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FEBRUARY 2010

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FEBRUARY 2010


From the Desk FEBRUARY 2010 Vol 7 No 82 Editorial EDITOR-IN-CHIEF Salman Ibrahim Al Balushi CONSULTING EDITOR Priya Nair ASSISTANT EDITOR (CONSULTING) Rekha Baala ASSISTANT EDITOR Rana Alawneh PRINCIPAL CORRESPONDENT Deepa Rajan

COVER DESIGN : raKESH RADHAKRISHNAN Photographer : Rajesh Burman MODEL: Michelle

DESIGN ART DIRECTORS Sandesh S. Rangnekar Minaal G. Pednekar DESIGNERS Aliya Al Waheibi Rashida SENIOR PHOTOGRAPHER Rajesh Burman PHOTOGRAPHER Sathyadas C. Narayanan

PRODUCTION MANAGER Govindraj Ramesh

ADVERTISING & MARKETING GROUP ADVERTISING MANAGER Mimi Deb SENIOR MEDIA EXECUTIVE Fareeda Sulaiman Al Balushi CORPORATE CHIEF EXECUTIVE Sandeep Sehgal EXECUTIVE VICE PRESIDENT Alpana Roy VICE PRESIDENT Ravi Raman SENIOR Business Support Executive Radha Kumar DISTRIBUTION United Media Services LLC

Published by United Press & Publishing LLC A Renaissance Services Company

P.O. Box 3305, Ruwi, Postal Code 112, Muscat, Sultanate of Oman. Tel: 00 968 24700896 Fax: 00 968 24707939 e-mail: almara@umsoman.com All rights reserved. No part of this publication may be reproduced without the express permission of the publishers. Copyright © 2010 United Press & Publishing LLC Printed in the Sultanate of Oman at Oman Printers & Stationers

Pleasures – Simple and Sweet ‘The simple pleasures in life are the sweetest...’ How often have you heard that? Yes, we’re talking about the things those that don’t cost a cent (you get to keep your arm and your leg), but give you an unbeatable rush of happiness and a load of peace of mind! As Shirley Temple sang, “Have you noticed how this old world is changing more than ever/ Now life needs rearranging/ It could be heavenly if we’d all remember this/ The simple things in life are a-round you/ ev-‘rywhere right outside your door/ why keep reaching for the moon?” Well, people, it’s now time to wake up and smell the roses or the coffee, whichever you prefer... and realise that life’s much more than making it big, achieving fame or making tons of money. Make someone smile, watch the sun rise, laugh till you cry or simply thank God for all the blessings in your life! There’s so much life gives without any strings attached. All you need to do is acknowledge it. And that way every new day could mean a new, ‘empowered’ you. You figure that it’s alright if you’re not Superwoman. It’s alright if you falter, fail, are impulsive, sentimental or emotional as you take each day as it comes and take time to learn life’s lessons and learn to love yourself. For that’s what makes life worth living. The month of February reiterates the need to express your love to those you love. Valentine’s Day means different things to different people. It’s not always all about love or romance. Interpret it the way you want to. Make a difference by spending some quality time with your children or volunteer at an organisation. Do what your heart tells you to... and go with the flow. It’s as simple as that! Happy Valentine’s Day, people!


CONTENTS

Season Special — Valentine’s Day

34 Special Valentine’s Day offer for Al Mar’a readers. Log onto www khimjishopping.com

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36 Paris — still the ultimate romantic 15 simple things that getaway!

40 Couples with incredible on-screen chemistry

44 What women want! 45 Presents he will treasure... 46 Get a whiff of love... 47 Give your taste buds a treat... 48 Gifts you can really feel... 49 The latest for him and you... 50 The Whisper Spa at Al Sawadi — a

dose of TLC!

show you how your dose of happiness is right where you want it!

FeatureS Top Drive

Al Mar’a takes the Citroën C6 for a spin.

Contest

39 Simple answers to simple

questions get you a gift hamper from The Body Shop!

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Parenting

58 Simple tips on talking

‘money’ with the young ones.

Superstar

30 This Barbadian diva is the

current international flavour! Rihanna sure is striking the right note the world over!

Workwise Exclusive

Personality

Meet Salma 68 Dealing with your feelings 24 Salim Said Al Jaadi, is an important part of selfimprovement and success says Lamha Sultan Al Habsi, Instructor-British Council’s Springboard Programme.

26 Meet Mallika

Sarabhai the multitalented, multi-faceted, acclaimed Indian artiste.

the first Assistant General Manager at the National Bank of Oman.

Health

Persona

64 A few guidelines to help you

54 Meet an

sleep well.

avant-garde, sought-after jewellery designer — Munira Fleyfel.

Health Plus

67 A Q & A session with Dr

Smita Lulla, Obstetrician & Gynaecologist.

Wellbeing

70 Dr Prema Seshadri says it’s

only love that makes us see how infinite the canvas of life really is...

82

At Home

Fashion

63 Practical ideas for your home and you…

Food In Every Issue

> Your Say > News, Etc. > Books, Movies and More… > Stargazing

Fashion & Beauty

SOLUTIONs

PEOPLE

Cuisine

76 The best of Korean cuisine, in its authentic and tastiest form by MyungSook Choi, wife of H.E. Sung-Hwan Cho, the Ambassador of the Republic of Korea to the Sultanate.

Promod’s Spring Collection pack a load of panache and are just perfect for your Valentine’s Day date!

Al Mar’a Recommends 22 Fish Therapy at Dr Fish. Beauty Zone 74 The beauty booty checklist… Beauty Plus 52 Get the hippest look of the season; get a makeover!

FEBRUARY 2010

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YOUR SAY PRIZE-WINNING LETTERS

Girl Power

Rocking into 2010!

