Birthday Thoughts….


There are things you learn only when you are thirty. Because thirty is the bridge between both worlds: The naivety of the twenties, and how we think we know it all, and the wisdom of the thirties and how each day is a learning experience. Because you are mature enough, wise enough, and most importantly OLD enough to be trusted with some of life’s major secretes.

In few more days, I will be celebrating my 31st birthday and Gosh how I love birthdays! I just love growing and figuring out what life has in store for me. Being thirty was incredibly amazing. It has been filled with so much personal growth, and even though life has gifted me with some hardships, I am still very proud of myself and of how amazing being thirty was.

Being thirty taught me so many new and amazing things. The most important of all is not to be afraid of rejection. I learnt that if someone said “NO” to me, I shouldn’t take it as a setback or a failure, instead, I should look at it as a new source of motivation. Hearing “NO” now is like music to my ears, it makes me step out of my comfort zone, and feel the rush of adrenaline through every inch of my body. The word “NO” now is more of an invitation than it is a rejection. Learning how to accept “NO” and move on was just the beginning of a long delightful story of me getting out of my comfort zone at every step of the way. Being thirty freed me, it liberated me from so many invisible ropes that were tying me down. Now every single day, I look for new challenges. Challenges that will keep me on my toes, that will make my body and mind work hard. In a way it also prepares me for when life strikes, and shows me its other face, the ugly one. It made me a warrior, who wouldn’t fear walking through her path with open arms. Being thirty wasn’t all roses and rainbows. It was full of surprises, good ones, and not so good ones, but still, I have to say, it was my very favorite year ever!

It also taught me how to SAY No! how many times have I found myself cornered in a situation that I hated to be in, but I said YES anyways because I felt forced to, because it wasn’t nice to say NO, because I wanted to please everyone around me. So being thirty taught me that that was plain craziness! The only people I should be struggling to please are:  Myself and my family. “No” has become such a joyful word, instead of it being a source of shame and embarrassment. I say No to things that won’t work for me, I no longer do things that I don’t want to do…. And I am loving it!

Being thirty also taught me a lot about being vulnerable, and how asking for help is our fundamental right and not some kind of cliché that wasn’t for me. I learned that some things in life are only done by asking for help. I learnt that sometimes by asking for help you might also be helping others, and by opening the door you are not only setting yourself free, but freeing other people too.

I learnt this past year the true meaning of friendship. Yes, it took me thirty whole years to figure that out. I have said goodbye to some of my very dear friends, yet we promised each other that we wouldn’t comply with the rule:” Out of of sight, out of mind”. We promised each other that friendship is for life and we kept our words. I feel so thankful and grateful that God made some incredible people cross my path, and linked us forever.

I also finally learnt how to use the GPS!!!!! YES< I DID IT! I never ever thought I am capable of following those very unclear instructions, yet being thirty taught me that I am very much capable of just that! In the last year I have been to places I have never ever been to, in the last 11 years I have been living in Bahrain. I really see this as an “out of this world” accomplishment and I am so very proud of myself!

Being thirty, taught me to only surround myself with people who are going to add value to my life. Whom their presence is going to enlighten me and enrich my life in every aspect, and stay away from negative people, no matter how hard that can be, I just learnt to set rules and boundaries and it worked like a charm!

I learnt to appreciate humor and not to take life too seriously! Face a hardship with a chuckle because you might as well make fun of your miseries, instead of drowning yourself in sorrow.

I also learnt that no matter how painful life can be, no matter how much your heart aches, and your eyes tear, you will eventually smile, because God has gifted us with the epitome of mercy and blessings: The act of forgetting! We forget everything with time and we smile again with a happy heart.

Being thirty was beyond amazing, and I am beyond excited to see what’s in for me next year. What will being 31 teach me, what will life gift me with next year?

Thank you from the bottom of my heart for sticking around throughout me being thirty, and for being the best companions in my journey. So much love, positive energy and birthday horns, hats and cheers your way!!

Ouiam

Organ Donation (After Death) In Bahrain

This post is not to talk about whether organ donation (After death) is right/wrong/ legitimate/ legal/ moral or not. This is for those who have already made their decisions and chose to save lives and change the world even after their last breaths.

 

 

 

Someone very close to me was once in need of a kidney. He did dialysis 3 times a week for 3 hours each time. It took lots of time, energy and efforts to stay alive. While we all take our bodies and organs for granted, he needed a kidney to stay alive. Luckily his beloved daughter was a match, and happily donated her kidney to her father, a great man whom I admire and adore greatly.

