From Morocco To Oman With Love!



My niece arrived few days ago from Morocco, she is visiting us for few weeks. This is her first trip abroad, and to see the excitement on her face each and every time she sees or experiences something new amazes me. This actually reminds me of the first time I traveled from Morocco to Dubai to visit my sister, 16 years ago, and how similar I was then to my niece now, and how I have changed in so many ways and “Demoroccanised” (if that’s even a word) from when I was 14 till now!

 

You see, 7 years ago I married an Omani, and because I fell in love not only with him, but with his beautiful family too, I have embraced their culture, lifestyle, and all the tiny little details that make a person Omani! So now with this fresh dose of Moroccan breeze and goodness, from my niece, it’s simply hilarious (to me) to see that even though both countries are Arab, the differences are HUGE! So I have decided to write a post and include all the funny little things that my old self (aka Moroccan) and my new self (aka the wife of an Omani) do differently, just because my husband and his family are  Omanis.

 

1-      In Morocco Pjs are considered decent and official clothes, you can run to the grocery store, while wearing your Pajamas. I’ve done it many many times, yet now whenever I go back home and see people wandering around in the streets in their Pjs, I still chuckle and find it very funny! Pjs are also the official wear when at home, you would expect everyone to be wearing their pjs in their houses, so if you’re visiting someone, it’s just super normal to be received in Pjs! Now try to picture that happening here (or in Oman lol)

2-       In Morocco, if you travel to visit a family member and you are planning to stay in their home, you still need to take with you your towels, your shampoo, your shower gel, and every single thing you need. It’s just NORMAL. However, Since I got married, I learnt that wherever you go in Oman, friends and family think that it is their responsibility to stock up on these things for you, so no need to take any of that! Now whenever I go to visit, I barely even take any clothes with me lol

3-      FOOD: In Morocco we have 3 official meals, yet it seems like all we do during the day is eat! There is Breakfast, Tea and sweets at around 10am, Lunch, Tea and sweets at 2pm, Coffee at 5pm and Dinner at 9pm, and of course tons of snacking in between lol

4-       We have a place called “Hamam” (Bathroom in English, or as everyone might know it: Moroccan bath!!! It’s like a huge Sauna room, where you are supposed to take a shower and get scrubbed by a “Kiyasa”- A lady who will lay you down on a table, and scrub the hell out of you lol- So no matter how many showers you take a day, you still need to go there once every week to scrub all the dead skin and become “clean” again lol. I guess before I head to Morocco this year for a vacation, a trip to the Hamam is a must lol

5-       Contrarily to what every person in the Gulf region thinks, In Morocco Couscous is NOT similar to rice, we don’t eat couscous everyday! Couscous is just one of the many many dishes we have in the Moroccan cuisine. It is usually prepared every Friday in almost every Moroccan household though.

6-      If you are Moroccan and planning to visit Oman soon, please be aware of the language traps! Even though both are supposedly derived from the classical Arabic, you might want to think again before you say publically the following words: “barefoot” or “spoiled” in the Moroccan dialect, because they mean completely different things, and you don’t even wanna know lol, also when someone in Oman tells you: “Allah Ye3tik Al Afia” ” الله يعطيك العافية”، they are not really asking God to burn you in hell hahahahaha they are just asking Him to bless you with good health 😉 

7-      I don’t know about NOW, but growing up ice cream was ONLY available in summer time, there was no way you’ll see it when it’s cold and snowy outside. while here Adam and I (and pretty much anyone living in this area) can indulge in this luxury any and everyday! In the Gulf, ice cream is treated just like any other life necessity, you’ll always find it in supermarkets all year long .

 

I had a serious fit of laughter while writing this post, I hope it makes you giggle a bit too 😉

 

From a Moroccan married to an Omani, with LOVE!

 

Ouiam

She Did IT, And So Can You!!

 

 

Today’s post is a little different, it is something that I have been planning to do for a while, but life has so many ways of distracting you, I guess….

 

PS: This is NOT  a sponsored post!!!

 

As part of my efforts to support and encourage women who own, operate, and manage their small businesses, I have decided to pick a business each month and introduce the steel woman behind it. This month I have chosen a business that I have personally dealt with. When Adam turned one, it was something that needed to be celebrated! Not only because of the major milestone Adam just achieved, but also because of all what we have accomplished as parents, me and my husband. We felt so proud of all the things we have done the previous year, even though many many times throughout the journey, we were not even sure that we will ever get there. So a big birthday party was called for. Technically I love organising and taking care of all parties we host, but I was already a walking zombie, operating on too much caffeine and very little sleep. My plate was too full to take any more tasks. I came a cross DE PARTY DESIGNS on Facebook (aka google for moms), I contacted Dilu, who has replied promptly, with all the needed details, she also came over to discuss with me how I wanted this party to be like. After explaining to her what I envisaged for my son’s first birthday party,  I just waited anxiously for the final product. The party was a total success, without me going bankrupt, if you are wondering. The fees were very reasonable and totally worth it.


2 years later, I really want to introduce this very motivated, strong and successful woman to every mama reading my blog. To be an example and to also be a reference if you ever need a fabulous party but you have no time or energy to plan it 😉

 

Here is a little chat Dilu and I, had and we would like to share it with you:

Dilu: “I am a mother of 3 beautiful kids who are aged 16, 12 and 9 years. I moved to Bahrain 10 years ago, with my husband’s new job assignment; leaving behind my family and my career which I have been doing for 12 long years. I always believed that family should always stick together, wherever you go or whatever challenges you face in life, so of course I had to follow my husband.