Your article titled ‘The FeelGood Factor’ was truly inspiring. Alya Ahmed Sulieman’s story was inspirational. The fact that she does it all with three kids and a husband is all the more praiseworthy! It’s good to see Omani woman increasingly stepping out of the shadows and taking part in the business world. A change, that I’m sure, magazines like Al’Mara have played a part in bringing about! Good work guys! And oh, I’m so looking forward to seeing what Alya has in store for Oman as a ‘surprise’! Please do cover it when she formally announces her plans. Sana Al Balushi Qurum

I was really looking forward to seeing what you guys had come up with for the New Year’s issue and as expected I was not disappointed. You guys do a great job of making women feel like they can achieve anything they want if they put their minds to it. Your story on the aspirations of women for 2010 was heartwarming! And I also enjoyed the article on how to keep the fun alive in your relationship! As always, it was a great issue! I hope that’s a sign of how prosperous the New Year is going to be for your guys! Thanks and keep it up! Reena Dias Al Khuwair

Hurrah’s All Around

Natural Beauty

Wise Words

Hi guys! I loved your feature on lemons and oranges ‘Hurrah’s for Citrus!’ It was such a fun light article, and the orange splashes of colour on the pages were truly refreshing! I must say your magazine is one of the most well designed in the country! To be honest, I started off the month trying out all your citrusy home remedies, determined to write to you at the end of the month and let you know that none of them worked! But I am forced to eat my words and concede defeat! My hair is dandruff free and my feet have softened up considerably! Hurrah for citrus and for Al Mar’a! Aliya Al Wahaibi Darsait

I took your advice and dragged my family out to Wadi Bani Khalid recently. I’ve only been in Oman for about two years and to be honest, work doesn’t really let me and my husband get out much. But we made time after reading your article ‘Roughing It’. I’m so glad I went. Oman truly is a beautiful country; the desert mountains both imposing and awe inspiring. The valley was so green and the weather was stunning. Thanks for getting me and my family out of our daily rut Al Mar’a! Nisreen Senanayake Ghubra

Your article ‘All in the Game’ on Deena Rahman was inspiring. Deena said one thing that I particularly liked, and I think it would do us all good to remember this for the new year- “I try and remind myself that life is too short. And one must embrace all opportunities that come along. You never know what’s around the corner. Try and take an optimistic view and look at life in a good way”. Well said Deena! And good job Al Mar’a! Shahnaz Khan Muttrah

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FEBRUARY 2010


NEWS, ETC.

Wheels Women Choose

If you are looking for a ‘family ca no further th r’, look an the Volv o XC60! And for very o that’s bvious reas ons…It’s won the fir re ce ntly st prize in the ‘Family the Year’ ca Car of tegory in th e Women’s Car of the World Year comp et iti on! Twenty cars comp -one eted in fo ur categori eight wom es and en motoring journalists seven coun from tries voted for their fa cars. The vourite group and the award created to were educate th e world’s ca about fem r makers ale custom ers’ require High time ments. we say, an d yes, three to the wom cheers en’s choic e!

In Accord

As mid-sized automobiles go, the Honda Accord has always been a favourite in Oman. Ever since its debut as a compact hatchback, it has witnessed a number of technological and design changes to finally emerge as the automobile with ‘heart-racing performance and mindful efficiency’. The 2010 Honda Accord is sleek, stylish and technologically advanced 2.4 i-VTEC Executive sedan that remains incomparable in its class. Over the years Honda automobiles have gained significantly in Oman through its sole distributor Omasco. And dedicated customer service has played a major role in the success of Omasco. What’s that they say? ‘Everybody knows somebody who loves a Honda’. We sure do!

Out of the

Ordinary

This is a car that sports a different kind of elegance. We are talking of the Nissan Qashqai. Strong shoulders, bulging wheel arches and a cambering roofline come together to create a sleek, dynamic style. It has a new tough style, agile response and sophistication all working brilliantly together. It’s a car that commands respect and you’ll be proud to own one! You waiting for something? Book a test drive, right away, girl!

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On the PROWL

It’s back! We’re talking about the Biosphere Expeditions supported by Land Rover in Oman. They’re supporting the ongoing Arabian Leopard research whose aim is to see whether the endangered Arabian leopard, the last surviving species of the big cats in the region, is still present. The expedition began on January 17 and continues until February 12 in the Waid Uyun area of Dhofar. The LR3 with its dynamic on-road and class leading off-road capability and easy manoeuvrability is proving to be perfect for the challenging terrains the expedition team is facing in Oman. Now about that leopard; any sign of it?

Double the fun

It was spectacular event! We are talking of the launch of the 2010 Lexus LS600h L, the World’s First ‘Full Hybrid’ Luxury sedan and the 2010 Lexus GX460 luxury 4WD in Oman. The second-generation LS600hL is driven by a 5.0 Litre V8 engine, mated to a high-output electric-drive motor. The 2010 GX460 is an exciting 4WD that combines ‘right sized’ packaging with family-friendly comfort and premium craftsmanship. The GX460 is unique with a standard seven-passenger configuration built upon a rugged bodyon-frame construction; it is also standardequipped with full-time four-wheel drive and the advanced Kinetic Dynamic Suspension System (KDSS) to help provide both exceptional on-road ride and handling and true off-road capability. Go check the beauties out at the Lexus showroom.


NEWS, ETC.

Lifestyle…

Staying Connected

Forget about catching up on your reading while you fly, now you can stay connected thousands of feet above the ground! Oman Air becomes the first airline in the world to offer the full connectivity suite (Mobile OnAir and Internet OnAir) on its commercial widebody aircraft when it starts to unroll full mobile phone and WiFi connectivity across its brand new Airbus A330 fleet by the middle of this month! The move will give passengers in First, Business and Economy classes the opportunity to make and receive mobile phone calls, SMS, use e-mail and the Internet and keep up to date with social networking media, such as Facebook and Twitter. Now catch your deadlines (and some gossip) while you fly!