 

 

Everyday, I wake up with one thought in my mind: “How can I make this community, city, country, continent, world, we live in better?” Me, one single soul against chaotic waves and strong winds. How can I participate and make a change? Some days that will be summarized in feeding a 3 years old, and keeping him alive, other days it will be inspiring/ helping/ supporting other souls around me. Few days ago, I achieved something far more important: I registered myself as a proud organ donor at Salmaniya Medical Complex. How? Why? …. Let me tell you my story:

 

During the last 3 years of my life, I must say that my priorities, my perspective of life, and my goals have shifted a 180 degrees, and I credit that to being a mother. Through the social work I do, I met so many wonderful souls, some of them were dying children whom needed kidneys and livers to be able to survive and blow their 4th, or 5th birthday candles. Believe me, it hurts! As a mother my heart aches every time I see a sick child, and I can’t help. Every time I know they have been admitted and might leave the hospital as forever angels.

Knowing that there is nothing I can do was unbearable, so I had to think hard and brainstorm until I found the one thing I CAN do and will have a great impact on many many souls around me. Register as an organ donor! So I had to pick up the phone and discuss my next move with the person that deserves to be part of this decision the most: My mother. For two reasons:

 

1- Obviously she is the one who brought me to this world and worked very hard to shape the person whom I have become today.

 

2- Because she is the person to go to for any religion questions/matters/ confusion. With an exceptional knowledge my mother is considered the “Female scholar” in the Islamic Centre in my home town, and I trust her blindly when it comes to religion. I needed to know that what I am about to do doesn’t conflict with my beliefs. I must admit, it was an ongoing conversation for a while, then she said it: “YES! Go ahead and God Bless you”. I must confess I don’t know what I’ll say to my son if he ever comes to me asking the same thing I asked my mother, but she is a brave, wise, and smart woman and I knew she would do/ say the right thing.

 

Then I headed to Salmaniya Medical Complex, gate number 6, Kidney Dialysis center and asked for nurse “Huda”.

 

All you will need:

1- Your Cpr

2- To be 21 years old and  above

3- Two witnesses (preferably family members)

 

Hours: Sunday To Thursday 8:30am-3pm

 

This is their contact number: 17284938

 

You will be asked to fill a form, sign and you will get your donor card to be kept with you at all times.

 

The feeling I got after doing this was pure joy, I finally can serve humanity the way I always wanted to. I know now that no matter what happens, I will be saving someone’s life, and MAN…. That’s enough for me to live the rest of my life free and in peace with myself.

 

Ouiam

 

 

Do You Love Yourself Enough?

How many times have you skipped lunch/ dinner, because you are too busy or too tired to eat? How many times have you deprived yourself from something you really wanted, because of your child? How many times have you pressed the pause button in your life, in order to be a good mother?How many times have smuggled food into the bathroom, so you can eat peacefully? How many times have you left the house with no make up or perfume on, because instead, you chose to wipe butts and have long conversations with tiny horrible bosses. How many times have you cried alone in the middle of the night because your kid just wouldn’t sleep?  I personally have done so much of the above and I am sure you have too.  Someone once described motherhood to me like the oxygen masks in airplanes. Always in the safety demonstration they say that you should put on your OWN mask first, then put your child’s, because if you are not alive you will not be able to save your child; and I couldn’t agree more.   

 

In order to put that mask tightly, you need to know yourself well. You need to speak to yourself with love and love only, you need to value yourself even if no one else does, you need to respect and cherish who you are. To love yourself doesn’t mean to be self-absorbed or narcissistic, it just means that you treat yourself like you want to be treated, that you don’t doubt yourself. It means to forget about any form of self-loathing, and to be able to put yourself as a priority in your own life and not always on the bottom of the list.

 

To love yourself is to know what makes you happy and go for it, be it an hour alone, or a cup of tea with friends, or a relaxing bath. To love yourself is to take care of yourself, exercise, eat healthy, be creative, laugh, and make sure you are living and not just being. You need to know how to satisfy your own needs before you tend to anyone else’s.  At times this might sound like a luxury that you can’t afford, and that’s when you need to practice your fundamental right in this life! ASK FOR HELP! I learnt in the last couple of years that some people are always there for you and are ready to help you whenever you need help. I also learnt that if someone says NO to you, it is not the end of the world, that is probably just the beginning of the journey, and that the amount of NOs that you will hear in your life does not and will not define who you are. So yes honor and respect yourself, don’t wait for anyone else to do it for you! Don’t be the first one to wake up and the last one to sleep EVERYDAY, don’t cancel your plans because the house is messy and needs to be cleaned, don’t allow anyone to treat you as a possession or take you for granted. Love yourself when you wake up in the morning and when you see yourself in the mirror. Love yourself when you allow yourself to breath no matter how hectic the day gets. Just remember:  To survive, you need to put YOUR oxygen mask on first!

