the FASTPASS scheme, so make sure to check out the list of those that are, beforehand.

 

You can rent a stroller for your toddler, at the entrance, for 20Euros. If you want to use it freely between the 2 parks, you can add a 50Euros deposit, and you will get a paper that you can show the staff at the entrance of each park in order to move freely between parks.

 

Now remember, you will be doing lots of running around, queuing, and walking, so NO HEALS!!  Choose your most comfortable shoes! You will also need to be wearing comfy clothes, that will allow you to move freely. Hats are a MUST too!! Especially for kids.

 

SNACKS!!!!!!!!!! Stock up on them! You will need them all day long! It also makes the wait much easier, especially with kids. Besides, everything there costs an arm and a leg, so you might wanna fill up that backpack. You can even pack a light lunch just in case the queues are too long and you (or your toddler) are too hungry to wait.

 

Be aware that some shops actually close at 6pm so always check what time everything closes (again, you can use the app for that).

 

If your kid is a Mickey Mouse junky –like mine- then make sure you don’t miss the “Mickey Mouse Club House Show”, available in both French and English, at the Walt Disney Studios.

 

Usually around the closing time (One park closes at 7pm and the other one at 11pm), The crowds tend to die down, so keep one or two rides in mind for that last hour.

One of the best rides that our whole family enjoyed was “Ratatouille”!! So so much fun. You will also find there one of the best restaurants in Disneyland: “Bistrot Chez Remy”, where you’ll get what it feels like to be a rat in a big restaurant lol.

Instead of Five days we stayed a week, this is how fun, and enjoyable Disneyland was, to all of us, not only to my 3 years old son!! We loved every minute of it. After that week, I sure had blisters and missed my sofa so so much, but it was aaaaaaaaaaaall worth it!

 

Ouiam

 

 

Lost In Germany….

Last May, I did something quite crazy, something not everyone will be able to do, especially with a toddler onboard. I planned a trip, following Google’s advice and my instinct. I looked up “Small villages in Germany” and randomly chose one, then I booked the first house that popped up in my feed, and booked my tickets. Just me and my 3 years old. My desire to immerse myself in nature was growing day by day, and I was daydreaming about a trip where all we can do is contemplate the breathtakingly gorgeous sceneries. It wasn’t really hard to choose a country with the above descriptions; Germany is one of my very favorite countries, The Country of Poets and Thinkers, as it was being called once.
 

While there,  it really seemed like I have left the planet earth and showed up somewhere where social epidemics haven’t yet found place. Somewhere in the state of Bavaria in Germany, a tiny little town, about a handful of houses and a park (of course, parks in this part of the world are more important than anything else!), I am not even sure if I should call where I was, a “little town”, the closest supermarket, shops, or any sign of civilization was 15 km away (which is also a little town called “Schöllkrippen”). Mostly old couples live there, surrounded by all kind of greens, nature and friendly neighbors- sheep, goats, dogs and cats- Few young people too. Since we landed in this forgotten peace of heaven, Adam and I have been experiencing all kinds of human interactions that were not possible elsewhere. When we first arrived we were greeted at every corner, we were offered rides and food, we were treated like part of the family from people whom we have never seen before, from people we don’t even share the same language with! People have showered us with kindness and compassion since the day we stepped foot in there, and I simply wonder how come this only exists there? This has made me think of all the times reckless drivers shouted and raised hands that I could see from my mirror while driving, or those times when neighbors passed by and omitted to say hello, or the times family and friends have failed to show the human side in them, and I ask myself how come? Why we lost that human side in us that made us joyful, peaceful and simple! It also made me think of that specific time in an airport where I was helping a random guy get his luggage from one of those famous airport luggage belts (you know what I mean, those ones where if you don’t get your bag from the first round you start experiencing a mini heart attack, and are bound to wait in queues for hours!!!), and he came shouting, and waving his big bulky hand:” THIS IS MY BAG!”!!!!!!  Of course it is yours, idiot, I am just helping you! It made me think of countless encounters I had before of human beings being so far away from humanity, times where kindness has become a distant memory only few of us can remember. The people in this tiny town obviously opted for another philosophy in life, one that was too rare to even be named or studied. One that was the epitome of kindness, compassion and love.

 

 

What is it that has spoiled and ruined the human race this much, and left it pretty much inhuman? What is it that makes people kill innocent people, judge them, feel superior to them or even be insensitive to their existence?

 

If you say technology, it is wrong! Because each one of the people in this little tiny town, has their smart phones, laptops and TVs lined up in front of them (or in their living rooms), so it must be something else.