Ladies Only

All you lady jetsetters listen up. Here’s some great news from the Grand Hyatt Hotel! They are doing everything to ensure that you enjoy the perfect Hyatt experience in your home away from home. The new service features a special check-in at the front desk and guest relations staff who will accompany you to your room at all times. All rooms will be centrally located near the elevators and lobby; they’ll be non-interconnecting and high floor rooms. Besides these, a selection of international magazines and special amenities such as fresh fruit and flowers, plush bathrobes, bath salts and a selection of toiletries will also be provided. And hold on, there’s more — a complimentary upgrade to the next category! Now this is what we call a thorough pampering!

Style Phone

For the woman on the move… here’s a smartphone to keep you connected 24 X 7. Fashion major Giorgio Armani and electronics giant Samsung present the new Giorgio Armani-Samsung smartphone, the most elegant and functional mobile on the market. Personally designed by Giorgio Armani, the new smartphone has more powerful functions and superior usability. It includes a Microsoft Windows Mobile 6.5 operating system, a unique two step tilt hinge form factor with both full touch screen and a QWERTY keyboard hybrid, and a stunning 3.5 inch Ultra Brilliant AMOLED display. It’s a perfect companion for all your multi-tasking needs!

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It’s Got Spirit!

FYI, British fashion designer John Richmond has launched his first fragrance. The John Richmond Eau De Parfum is decisively feminine, seductive and modern. It’s for the creative woman who loves life and change; a woman who carries an extraordinary ‘character’ that is as friendly as it is spirited. The notes feature red grapefruit, pear, dewberry, jonquil, magnolia, sand white lily, patchouli, exotic sandalwood and amber. Try it, today!


A Taste of the Unique

In the city of Hyderabad, in the south of India, you will find a rich cuisine which is a unique blend of Mughlai / North Indian cuisine and the influences of spices and herbs of the south. Now the good news is that this timeless cuisine is being recreated at the special Hyderabad Food Promotion at The Great Kabab Factory. The dishes from this fabled cuisine will include Mewa Bharwa Sev, Kathal ki Seekh, Tandoori Aloo Jhilmil, Paneer Dilbahar, Murgh Makhana, Tandoori Khate Meethe Baingan, Macchi Hyderabadi and so much more.... Ensure a food-stop soon and enjoy!

Fashion Central

Did you know there’s a new high-end boutique in town? Well there is and it’s called Boutique Muscat. The capital’s chic boutique for women was officially inaugurated by Her Highness Sayyida Alia bint Thuwaini Al Said. The Boutique houses a wide range of labels from New York, Italy, Lebanon and Turkey. Brands such as AILA, Roberta Chiarella and Trinkets are exclusive to Boutique Muscat. The Boutique was conceptualised and created by Hazar and Hanadi, two young Omani entrepreneurs. And while they started business as an online store (www.boutiquemuscat. com), they decided to go to the next level to give customers a well-established one-of-a-kind outlet located in Madinat A’Sultan Qaboos, the heart of Muscat. Drop by for a great shopping experience!


NEWS, ETC.

Lifestyle…

Bag of Goodies

If you are a BreadTalk fan, you’ll like this. And if you’re not one yet (how come?!), here’s some incentive… BreadTalk has launched a first-of-its kind loyalty programme for customers who share the appreciation and passion for innovative breads and other baked goods made from the freshest of ingredients. Regular and corporate customers will receive a complimentary BreadTalk canvas bag along with a baked good, entitling them to a 10 per cent discount during their upcoming visits on all items placed inside the bag, worth a minimum of five rials. It’s eco-friendly and it’s a great way of saying thanks too! We’ve got our bag, now just how do we get all those goodies to fit in? Any ideas?

Smart Cookie

We all get the munchies don’t we? So check this out…Britannia, one of India’s largest food companies has teamed up with Oman-based Al Sallan Food Industries Limited to re-launch their indulgence cookie brand, Baker’s Pride. The Baker’s Pride indulgent range of cookies is made in Oman at the company’s Sohar plant and exported to over 25 countries around the world. Products under the brand include Danish, butter, chocolate, double chocolate chip cookies and the newly introduced Baker’s Pride shortbread.

Well-connected! Under the Stars This is a remarkable achievement indeed. Oman Mobile has announced that over two million subscribers excluding national roaming operator subscribers are now signed up and benefitting from the widest network availability throughout the Oman. Out of these, almost 1.9 million subscribers are directly signed up with Oman Mobile with the remaining receiving their services through the company’s two Mobile Reseller partners who enjoy the unrivalled benefits of Oman Mobile’s powerful network and quality of service. “We are delighted to start 2010 with this landmark achievement that once again re-inforces the leadership position Oman Mobile established throughout the country in delivering the best mobile telephony services through an extensive network,” said Dr Amer Al Rawas, CEO. Omantel. Way to go!

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For Eyes that Speak!

Now for that Valentine date, as far as eye make-up goes, this is simply a must-have, must-do. Revlon has launched the new Double Twist Mascara, the next generation mascara with a revolutionary 2-in-1 brush that combines the lash-building properties of a traditional brush with the comb-through precision of a moulded brush. The result is enviable volume and definition with a rich-colour impact. Here’s how you get the effect — Apply two coats starting from the base of your eyelashes extending up to your lash tips, wiggling the mascara wand slightly from side to side for the desired look. Finally, use the tapered tip to reach the corners of your eyes and your bottom lashes. And voila, your eyes are smokin’ hot! Bat them over candlelight for maximum effect…

With Valentine’s Day around the corner, hopeless romantics are really spoilt for choice when it comes to romantic venues. Gentlemen, here’s one option we recommend... Park Inn is offering a memorable evening at its signature outlet, the RBG Grill and the rooftop lounge Sama Terrazza. A warm ambience, soft music, a rose for the lady and a complimentary welcome glass of a pink sparkling beverage sets the mood for a great evening at the RBG, wouldn’t you say? There’s a three-course dinner, romantic music, the works! Guests at the RBG Grill can also avail of a free entrance to Sama Terrazza. Couples can dance under the stars at Sama Terrazza while a live DJ plays romantic numbers. Book your table today.