 

Ouiam

Happy Reading: Hello Spring

 

Hello everyone! Ready for some good reads? Here is my list for this spring: 

 

The Spy by Paulo Coelho: I was waiting eagerly for this book to come out, however, once it was out I was a little worried that I won’t like it, and therefore end a long love story between me and one of my very favorite authors, so I waited. Last week I finally came to an end with my dilemma and decided to purchase the book. The book is about Mata Hari a very brave woman who fled sexual abuse and rape by a school headmaster, by marrying a man and moving with him to Indonesia, only to discover that she went from the frying pan to the fire. The first thought that came to my mind after starting this book was that Mata Hari really deserves better than what she has been getting in the library department. This great woman was nothing like she is described! She was not a libertine as Paulo presented her, nor a free-love free-spirit. She was more than that. Nothing came easy to her as Paulo states!  But the question is: Is she a spy or not?

While Coelho stayed true to his style, in my opinion he failed to bring the real picture of the real interesting and brave Margaretha Zelle MacLeod.

 

Difficult women by Roxane Gay: It is a collection of stories that will strike you with their force and beauty. Each one of them is very real, strong and inspiring. Different lives, different faiths, different stories, yet they are all WOMEN! Roxan is phenomenally talented and I most definitely recommend this book.

 

 

How to Eat by Thich Nhat hanh: A little book with lots of information. It brings food and the act of eating to a whole different dimension. A Zen perspective of how to look at food. Definitely worth reading.

 

Ego is The Enemy Ryan Holiday: Ego is definitely the enemy because when you think you know everything; you can never learn. The book is a start to arm yourself for the battle against ego. The book is more of a pep talk the author is giving himself in the mirror, but it still remains a good book.

 

 

 

After I Do by Taylor Jenkins Reid: I came across this book somewhere online, and was intrigued by the title, so I decided to read it. I finished the book in 2 days! I just couldn’t put it down! While it is just a novel, you have no idea how real and true it is. It talks about marriage as it is, not as romantic movies and novels approach it. The life each one builds with their partners, and how life always gets in the way. The things we all do at least once in a lifetime. The things we end up doing after being in a marriage for years and years. Love it!

 

One True Loves by Taylor Jenkins Reid: Of course after reading “After I do”, I had to look up all the books written by Taylor Jenkins Reid. I also finished this one in two days! While the storyline is very unoriginal, the author has her way in gifting you with a great book. The kind of novel that make your heart floats on a cloud and give your soul all the feels. A perfect read.

 

Maybe In Another Life by Taylor Jenkins Reid: A very interesting story, one where we see the choices made by a young woman, unfold in two different scenarios. After three novels by the same author, still loving her style and the way she makes me unable to put the book down!

 

Forever uninterrupted Taylor Jenkins Reid: The fourth and last book by this author I promise. An emotional and well written book. The story though was not what I have hoped for. A love story that ends with a tragedy, and shows us what life can be after a big loss.

 

Ouiam

Bahrain Through The Eyes of a Mama! 

I have been meaning to write this post for the last two years but I guess as they say “when the time is right” …!!

So as everyone know I am a mom who lives in Bahrain. Some might not know that I also run the group “Amwaj Mamas”. A group of moms and for moms, where I organize fun, educational, and enjoyable meet-ups for moms and their toddlers. I started it about 3 years ago, shortly after Adam was born, with the help of my amazing friend Maria, whom I love dearly. Through this group, Adam and I have explored this beautiful island we live in, and enjoyed some of the most wonderful places that we didn’t even know they existed before! So today I decided to write a whole post and share the love!

I must add that none of the venues I am talking about today have paid me or asked me for my review, this is simply my experience and I would like to share it.