 

Whatever their secrete is, it is working! People in that little town are not disconnected from their surroundings even with the existence of phones and TVs. People there crave the social interaction as we- in my part of the world- crave the social media. These people are open and tolerant, they are present and mindful. I find it hard to believe that with the lifestyle we live we are able to find the essence of humanity anywhere. Husbands and wives busy with their phones, kids busy with their electronics and neighbors busy ignoring their neighbors. Somewhere along the journey we have all lost our purity and innocence, even with the best intentions, we are transformed with others’ rudeness and disconnection from whoever we want to be to whatever we are now.

 

Where I was, no one sits alone in a café, random people show up and ask if they can sit with you! So you don’t have to sit all alone! You will never be or feel alone even though the population of this tinniest city is one tenth of any normal sized city, while in big cities like where I live, you will be sitting in a table with 10 other people you know very well, and you will be hiding behind a screen, you might even not notice if someone leaves or comes! And this is my friends, one of the biggest losses the humanity has ever suffered from!

 

I am so very thankful and blessed that the universe has sent me to this unbelievably rich little town, to relearn what is the purpose of being human and how to be human in an era of disconnection and impurity.


PS: Those gorgeous pictures were taken by the very talented Jessica Elm in Germany.

Instagram: @jessicaelmphotography

Ouiam

Some Serious Pampering at Argan Day Spa…

I am always up for trying new, exciting things, so when Argan Day Spa contacted me to try their services, of course I happily obliged.

I headed there not knowing what to expect, however I was super excited to know that one of the services booked for me was: A Moroccan bath!! I am Moroccan and I obviously know a thing or two about Moroccan baths, so I had very high expectation. However, my concerns were soothed knowing that the owner herself was Moroccan. I arrived to the Spa around 1pm, headed straight to their steam room, guided by a lovely Thai lady, with a gorgeous smile.

Basically a Moroccan Hammam (bath) is a bathroom with steam, where you can bathe, and scrub the hell out of your dead skin, using a glove that feels a bit like sandpaper. After applying the famous Moroccan natural soap, and leaving it for few minutes. You can then later resume your normal showering habits as usual (Soap, shampoo, conditioner …etc).

Once I got to the steam room, I immediately felt like I was back in time to when I was 5 or 6 years old, when I used to go with my mom every week to the “Hammam”. The lady applied the Moroccan soap so gently and I could smell the beautiful and natural smell of that fabulous soap. She then left the room and said that she will come back in 10 minutes, leaving me to relax with the steam to open up my pores. Once she was back, with her black glove, she got right into it. If you have never had a Moroccan Bath, you might be shocked and degusted with whatever is coming out of your body, but there is something absolutely satisfying about it: All the dead skin is gone forever, and you will feel so light and clean like you never had before. The tricky part is to know how much pressure you should apply when rubbing, you don’t want to be too soft, then nothing will come out, and at the same time you don’t want to be too harsh and hurt the skin. The lady who was taking care of me was so perfect that I had to ask her where did she learn all that from. To my surprise, she said that the Owner herself -Miss Fatima Hanine-, has personally trained her, along with the other ladies in the spa! Now that’s a fantastic sense of commitment!

She then washed my hair gently and applied a body mask that is very popular in Morocco, which consists of natural clay and rose water. It smells divine and feels like silk over the body.

Basically you just lay on a table and there is a wonderful lady who takes you on a full journey to Morocco to experience the real deal! She will blow your senses away! and believe me once done you will be addicted to this sort of natural, traditional yet luxurious and dazzling experience.

I then was taken to the massage room, where “Masha” was so warm and helpful- Please remember this name because I can’t recommend her enough!!- After I told her that my calves were very painful, (from all the standing, running, walking I do all day, everyday!), she said she will focus on them. She applied some pressure for few minutes, a little strong but she promised that this will help with the stiff muscles at the back of my legs. Once done I could already feel how light my calves were, and the pain was totally gone! It was such a blessing to finally walk without feeling that the muscles in my legs were going to explode!

After she finished she brought warm towels and washed away all the oil from the massage on my body. How amazing is that! I always hate to have to put back on my clothes, to an oily body, but this time I didn’t have to, there was no trace of oil, just a bunch of happy rejuvenated muscles! She also washed her hands before dealing with my super clean hair.. BONUS!!

I then headed to the salon, to blow dry my hair. Michele was so gentle and super quick, she finished my hair in less than 20 minutes, and it looked great. The Mani-Pedi station is next to the hair area, for now, but starting next month though the whole hair station will be moved to a new extension of the salon- that is currently ready and just being decorated- to fit the high demands of the salon. Also the owner –Miss Fatima- explained that because her main aim is to offer the clients the fabulous experience they deserve when they come to her Salon, she wants the treatment rooms to be as far away from the hair station as possible, so that there is absolutely no trace of disturbance in the air, hence the new extension of the salon was created.

There is also a whole section for men, that includes Mani-Pedi stations, Treatment rooms (massages and facials), and a hair section. Couples can book adjacent rooms that can be opened during the treatment so that they both enjoy the experience together.