NEWS, ETC.

ACCOLADES, ACHIEVEMENTS AND UPDATES...

An Amazing Race! Good Banking

The National Bank of Oman (NBO) well rooted in Oman’s cultural ethos and heritage is clearly focused on reinforcing its position within the hearts and minds of the Omani people. NBO’s new brand was successfully launched on March 21, 2009. To complement the new brand, the bank, under the direction of the Board of Directors, also witnessed its ongoing branch expansion and refurbishment of its branch network. NBO’s CBD Branch was the first new branch in the new contemporary layout and colours, launched in October 2009. And over the last few months, the bank has aggressively grown its branch and ATM Network and has to date opened more branches and ATM’s than any other bank in Oman in 2009. Ten new branches and its second corporate facility centre have been added to the distribution network and NBO’s ATM footprint has grown by 38 ATMs including three drive-thru ATM’s covering key locations across the Sultanate. The rationale behind NBO’s branch rebrand and expansion is to provide customers with a totally new environment and service quality experience and this strive has resulted in a new type of branch, distinctive in Oman, and one which differentiates National Bank of Oman from others. The very latest banking technology, user-friendly functionality and bright, contemporary interiors offer exceptional customer comfort and convenience. The concept of the new branches revolves around the idea of a traditional ‘Majlis’, typically a place where people meet and discuss the topics of the day and invariably where business is transacted. Further, to improve efficiency and service quality, automated queuing systems have been installed for the convenience of customers. This has been coupled with bank ‘meeter greeters’— knowledgeable senior bank staff meet the customer in the ‘Majlis’ and advise them on how best to utilise the branch or carry out simple transactions instantaneously. Along with new branches, the Bank has also focussed on refurbishing its existing network. By the close of 2010 the whole network will offer the same quality of customer service from within a freshly updated branch. Banking could not get any friendlier than this...

Jolly Good!

Here’s some good news... Another top doctor joins the ranks of professionals at the Muscat Private Hospital. Dr Jolly C.T., from Bangalore, India brings with him 14 long years of experience in General Dentistry and specialises in Cosmetic Surgery and Correction. Of the 14 years, five years have been in Oman at private dental clinics. So if you’re looking to get that perfect smile, you know where to go.

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With 26 teams from across the globe battling extreme weather and each other, it was a true test of endurance at the third, and final, leg of the 2009 Nivea for Men Endurance Challenge which was held in Dubai recently. Signature — Oman’s first luxury lifestyle magazine — was there in the middle of it all to support their team, who returned to the circuit after a seven-year hiatus. The race began at 2pm on December 11 with the teams accompanied by family and friends preparing for the upcoming 24 hours in the pits. Challenging weather conditions and stiff competition made this the toughest round yet with many drivers spinning out. It was a tough fight between the three top teams NFM Professionals, Batelco and Team Grohe, who led for most of the early part of the race with the NFM Professionals reaching the chequered flag. This also netted them the overall Championship, with Ocean Rubber second and Tracktalk Speedsters third. Though at the beginning ‘Team Signature’ — consisting of four drivers Mitesh Khimji, Andreas Petre, Tarik Al Said, Fareed Hinai and Rishi Khimji — had a slightly disappointing qualification being placed on the grid at the 20th position, they put up quite a fight and managed to pull up two places before the end of the race coming in at a respectable 18th. They shared their pit with ‘gourmet gulf’, the only other Omani team, with whom they duelled for the duration of the race and eventually came out one position ahead. Good going people!


COVER STORY

Want to up your happiness quotient? Look at the simple things in life for a change! Al Mar’a tells you how.


T

he best things in life are the simple things… All you have to do is slow down, open your eyes and mind, take time to look within and around you. You’ll see that the clouds are beautiful and peaceful and just looking at them soothes you. That the rays of the early morning Sun can invigorate you like little else can! That simply thanking God can give you a fresh perspective on life… The list is endless! And it’s not complicated. Simply listen to what your heart says and go for it!

Here are 15 simple things that will help you see how your dose of joy is right where you want it… within easy reach!

Cleaning up clutter…

Out with the old and in with the new! Purge the old and welcome the new! Cleaning up the clutter around you implies that and much more. Whether you like it or not, it’s a standard or yardstick people measure you by… the way you handle and keep stuff tells a thousand little secrets about you that you wouldn’t like exposed! And truth is that you know you’d be much happier without the mess around. Cleaning up also means welcoming changes, taking advantage of new opportunities and bringing a breath of fresh air to your life. And a thorough cleaning brings a whole new energy into your life! The ancient Chinese art of Feng Shui says clutter blocks the smooth flow of chi (energy) through your space, weighs you down energetically and keeps you stuck in the past. Cleaning up clutter simplifies your life. It’s cathartic, do it once in a while, and feel the rush of positive energy flow through you! Plus point, your space looks good too!

A brisk walk on the beach…

We know walking is good for us, no one’s arguing with that. But often what’s good for us is not what we’re necessarily motivated to do. A brisk walk is what the doctor ordered and that’s why it’s not a very inviting suggestion, is it? But here’s the thing… walk for yourself not the doctor and see the difference. Put on your walking shoes (buy a reliable brand), load your iPod with your favourite songs and hit the beach. Little beats the pleasure of taking a brisk walk on the beach with the wind in your face and the sound of the tide rolling away… just the sun, sea and sand for company. It can also be a great time for contemplation, to take stock of things or deal with issues that need to be addressed. What with the mercury dipping and the lovely nip in the air, this is just the right time to do this. Look at it this way, you get a lovely locale to generally do your thing, people wholeheartedly approve of what you are doing, and hey if your doc’s happy, you’re happy! So go on, walk the talk!

