From My Heart to Yours!

 

I met you almost 8 years ago, in an airport, where we both took the same flight, to the same destination, where you were going to meet my family. You had a big smile on your face, one that only you have: big, bright, and beautiful. You greeted me with a firm, yet very gentle handshake. We started talking about random things: the flight we were about to take, the weather, the airport…etc. As we boarded the flight, our conversation got deeper and deeper. We talked about religion, childhood memories, life, work, and tons of other things, and that’s when I knew that I have made the best decision ever. The whole 12 hours journey we took together passed in the blink of an eye. I felt comfortable and at ease with you. I wanted to tell you all the stories I had and you listened with interest, you asked questions, you wanted to know more, you always do, because you are a true gentleman .

 

The look in your eyes was so soft, loving and just one that makes everyone around you feel happy and special. This look is always there, even now, almost 8 years later. Every time I see you, you still greet me with this exceptionally wonderful look, you also hug me, kiss me on the cheeks, and on the forehead, every single time. This is how we do it: A hug, a kiss on each cheek , one on the forehead, and I just love it so much.

 

Since day one, I felt like I could always rely on you, I felt you were a friend, a father, and great big brother.  I felt that you were my home away from home, and that your heart was one of gold. I knew how lucky I was to be in your life.

 

I was blessed with your presence in the last 8 years, and you have offered me all the love, guidance, and support I needed and wanted. You were there in every up and down I have faced, you offered advice and you loved me no matter what.

 

I always look forward to our late night chitchat sessions, with coffee, nuts, and tons of funny stories from you. You take story telling to a whole new level and boy do we all love you for that!

 

My child sees you as his hero, and it melts my heart every time. He always keeps the best hugs and kisses for you, and only you. He will run to you for a “bear hug” –as you guys call it- every single time he sees you, even if it was the 50th time that day. I am not only blessed because you are in my life, for me and with me in every step of the way, but also because you are there for the person I love more than anything in this world: my son.

 

No I am not talking about my husband, I am talking about his Dad, my father-in-law, and my son’s grandfather. The light of Al-Amri family, the one we always pray God to keep bright and shining forever.

 

This is for you to tell you that the value you add to our lives is unmeasurable, and that the love we have for you is unconditional, sweet and incomparable. May you always stay blessed, healthy and happy.

 

From your daughter in law, with so much love.

 

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Ouiam

 

A Tribute To My Master.

Today marks the closure of a great chapter in my life. Someone very dear and close to my heart, left Bahrain today.  A mentor, a Chinese Martial Art Master (even though she doesn’t like to be referred to as such), a mother, a friend, and a role model. Shao Nian Bates, her Chinese name means: “Youngster”, and in the Chinese culture the name is strongly linked to being a traveler to all 4 corners of the world. A name that she carries well, since she has been to all 4 corners of the world, physically and metaphorically.

 

I have known Shao after I moved to Bahrain and since then her presence in my life has been vital. I saw her every morning at 6am, we trained together, we drank tea together, we told each other stories, we ate together, we watched people joining the studio and witnessed them leave, and today I, here alone, am witnessing HER departure.

Every time I was sick, she would rush to her kitchen, prepare some kind of herbal tea, warn me of how sour and undrinkable it is, then hands it to me, while telling me all about the benefits of the herbs in it. Every time I told her things that were bothering me, she would tell me a story similar to mine, and give me, unintentionally, an example to follow. Every time I wanted to learn a new form she would tell me that I didn’t need to, and that I have learned enough, yet she would cave in, and teach me some more. Some mornings she would tell me that I looked beautiful in whichever color I was wearing, some other days she would say: “Hmm those colors don’t look good together”, yes she was brutal like this, she would never say something unless she means it 100%. The first day I met her she almost sounded rude to me, but the force led me to go again and again and again, and every time I sat with her, and learned about her, I loved her even more. Then she gave me a book she wrote about her life, and that was the turning point in our relationship! A woman who served in General Mao’s camps, who found her way into learning a new language and even writing in that new language, she did the unthinkable and left China, she faced life’s hardships in bulks, not one or two, like me and you, but way more than what one can handle in a lifetime. She built houses and businesses, she traveled around the world, met many many interesting people. She experienced the other side of the pink rosy world, she lost money, friends, family, and survived it all quietly and humbly.

When I met her I was 21 years old, a little girl, who knew nothing about life. I looked at her with wide eyes and a dropped jaw every time she told a story. To me she was the most interesting person I have met in my whole life, 10 years later, she still is! Now I wonder whether the universe has sent her my way to teach and guide me in a time when I knew nothing, and now that I have seen, lived and experienced a little more, it was time for her to leave. Now that I have matured enough to be able to live on my own, it was time for her to move, and probably go nurture another soul somewhere else.

 

What always impresses me in this magnificent woman, is that even though she is 70 years old, not a minute goes by where she isn’t learning a new thing. Her moto in life is: “if they can do it, I too can do it”. She lived and still lives her life to the fullest, she doesn’t waste a minute worrying about life, or entertaining any negative energy, or simply doing nothing.

We went to many breakfasts, lunches and dinners, we laughed and cried, we talked freely and openly about anything and everything. She was my companion, more than she was my teacher. We celebrated birthdays, Eids, house-warming parties, Ramadans, and many more events together. We also shared a passion together, which is taking pictures! Boy did we take pictures! She is the kind of person, to whom you can tell your deepest, darkest secret to, and she would just sit there looking, listening and simply fully present. She took care of everyone, she knew what everyone liked and what they didn’t like, she was a mother to all!

 

We both shared the same Chinese horoscope: Tiger, and we were very similar in so many ways. We are both fierce, stubborn, faithful, and honest. We both loved tea and drank tons of it. We both loved reading. So some mornings, instead of training, we would just sit, drink tea, and talk about books.

 

We both experienced life’s ups and downs together, we both made mistakes together, we both saw how life can unfold. She knew me as a little girl, and now she is leaving a strong, woman behind, a wife, and a mother.

 

In the 31 years that I have lived, I have been blessed with many motherly figures in my life, beside my wonderful mama. I have shared and connected with many older women, and learned so much from them. I always became friends with my friends’ mothers, and that’s because I have an old soul, yet somehow they all seem to vanish and disappear at some point of my life. Somehow it is as if they are on a mission, and once the mission is done, they leave. I have said way too many goodbyes in my life, and somehow I got so used to the idea that all the people I meet come into my life for a purpose, and once it’s done, they will leave. Seeing friends leave is always sad, and even though I truly believe that the universe always has a plan for you, yet this time, it’s a bit harder and a little more life changing. I am not only saying goodbye to a friend, I am closing a whole chapter in my life, and getting ready to open a new one.

 

So to Shao: You are taking a piece of my soul with you, I know that we will meet again, if it is not in this life, then in the next one. I will not promise to send you emails and pictures, updating you with what’s new every once in a while, simply because I know that won’t happen, yet I promise you that in my heart you will always have a beautiful, and very special place.

From Ouiam with Love…..

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

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

 

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

 

 

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

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