For women into fashion, you can also find a wide range of stylish, colorful and very beautiful Moroccan dresses (Kaftans), designed by Miss Fatima herself and made specially in Morocco for her clients.

My experience was exactly what I have hoped for, exactly what every woman deserves. The service is fabulous, the owner herself takes care of the salon, so she makes sure everything is up to standard, which I admire greatly.

The Spa has been open since the beginning of 2013, at the lagoon-Amwaj, (Gate 7&8, First Floor).

For appointments you can call them: 16030888

Follow them: @argandayspa

 

Ouiam

 

“Hello! Come in!”

 

 

Last week, I ordered something from a home owned business. Few days later it was ready and my son and I passed by to collect it. We rang the bell and the person whom we ordered the piece from opened the door, and we were told to wait at the door step, to collect our order. To me there was nothing alarming about this, nor did I even think twice about the whole “waiting at the doorstep thing”, but my 3 years old little boy did. He immediately asked me: “Mama, why we weren’t invited to go inside”. I must admit that I had no answer to that, I mean people are free to invite whoever they like and this isn’t even someone we know, but nothing came out of my mouth, all I could think of is how my 3 years old little angel knows that doors should always be opened for guests, and guests should always come in. This must have been something he has learned in our home. He must have seen that we always invite anyone and everyone to our home!! Wooooha! My husband and I must have been doing it RIGHT! At that moment I couldn’t be happier or prouder of my son and myself too!

 

Being kind is something I always focus on, in our day to day life, with my son. Because to me, being kind is more important than how you look, how much money you make, what’s your race, religion or color! Being kind is what I pray my son will be known for. So I work hard on that, each and every day to instill this incredible quality in his soul.

When he asked me why we were not invited to come in, he was seriously confused, as if it was the most natural and common thing to do, whenever you open your door, and that’s what melted my heart then and every single minute after! The innocence with which he asked was absolutely precious, something that I sure miss in our world nowadays. We were all born innocent as my little man is now, yet somehow along the years, the experiences that shaped who we have become, the people with whom we crossed paths, the scars that our destiny made us carry, and the voice inside of us that fades with every passing day, all this and more made us become the people who can’t trust and who are sometimes unkind today.

I still have no answer for my little one, but I have loved his question more than I have cared to find the answer, his question made me realize that some things as simple as saying “Come in please” meant so much more that what they really are, it made me realize that I want to see the world through the eyes of a child, always and forever.

 

May he always open his door to everyone and anyone, may he keep trusting people even if they are unkind to him, may his eyes, soul, and heart stay forever young.

 

 

Ouiam

One Brilliant Place For Some Exquisite Food!

 

When you live in an island packed with restaurants, cafes, and eateries, and you are someone like me, you end up going to the same places over and over again, just because you want to avoid the dilemma that comes with too many choices. About 6 months ago, a friend of mine mentioned a new place called “Areesh” that just opened in the lagoon, Amwaj, with middle eastern cuisine, and she wanted to try it. So of course we headed there, not sure what to expect, first: Because the place just opened, and I have been disappointed way too many times with new businesses, either because their staff aren’t trained enough, or not familiar with the menu quite yet, then because I am not a big fan of middle eastern food, so I wasn’t really keen to go but … Why not…?!

 

The minute we entered, I found myself contemplating the décor, such a fantastic combination between chic and simple, with a touch of Fairooz and Jobran Khalil Jobran (Famous Arab artists from the glorious old time) in the background. The choice of colors gave it a modern look, yet the use of Arabic little details like the chairs, the tables, and the old tea pots gave it an authentic taste; but hey…. this lovely décor wasn’t going to fill my growing appetite. It was breakfast time, so we ordered some falafel, Halloumi cheese and hummus, with some tea and coffee. The food came in about 5 minutes, and it was absolutely delicious. The staff were so warm and welcoming. We really enjoyed our experience and since then we became great, loyal customers. So few weeks ago when this same restaurant contacted me to connect with the “Amwaj mamas”, I was beyond thrilled. Not only the restaurant had delightful food, but also a fabulous marketing strategy! They invited ALL the Amwaj mamas to a fantastic breakfast, to introduce them to this splendid corner, where authenticity and modernity go hand in hand.

 

I must say, even though I knew how good their food was, and how nice and warm their staff were, inviting 25 mamas along with their little ones is no joke. Moms with babies (and toddlers) have many needs, and when there are 25 of them, things can very much turn into a chaos!

Once we went in, I was pleasantly surprised with how beautiful the tables looked, the staff took extra care arranging the chairs and tables to make it easier for the moms to come in with their huge bags and bulky strollers. The kids immediately hijacked the place, and you know what toddlers do best? SCREAM!! Of course with 25 of them it was crazy, BUT the staff were so gentle and nice to them, they tolerated the noise, the banging, the loud chitchats between the moms- because the louder our kids get, the louder we must get- the crying, the shouting and screaming, I must say even I was surprised!