Gossiping with sisters…

We women are blessed with many forms of therapies. There’s retail therapy, there’s crib therapy and then there is gossip therapy! Now, gossip therapy comes highly recommended! It costs nothing and is the best form of entertainment, be it at a family reunion or just a friendly gossip session. Gossiping with friends is a given, but gossiping with sisters is even more special! They’re your people and naturally being cut from the same cloth, they get you. A hearty gossip session between sisters is full of fun and laughter and extra special because you know they’ll never squeal on you. And you can goss about anything! But they’re perfect when you want to

FEBRUARY 2010 19


COVER STORY

talk about husbands… simply to let off some steam! And no one understands you better than your sisters when you do that! Just the act of letting it all out with people you can trust with your life, makes you feel sooo good! (And here’s an added albeit sneaky advantage… for times, when you’ve had a tiff with a sister, you can use a small snippet of gossip as an olive branch to bring things back to normal. It always works!)

Having some ‘ME TIME’ at the end of every day…

Selfless acts are something we women are really adept at. We sacrifice our beauty regimens, our shopping trips, our favourite things — all for the ‘greater good’ of the loved ones around us. But we can be of use to others only if we are useful to ourselves first, right? That’s why it’s very necessary to pause, take a deep breath and stop to think of ourselves. And the best way to do this is to allocate a little ‘ME TIME’ at the end of every day so the stress doesn’t all add up. Switch off your Blackberry for a few hours, take that brisk walk on the beach, go to the gym or the spa, bake that cake your way with lots of chocolate (forget the calories for a change! J), listen to music, meditate or simply sit in the balcony/ patio/garden and enjoy a cup of coffee/ fresh fruit juice and the glorious sunset all by yourself! You could also soak in the bathtub (stick a DND sign!) or give yourself a homemade facial. Remember, you are not superwoman! But you can be good at a lot… and still be happy doing it, just by gifting yourself some precious time!

Sleeping in the outdoors, underneath the stars, one summer’s night…

Everyone should have a night of contemplation in their life, of complete peace and oneness with themselves. And what better place to do this, than on a hot summer night with a blanket of stars or a lush full moon for company! Try this... spend one night of your life sleeping in the outdoors underneath the open sky (very possible if you’re going camping but please be very safe or try your garden or the terrace). Being amidst Nature is one of the most pleasurable things in life. The stars are out. And you are cocooned in the quietness of your sleeping bag. There’s a vastness about the night sky that’s truly breathtaking, you can get lost in the constellations. Also, there’s something incredibly romantic about the idea, it’s the sort of thing that characters do in movies. What a wonderful moment it would be to lie under the stars, have an epiphany about life; when a truth suddenly unveils itself and in this world of conflicts, you are, for once, one with both yourself and with the world around you — the stars bearing witness to your moment of revelation.

Maintaining a journal of the most inspiring quotes and poems you’ve read…

If writing pages and pages about feelings and daily activities isn’t your thing then maintaining a journal of inspiring quotes, poems and lyrics may be a better alternative. Carry your journal with you and anytime you read a quote or poem that inspires you, write it down. If you come across an inspiring picture, cut it out and stick it in the journal. Write about why you like the particular picture or quotation — does it hold a special meaning for you? The best part of journaling is that there are no rules. You write whatever you want without worrying about the grammar. Perhaps you may not realise it immediately, but once you get into the habit of jotting things down, you will

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soon begin to notice that the lyrics and pictures are actually a reflection of your feelings. So let your journal be an easel to your thoughts and your emotions. Journaling is an extremely effectively tool that can lead you to a better understanding of yourself and in turn, lead to self-fulfilment and happiness.

Volunteering with an NGO…

More often than not we’re so caught up with our lives that we forget the world doesn’t revolve around us. Writing an annual cheque for an organisation whose name you barely remember, may be is the easiest way to give back to the community, but it isn’t always the best. Sure, monetary help goes a long way, but volunteers are vital to NGOs as well. Helping people first-hand doesn’t just do them good, it’s guaranteed to make you feel great too! That’s just how it works. It teaches you so much and it humbles you as well. It gives you a perspective on your own life. When you give your time and help an NGO achieve some of their goals, you know you have the power to change things for the better. So pick a cause close to your heart and spend some time making a real difference. When you bring about a positive change in someone else’s life, you add a huge dose of happiness to your life too!

Watching the Sun rising over the mountains and setting in the sea…

The sight of the blazing red Sun rising over a mountain range is something that can truly awaken your soul. Imagine standing atop a hill, dew-wet grass beneath your feet, birds chirping a dawn song to the music of a gentle breeze, and the rays of a red-orange rising Sun radiating from behind the mountain, bathing you with hope and joy! It is a new day, a new beginning! And as it reveals itself in its full glory, it fills you with light. You become one with Nature and you find yourself filled with the promise of beautiful things to come. And when the day is done, you find yourself walking along sands that have seen many a footprint in time with the expanse of the silent sea waiting for the Sun to set, like a mother welcoming her children back home. The blue-green waters mingle with the red-orange hues and your heart is content that the day was well-spent. It comes to you in an epiphany — you are ready for another sunrise and any other challenge that may arise with another day.

15 simple things that will help you see how your dose of joy is right where you want it… within easy reach!