  1. Twinkle Twinkle Centre: I came across this great place through social media, I have reached out and the owner/manager was incredibly kind and helpful. Since then “Amwaj mamas” have paid this place several visits, and until now we have never been disappointed. It is an activity center, where kids can play and have fun, it also has a great lounge/ café area, for moms to chill and have a great cup of coffee (or a milkshake yuuum!), while the kids are having some great fun. Tel: 17700412
  1. Ready Get set Cook: The first cooking studio in the island and I believe the only one. The staff are so helpful and warm, always welcoming us and our children with a wide smile, which makes us feel at home. The concept is to let the kids experiment and cook easy and delicious goodies. It is located in Sar Mall, Open from 10am-1pm and 3pm-8pm. Tell: 17000260
  1. Salon 5 Amwaj: While I realize this isn’t a place for children, I am absolutely sure every mama deserves some pampering. The staff are absolutely wonderful! I have taken my son with me so many times, and he actually loves it there. You can’t always have the luxury of few hours by yourself when you are a mama, so in this place you can have that, while having your little one with you. Salon Five is located in Amwaj, by Costa coffee.
  1. Messy Tots: A studio where the little ones can unleash their creativity and imagination. Ashley, who runs the studio (aka her house’s backyard), is very attentive and always making sure the kids and their moms are having a great time. You can Text Ashley on 32130715, or have a look at their Facebook page “Messy Tots Bahrain” . The session is 1 hour and it is 5bd.
  1. Pizza Express: This is the ultimate spot for a Friday lunch, where parents can enjoy a wonderful Italian meal and the kids can enjoy the experience of being little chefs. Kids can make their own pizzas, they also get their little juice box and a choice of ice cream or cake at the end. Pizza express is located at the Lagoon- Amwaj, next to Starbucks.
  1. Inspire Bahrain: We have been going to the toddlers’ drum classes for the past few months. Lydia, the instructor, is phenomenal! She always manages to get the kids’ attention (even though we are really talking about toddlers who are all over the place most of the time” Tel: 39047734
  1. Ya Salam (In Budayaa):  I first heard of this restaurant because of the bad reviews it had for their food, then one of the moms suggested to meet there one day with the kids. “The play area is amazing!!!” that was her reply when I told her about the bad reviews, so of course, off we went. There is a very cool play area and moms/dads can actually sit and enjoy their meals RIGHT THERE, while the kids played. It was absolutely amazing! The first time we stayed about 5 hours because Adam was having so much fun, and of course the moms were enjoying their time too, because for the first time they were having conversations that didn’t have to end abruptly because of the kids. The food was surprisingly delicious, I always have the Falafel sandwich and it’s the best I have ever had.
  1. Birds Kingdom: I am a huge fan of this place! First of all because it is in Amwaj, so very close by, and we can pass by anytime. The play area is fantastic, Adam loves it, and the managers are so kind and attentive, they are also parents so they really tend to the needs of the moms, dads, and kids. It is located in Amwaj by Al Osra supermarket.
  1. Jones The Grocer: A fabulous place to enjoy breakfast, lunch, or dinner, with your little ones. The staff are absolutely amazing, so nice to the kids, and will make sure to make your dinning experience great! They have a “mommy and me Monday” where they have special offers, they will also give you a 10% discount if you mention that you are a member of “Amwaj Mamas”.
  1. CHAOSS: Adam and I really love this place! We both enjoy it so much. They hold Gymnastics classes for toddlers, every Tuesday and Thursday, from 10-11:30am, and it’s 3bd. Tell:17592096
  1. Sports Training Complex: We first went for the football classes they were offering for toddlers, but then realized that they have tons of other classes even for moms. Tell: 77060777
  1. Magy French Tutor: A French class offered by Magy, a French teacher with years and years of experience. The first time I went with Adam, she told me that Adam will have to go in by himself and that parents are welcome to stay in the waiting area; after hearing this I was a little anxious as Adam has NEVER left my side, but I wanted to give it a try. She approached Adam gently yet with confidence, introduced herself and asked him to join her, which he happily did and I was left outside in awe lol. I really like the way she teaches, she respects the kids’ wishes, and doesn’t force them to do anything. Adam loves it too. For info you can Whatsapp:33330676
  1. Peekaboo Kids: Since I gave birth I was always in the lookout for stores with quality items for kids: Clothing, swaddles, toys…etc. Then I met the wonderful Georgia, the woman behind Peekaboo Kids, an amazing mother who totally understands the needs of moms and kids. They are located in Saar mall, and if you mention that you are a member of “Amwaj Mamas” you get 15% off your purchase.

I will be making another post like this one very soon because…. well let’s face it, the amount of the awesome places with the incredibly warm and welcoming staff, can’t just fit in one post.

Ouiam

A World With No “Men’s International Day”…!

 

A couple of days ago was the Women’s International Day, when the whole nation celebrates women, something well deserved and definitely worth it. Women are the beautiful faces of this earth with tender hearts, yet strong enough to endure the many miseries they encounter in their lifetime.