We each ordered our drinks: coffees, teas, and juices, which all came in beautiful cups and glasses. Then a cascade of middle eastern food flooded our big table. It was never ending yummy food! Everything,…. you name it: Hummus, Baba Ghanouj, Fatayer, Falafel, Liver, Omelets, and Cheese. Everything was fresh and mouthwatering! Moms and kids enjoyed every single bite! The little ones also enjoyed the colorful balloons they were offered by the very thoughtful staff!

 

What caught my attention even more than the delicious food, was how attentive the owner was! He -himself- kept on checking if every mama was comfortable, and had that highchair she needed, or the coffee she ordered, or the extra chair she wanted. He was calling the waiters to fill them in with who wanted/needed what, and I thought this great attention to details was really exceptional!

All moms were astonished with the kindness and the generosity of the owners of Areesh restaurant, they were also amazed with how good the food was, and how nice and welcoming the staff were. It is definitely one of the best breakfasts Amwaj mamas were ever invited to! So a really huge Thank you to Areesh Restaurant, for your kindness, generosity and attention to details.

 

Areesh Restaurant is THE place for Authentic middle eastern/Arabic food. It is located at Amwaj Lagoon, entrance 6A (parking 5&6). It is open from 9:15am till midnight and they deliver too! So make sure you try it for yourself NOW!!!

Ramadan Special: Open for delivery, daily from 12pm-2am.

Areesh restaurant also have an app that you can use to place your order, and enjoy a 7% discount on all deliveries.

 

 

 

Ouiam

A Chunk Of Goodness: with Chanelmama

Question: What makes a mama happy?

Answer: A MASSAGE!!!

 

No kidding! What a massage can do to a mama is pure magic, it’s unreal! Picture this with me : One whole hour, with no “Mama, I want this”, “Mama I need that”, “Mama, Do this for me”, “Mama, Get that for me “! An hour of tackling all those sore muscles from all the standing up we do! A full hour of relaxation and wellbeing.

 

Few days ago, every inch in my body was yearning for a deep tissue massage! I could hear the muscles in my legs screaming and threatening to go on a strike! So I did what every responsible human being would do and I booked for a full hour of goodness, aka A MASSAGE!

 

Long time ago, I came across an Instagram account, of a place called “Mommy Wellness Day Spa”. I must confess the name was very intriguing, because first HELLO!!! I am a mom, then my wellness is ALWAYS very important to me; So I promised myself to go and discover how much wellness was this place ready to offer me. Fast forward, a year later (Yes it took me this long!), I finally made that call and was ready to be transported to heaven for one whole hour.

 

The place is located in Seef district, at the Courtyard Building, surrounded with restaurants, and cafes, so the perfect place to spend a whole afternoon!

 

With its shabby chic décor, the spa instantly puts you in the right mood for some very well-deserved pampering. The light green in the walls fills you with serenity, and prepares you for the magic that will happen behind the closed doors.

Oh! and did I mention that they have a small area for kids? So you can actually bring your little one with you, and someone will take care of them while you are having a fabulous time.

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Before we started our session, the masseuse (for the life of me I can’t remember her name), put some oils under my nose and asked me to breath 3 times, she did this multiple times during the session and I must confess: I loved it! There is something about smelling essential oils that is just comforting! She then started the massage, from my arms, which is very unusual, they always start with the legs, but I have to say that she targeted areas that I never even knew they existed, with different twists and different angles, and it was just AMAZING!!!! Usually whenever I get a massage, and the masseuse reaches for my shoulders, I always wince from the pain, but GUESS WHAT!! Not this time! I believe the new angles were super beneficial to tackle those knots gently, and effectively. Then she moved to my legs, and did the same thing!  It was amazing! She massaged every single inch of my body so differently yet with the very best results!

 

I felt that I have hit the jackpot when she went to massage my head, aaaaaaaaaand – wait for it…..- She washed her hands from all those oils before she touched my hair! Can you believe it? I don’t know about you, but every time I went for a massage, I always came out with greasy and oily hair, because while they do a great job massaging the scalp, all the oils from their hands find refuge in MY hair, and I hate it! So this time I was just over the moon when she actually massaged my hair with clean hands! Awesome!!!!

 

Honestly the price was super reasonable, much cheaper than the other places I have been to, and with much better service ( I mean the massage was just INCREDIBLE!)

 

 

The only couple of things that bothered me were:

 

  • While massaging me the masseuse left me for about minute, she didn’t tell me where she was going or even that she was going, then she came back with cold hands, Aghhhhhhhh!
  • The spa has a hair salon too, and it’s close to the rooms where they do the massages, so it is a bit noisy.

 

In general, my trip was a total success and I loved every second of my massage! I am definitely going back again very soon!

 

Ouiam