Me: What did you do before Departydesigns?

I used to work in a garment / fabric buying office as a merchandiser and freelance Interior Designer.

How did you start Departydesigns?

After moving to Bahrain I used to work as a freelance Interior Designer, and I started my own page called: D Decor Homes, while writing articles for Interior Design websites like: Look4Design and Amazing Interior Design. With the passion for designing I knew I needed to do something more, something new and not very common in Bahrain. With this idea, I started De Party Designs, and started introducing Candy Table concept, with personalisation, for all the parties, mainly birthday parties, baby showers, bridal showers …etc, going out of the box to create something new every time.

 

 What motivates you to do better every time?

Each and everyday I learn something new from my mistakes, and I want to make it better the next time. The recognition and appreciation towards my work, from people of Bahrain, make me do better and better every time.

 

Was it easy to start a business in Bahrain?

From the beginning I didn’t have any idea of how to start or from where to begin. But as always Bahrain and its people have been amazing to us, and have helped me by providing all the details on how to start up as a home based business, and then make it legalised as another step forward.

 

How do you balance work and family?

I’ve got three amazing independent kids whom have learnt to do most of their work on their own, and always help me to take my work stress out. Also my husband has been immensely helpful in both house-work and my work. He has been the fundamental help, for me to come this far. Even though I am a workaholic, I always make sure we both have plenty of time for our kids, specially towards their education. I also always make sure that I do not go beyond my limits, accepting events due to two reasons, One is : if it interferes with my personal life and my time with my family and kids. Second: I strongly believe whatever I do, I have to do it right and I should not accept many events just for the sake of money. If I can’t have enough time to prepare and deliver something great then there is no way I will commit.

 

What are your plans for the next 5-10 years?

I would love to explore and learn more about different areas and fields of events in Bahrain, as well as in the GCC. At the moment I am looking for more options for expanding my business. At the same time, I love studying about event management in different categories and I will be spending more time on that in the coming years.

 

 What will your advice be for women who would like to start their own business.

I believe if you have a passion for anything you should not hold it back. You need to come out and seek for possibilities of making it work. After living in Bahrain for many years, I have learnt that this is a beautiful country with beautiful people, who are always willing to help and lend you a hand to stand on your own feet. Go out and explore….!!!

 

 

Thank you Dilu for your time and for all the insights and advice!




Facebook: Departydesigns Dpd

Instagram @departydesigns.bh

 

 

 

Ouiam

Amwaj Mamas Meet: Mama Eat Glow

So this is a post where I am going to share with you one of the latest adventures of “Amwaj Mamas”. As part of our activities, the moms and I are always trying all these new places that we come across, and feel like it matches what we have in mind, in terms of fun, education, learning experiences and all the other components of a healthy childhood, that we want to offer our offspring. Recently we have been INVITED to “Mama Eat Glow” at the lagoon Amwaj for a healthy truffle making class, with our little ones. If you are a mother you will surely know how much kids love to cook or AKA “make a mess!!”, we also know that as parents, we are always keen to expose these little nuggets to healthy eating habits, which can be very tricky with the huge amount of processed, junk and rubbish food we come across on daily basis. So of course, 10 of us and our children went to Mama Eat Glow, last Wednesday morning, and had the pleasure to meet the owner and the master-mind behind “Mama Eat Glow”:  Maha, a mama and a woman full of ambition and ideas. Her goal is to spread awareness about how a healthy lifestyle can change your life to the better, and that healthy doesn’t always mean tasteless or flavorless food! It all started with an Instagram picture she posted back in 2012, of a bowl of goodness, and got many likes, that she started considering starting her own business, and to do all she can to raise awareness about healthy food.

 

The place is so bright and overlooking the gorgeous lagoon at Amwaj, I loved the décor, so simple, environmentally friendly, and very stylish! The staff were very welcoming and very attentive to our needs. Maha was such an awesome hostess! Making sure everyone was comfortable and having a great time.

 

Their menu is honestly a delight to look at, filled with all these great yummy options that would work with anyone’s diet. Myself, I am a vegetarian health freak, I like to stick to gluten free products when I can, and that is not always easy nor simple when you dine outside. Their prices are very reasonable too.  My favorite thing on the menu, I must say, is the Falafel Pistachio Sandwich, it is so tasty and light. The falafel are crunchy from the outside, yet soft and juicy from the inside, the beetroot Hummus is so rich in flavor, and the pistachios add a fabulous twist, a combination I would have never thought of trying at home.

 

The kids were very excited to see all the ingredients laid neatly in front of them, with gloves, aprons, hats and all what they might need. After getting the recipe for the delightful Date truffles (which you’ll find below), the kids started making their own, decorating them, and putting them in their own little Tupperware to be taken home with them. The truffles were exquisite, and to know that all you need is a handful of ingredients and a blender is AMAZING!

 

Here is what you will need:

 

Oats

Dates (pitted)

Coconut Oil

Cacao powder.

and a blender.

 

Put everything in a blender and voila!!! If the mixture is too hard add a little bit of water.

 

Every mama and every kid who have made it to the cooking class had a wonderful time, and we really look forward to planning more of these, in the near future, because as parents we are very responsible of what our little munchkins put in their mouths. Making sure that their food is healthy is our job, and if we can combine the “healthy” with the “tasty” then we most certainly have hit the jackpot!!!

 

Mama Eat Glow is located in the lagoon Amwaj, First floor, next to City Bank.

 

Ouiam

 

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