 

I couldn’t be prouder of being a woman. I look at my mother and all the women in my life with admiration and respect for all the wonderful things they did and keep doing. One day is absolutely not enough to honor and celebrate them, but at least, and for once the whole world is united in doing one thing: Honouring Women!

 

This year though something felt different. The whole day I kept on thinking about the absence of “Men’s day” and how that might impact the world decades from now. What happened? And please spare me the following: “Everyday is Men’s day”, because that is not true! I know your blood is probably boiling already, but please just bare with me.

 

I grew up with my dad telling me everyday that I could accomplish anything I wanted, that I could rule the world if I wanted to, and how I was better than 100 men all together. I grew up empowered by my family and all my environment because they all thought that girls needed the extra attention, that kick and push, so they can realise that they are as strong as the boys. They believed in me and in the other girls around me, they believed that we could do anything we wanted. They emphasized that we are capable of doing anything because they knew the generations before have worked hard to instill just the opposite in people’s minds. They were changing the norms so they needed to work even harder. They did it… They raised ambitious, strong, free women, and I am proud to be one of them! I can’t help myself though but think of men in this equation. Is there anyone now to tell them that they are strong, ambitious, smart …etc???  Is there a day to love and appreciate all the great things they do? They don’t need that you say? Well one day long time ago someone decided that women did not need that and look what has happened! hundreds of years of oppression, abuse, and  many many women who lived voiceless! Don’t judge me…. but I have a SON, and it worries me how this world will treat men, in 10-20-30 years from now? We were given the extra push because they knew we will need it, but now the men are kind of left out, do you know what I mean? No one even thinks that we need to empower them too, and that is the problem, I think!

 

Don’t get me wrong, myself, I am a feminist, and I love, admire and cherish all women in this planet, and I think they need all the empowerment, love, and respect because they deserve it, but I am also a mother to a kind, thoughtful and loving boy, who will grow up to be a man one day, a man who will respect and admire all women, because it’s my mission to teach him that. But I still worry about him living in a world that has no special day for men.

 

I might be delusional, but I hope I am not alone in this. I hope there are mothers of boys out there who share the same opinion, who worry about their sons too.

 

Ouiam

 

 

TKD and All The Things I Didn’t Know!

Disclaimer: This post is strictly for the attention of the beautiful ladies reading my blog, men are not welcomed in here today… Sorry!!

 

 

So I am 30 years old and I just realized that I am a novice in the art of wearing bras. Yup! And I can assure you, that you are too! Unless you pay TKD (aka The Knickers’ Drawer) a visit!

Until I met Louise from TKD yesterday, I never knew that there are actual rules when it came to bras! This very intimate yet very much needed clothing item is not really treated fairly. Although it comes in different sizes like shoes, I feel the sizes are so confusing that I just go for the smallest size and leave the shop as quickly as possible, and I am pretty sure I am not the only one who does that. Forget about the measuring tape, that’s too old-fashioned, now for the perfect fit, try on that bra instead! Gosh you’ll be surprised!

 

Did you know that most of the support you get from your bra is in the back band? So it really needs to fit firmly. Not more than one finger should be able to fit underneath. It might feel tight, but that’s how you get a maximum support.

Did you also know that the color of your bra changes its size? The dye shrinks the fabric, so darker bras are smaller than the light ones! Who knew??!

Now the straps: They need to be secure but not digging into your skin. Think about it this way, they need to lift you but if you remove them the bra should continue to support you.

 

Strapless bras and the common problems: Either they don’t stay up properly, and you should lift them up every 5 minutes, or the sides stick up, and everyone in the room will figure out what kind of bras you’re wearing. Well forget about that! If yours have a thick band, this will give you more support, and if it’s extra firm around the body then it will stay up properly.

 

Oh and did I mention that you are supposed to hand-wash your bras? The washing mashing twists the underwire.

 

 

TKD has a wide range of bras, all sizes, all colors and all shapes. The Panache Sports, was definitely a winner! I literally could leave the store wearing just that! The maternity selection made me wish I knew of this gorgeous place when I was pregnant! Incredibly comfortable, soft and doesn’t make you look like a grandmother!! They also have a fabulous swimwear collection and with summer just around the corner, a visit to TKD is a must!
The prices you say??!! Well the opposite of what you’ll think when you enter this fancy boutique!! They are very reasonable and inviting 😉 

 

The store staff will arrange for a fitting the minute you enter the boutique, and get you the exact size you actually need. You will leave the store feeling like you grew taller few more inches … lol

Thank you Louise and TKD for the great experience!

 

TKD is located in Al Ali mall, First floor, opposite “One Moment Please”

 

Ouiam