Dancing in the rain…

There is something very comforting about the rain. It’s almost as if every once in a while the heavens open up to pour down on Earth — to cool it down, to renew it and offer it a new lease of life; a chance to rejuvenate and grow despite the torture that the human race puts it through. The rain also signifies a cleansing of sorts. Of course, getting wet in the rain may not sound like a very practical idea, but the simple joy of it warrants the risk. It clouds your sorrows and washes away your gloom and if the Sun is shining, you know you’ll see a rainbow! You don’t have to be a Gene Kelly or an Eliza Doolittle or even a Bollywood beauty… all you need to do is listen to the music in your heart and soul and hop, skip and jump into a few puddles and soak in the bliss of the moment. Umbrellas and raincoats can be props to your dance routine, of course!

Reading a book that makes you feel good…

Did you know when you’re all wrapped up in a book, you’re in a ‘flow’ which scientifically speaking is the mental state of operation in which a person is fully immersed

FEBRUARY 2010 21


COVER STORY

in what he/she is doing by a feeling of energised focus, full involvement, and success in the process of the activity. Proposed by Mihály Csíkszentmihályi, the positive psychology concept has been widely referenced across a variety of fields. The hallmark of ‘flow’ is a feeling of spontaneous joy, even rapture, while performing a task. That’s why curling up on the couch with a really good book feels so good. It may be something that amuses you… like a book of jokes or a really cheesy book full of humour. Or if you’re in tune with something serious; you can really get into the grove of self-help or motivational books. Irrespective of the choice, words have the power not only to educate, but to change and bring new meaning to the lives we live. Stories weave magic, characters come alive, advice comes in handy, drama thrills… It’s the ultimate escape! Little else gets you into the zone!

A really good laugh… the kind that makes your eyes water!

There’s nothing as infectious as the sound of hearty laughter! Everyone wants in on the joke, especially when they see you holding your stomach and tears streaming down your face. It’s obvious — you’re having a blast! And you really are! The docs say laughter strengthens your immune system, boosts your energy, diminishes pain, protects you from the damaging effects of stress, and gives you an internal workout… for free! Dunno about that; we laugh our guts out only because a good guffaw makes us feel so good! And the good feeling remains even after the chuckles subside. Little beats finding humour in everyday situations but yeah, bursting into giggles in the middle of a meeting or laughing loudly in inappropriate situations (like when someone falls down and is hurt)? Not such a good idea! A ticking off ain’t that funny…

Cooking a new dish that tastes and looks good…

“Any food that is cooked fresh with simple ingredients, nourishing the health of those who eat them — that is what can be called good cooking,” says Julia Child. How true is that! Cooking up a new dish is like creating something new. And if it turns out right, it’s a moment of self-fulfilment! There are no limits to what a delicious dish can achieve in your life! People who cook well ‘weave magic’ with their fingers! But in essence, the magic lies in the thought and love that goes into making each dish. Cooking for some is very therapeutic, for others, it forges a deeper bond with their loved ones. There’s no better gift to offer friends and family than a delicious meal, complete with all the trappings. Sumptuous food and crispy conversations to go with a cosy ambience… while you bask in the compliments… that’s what happiness is all about!

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Meeting people from different walks of life…

It’s a small world, but there are more than enough people in it! And in life we meet people all the time. Some we never think about again. And there are some who leave an impression. Then there are those whom Fyodor Dostoevsky describes as, “perfect strangers, who begin to interest us at first sight, somehow suddenly, all at once, before a word has been spoken.” Yes, even strangers can give us an understanding of life in a distant land or of life in a different section of society. Knowing people and understanding their environment is an enjoyable process for a human mind; it helps us evolve. That understanding leads to tolerance. And tolerance brings peace, the most important element of human society, anywhere in the world. And where there is peace, there is happiness! Everyday we interact with people from all walks of life and each interaction teaches us something; sometimes if we’re lucky they even leave us a simple pearl of wisdom to treasure. So, be a people’s person and remember there really are only six degrees of separation between you and the woman you met at the bank this morning.

The satisfaction of a job well done…

15 simple things that will help you see how your dose of joy is right where you want it… within easy reach!

If you’re doing something, you may as well do it well or not do it at all. Forget the excuses! Seriously, how can anyone stand the sight of a shoddy job? Let’s drop the ‘I tried my best’ routine. Everyone knows that’s not true and that you were on Facebook while you wrote that report and that’s why you botched up the numbers! When you do something well, you feel good. You know you went way beyond ‘I tried my best’. It’s something you feel inside — a deep, deep happy satisfaction. Sure if your efforts are acknowledged often [like ever other day J] you feel even better! But let’s get real, that’s not going to happen. When you do anything really well — cooking, working out, cleaning, especially your job which pays the bills — you know it even if no one else does and it makes you really, really happy! And that’s what separates the winners from the losers… and winners are always happy!

Not praying for some more but just to say thank you...

This is a biggie! When we talk to God we do tend to get a little selfish. Please answer my prayers, please give me just this, please make this happen, please make this go away, please just this once… the list is endless. Some of us ask for more money, a better job, a nicer boss… frankly if some prayers could be heard, it would help in getting you that belly laugh too. Some of us ask for strength, patience, serenity, peace, love, health, forgiveness which is great since it’s not material stuff but hey, you’re still asking! Instead how about just saying thank you and nothing more? It’s not holier-than-thou; it’s just showing gratitude for what you have right now. You have a job? That’s financial stability. You have a family that loves you? That’s emotional stability. You have friends who got your back? That’s good luck. You have good health? What more could you ask for?! When you show true gratitude for whatever you have right now, however small or simple the blessings may be, it makes you appreciate how lucky you really are right now, and that people, is true happiness!n

FEBRUARY 2010 23


AM Recommends

What:

Fish Therapy

Where:

Dr. Fish, Bareeq Al Shatti

What it’s all about:

A few years ago, hundreds of fish nibbling at your feet to give you a pedicure may have seemed straight out of ‘Ripley’s Believe It or Not’! But today it’s the hottest form of spa treatment... naturally designed to nibble away pesky dead skin, leaving you with silky smooth hands and feet. The treatment first originated in Turkey where the hot spring spas housed such fish to treat people. The treatment can cover not just your hands and feet, but your whole body as well. It also claims to treat psoriasis and other skin diseases. The amazing species of fish used here is known as Garra Rufa normally found in river basins around the Northern and Central Middle East but is now artificially bred in outdoor pools especially for the spas.

How it is done:

The Dr. Fish spa in Bareeq Al Shatti, the first of its kind in Oman, has an inviting ambience. The place is cosy and comfortable with small partitions where you sit down and soak your feet. The water is crystal clear and runs through a UV light. The lighting is soft blue and there’s soothing music playing in the background to help you relax. I was a little hesitant to put my feet in the water but remembered the ‘dare’ from my editor! So after washing my feet first, I sat down and determinedly placed one foot in, and then the other. And before long I could see many fish started moving towards my heels.... nibbling away gently! I was ticklish to begin with but I soon got used to the fish moving over every part of my foot. And it did turn out to be one really relaxing experience. Don’t worry about the fish biting you, they don’t really ‘bite’ as the Garra Rufa have no teeth and it’s only their gummy mouths that work on your feet. As the fish did their work, I took in the surroundings of Dr. Fish... It’s very clean with high standards of hygiene (they change the water every day). At the end of 15 minutes, the skin on my feet was smooth as silk thanks to a natural exfoliating experience.

Our verdict:

Brought to Oman by Raoof Rowhani, Dr. Fish presently offers only fish therapy for the feet. However, he does plan to expand it by including therapy for the hands and maybe in the future, for the body as well. We feel it’s totally worth it and is a must-do at least once a month!

Cost Factor: RO3 for 15-minute session and RO5 for half-hour session. – By Rekha Baala

24 FEBRUARY 2010


Exclusive

The

Meaning of Success Meet Salma Salim Said Al Jaadi, who has done the banking industry, the National Bank of Oman and the country proud by achieving a unique distinction. She speaks to Rekha Baala on her recent achievement and much more...

24 FEBRUARY 2010


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he is the first Omani woman in the history of the National Bank of Oman (NBO) to earn the designation of an Assistant General Manager! For every Omani woman living the ‘career’ dream, this is a thumbs up of the highest kind. For it’s a laudable achievement indeed! And for Salma Salim Said Al Jaadi, NBO’s Head of Corporate Risk, it is proof of her dedication, hard work and most importantly, a positive outlook towards work and life in general. What makes this milestone even more commendable is that the lady began her career in the banking sector at a very young age, what she terms ‘from scratch’. What that means is she began as a summer intern at the Standard Chartered Bank while still schooling in Salalah. “I started working part-time but decided to stay on, continuing my education in the mornings. I got to learn a lot of new things — secretarial work, customer service, cash, back office work and so forth,” Salma recollects. She ended up spending 15 years at the bank and later joined the Majan International Bank where she put in another three years. In the mid-90s she earned a Banking Diploma from the Institute of Bankers, managing a fulltime job and family responsibilities (she was also married at a young age). “The organisations I worked for also gave

Work hard, hold on to your principles and just be yourself. Treat people with respect at all levels. And try to question all the time.

me a lot of opportunities to participate in training programmes that helped me a lot in my career. Also, I had a lot of mentors who were professionals from different backgrounds, bringing in knowledge from different markets. I got to learn even more from their experiences and benefit from it!” she says. The move to the NBO took place five years ago. At the time, the bank did not enjoy the immense success it does now; but that did not deter Salma from plunging into her new responsibilities with complete passion. “At the time, NBO was recruiting new managers from the region and looking for people to come in, change things and revamp the working style. I saw it as a challenge and knew that my long years of experience would hold me in good stead. Moreover, I was sure NBO would offer me complete flexibility and independence in my job.” As Head of Corporate Credit Risk, Salma’s role is to support the Chief Risk Officer, analysing and recommending acceptable risks for the management to approve or disapprove. “It is a very intense and stressful job. You need to be aware of the industries you are into, the market your borrowers are into and an overview of what is in the future of the customer’s requirements. We are in partnership with the client, helping him in his objectives,” she explains. So what basic qualities would you need to possess to do this job well? Salma outlines the need for, “A strong sense of maturity, knowledge of the market and the customers and working in tandem with the corporate banking department.” Twenty-five years at the job would also mean a tight juggle between work and family. How does Salma strive to achieve that often elusive ‘work-life balance’? “I think it depends on individual to individual; as to how one perceives it. I have spent most of my time in my career

Be strong and positive. Just don’t give up. Being persistent pays off in the long run! and it has definitely paid off in the long run. I have always been there for my children whenever they needed me.” She credits her success to her parents, who have been her greatest inspirations. “Before my mother passed away three years ago, she encouraged me to finish my MBA degree course and always reminded me, ‘you worked hard, so you need to have a goal and if you want to be in senior management, complete your education’. Salma took her mother’s advice seriously and earned an MBA from the Gulf College (affiliated to the Hull University, UK). As an achiever, Salma has a message for all like-minded Omani women. “Work hard, hold on to your principles and just be yourself. Treat people with respect at all levels. And try to question all the time.” Her maxim for life is therefore very straightforward like the advice she gives. “Be strong and positive. Just don’t give up. Being persistent pays off in the long run!” And before you think Salma is ‘all work and no play’, think again... This go-getter does find time to indulge in other hobbies, like practising yoga, going to the beach, dancing and yes, reading mystery novels! We end our conversation by asking her about her future plans... “God willing, I would like to rise to the position of the General Manager,” she says. We however, would like, to see her as the first Omani woman CEO of a bank some day, because for honest, genuine, hard-working people like her, the sky’s certainly no limit, and reaching for the stars — is a very achievable goal indeed! n

FEBRUARY 2010 27


Personality

Passion, Unlimited! It’s not easy to describe Mallika Sarabhai in one line... she’s a dancer, actor, choreographer, writer, publisher, and a social entrepreneur, and she’s equally passionate about them all and more! This acclaimed Indian artiste will be performing in Oman for the first time this month. Al Mar’a presents an introduction to the lady and her art...

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multi-talented creative individual, Mallika Sarabhai, celebrates the positive reaffirmation of the images of womanhood. She has used every medium — dance, theatre, television, film, writing and publishing for her work, winning recognition in India and abroad. She has taken her work and that of her company, the ‘Darpana Academy of Performing Arts’, to the farthest parts of India and to over 90 countries of the world. Through her various productions and performances, Mallika has fearlessly challenged audiences to sit up and think, and to realign themselves to critical questions of gender bias, communal hatred, the environment, corruption and more. Born on May 9, 1954, Mallika studied to be an Economist and a Business Manager from the Indian Institute of Management (IIM), Ahmedabad (in the state of Gujarat, India) and obtained a PhD from the Gujarat University for her thesis in the area of Organisational Behaviour under the long-distance guidance of the late David McClelland, Harvard University’s most famous psychological theorist. She is the Director of ‘Darpana’, which is a workshop for the arts in Ahmedabad, where the focus is on excellence and the use of arts for social change. In 1977 she took over the reins of ‘Darpana’, founded by her equally illustrious parents, Mrinalini and Vikram Sarabhai. In 1979 she became Publisher of India’s first design magazine, ‘Inside Outside’. In 1985 she co-founded ‘Mapin Publishing’, now a much respected international art book publisher with over three hundred titles. In 1982, she founded ‘Darpana for Development’ to concentrate on developing performance as a language

for change; and ‘Janavak’, the voice of the people, to archive, record and preserve folk and tribal culture. As an actor, she has been in more than thirty films. She played the lead character, ‘Draupadi’, in the international theatre production of ‘The Mahabharata’ by world-renowned Director, Peter Brook. She spent five years performing the play in French and English, with performances in France, North America, Australia, Japan and Scotland, and reprising the role for the film and TV versions as well. On her return to India in 1989

she got deeply involved in creating her own contemporary dance vocabulary beginning with her first solo theatrical work, ‘Shakti: The Power of Women’. Mallika is also a newspaper columnist and has been the CEO of a television channel dedicated to using mainstream genres of programming for activism. She co-founded ‘Darpana Communications’ in 2001 to harness the potential of the television in changing attitudes and fighting social prejudice. She is the recipient of many awards and recognitions received in India and abroad.

FEBRUARY 2010 29


Personality

Among them are the Crystal Award at the World Economic Forum in Davos for her contribution to the arts; the French government has honoured her with the highest civilian award, the French Knight of the Order of Arts and Letters; she was also nominated as one among 1000 women globally for the Nobel Peace Prize 2005. The acclaimed artiste will soon be seen in Oman in ‘India: Then, Now, Forever’, a show, organised by Alazm International, that will be held at the Oman Auditorium, Al Bustan Palace Hotel on February 18. The show is a travel through time and incorporates classical, folk, tribal and contemporary dance to celebrate India’s multi-culturalism and plurality. Prior to her first ever trip to Oman, Al Mar’s presents Mallika Sarabhai in an email interview....

This will be your first visit to Oman, what are you looking forward to most on this visit? “Visiting a new country is always exciting especially if it is an ‘old’ country with a rich history. My only connection with Oman is that I have some very beautiful Omani silver jewellery!”

On your many trips abroad, how have the audiences perceived your performances? Do you think dance is a universal language and conveys any emotion well... despite the differences in culture or language? “Music perhaps is an even more universal language than dance, but yes, a lot of dancing touches something unspoken and primeval in us. Many dancers, especially classical ones, try and mystify dance and make it esoteric. I try the opposite. I try and draw more people in by making it

30 FEBRUARY 2010


Do you think the medium of art is open to many interpretations or transformations? In this sense, what do you think of fusion? Should tradition give way to contemporary and modern elements with changing times? “The more experimentation, the more diversity, the better. Only then will quality shine. Fusion is, in most cases, confusion. When people run out of ideas they stick two things together. Fusion that comes out of a genuine search for the new can be fascinating. And one doesn’t have to choose between the old and the new, the traditional and the innovative. Bharata Natyam is my battery recharger and gives me the vocabulary to do other things, to search.”

Do you think that women’s issues can be effectively portrayed through the medium of art? “Absolutely! Nothing is more powerful. Go to our site (www.mallika.com) and see In Search of The Goddess or Sita’s Daughters or Colours of the Heart.”

What is the one driving passion in your life? “Life itself and the huge possibility of being a small part of bringing light to people’s lives.”

As a mother, what do you feel is the most important value one should impart to one’s children? “Humaneness.”n

How do you juggle your different roles and passions without compromising on the importance of any one? accessible without diluting it. Given the correct context, audiences are given a special look into the style. However there are many choreographers who do not want to give that handle to audiences and would rather have them feel it any way they want. I don’t usually subscribe to that, except for certain pieces.”

You had a brilliant academic career? Why did you choose to focus on dance? “Should I have gone into academics? In running ‘Darpana’, in running the wide development activities of ‘Darpana’ and others, I use every ounce of my learning — certainly all that I learned in finance in management school. Managing a not-forprofit that does not have sugar daddies is a much more daunting task than managing a company where maximising profits are the clear goal.”

“I am a communicator with many languages with which to communicate. I use whichever is more effective at the time for that idea and that audience. Like responding to these questions just now. It helps me reach your readership. They may or may not be at the show but perhaps this sharing of thoughts and ideas may start a chain of thoughts in some of them. I love life. I am privileged by the family I have been born into and by the people around me. So many people live in fear and misery, don’t live each day because they yearn for a better tomorrow... I think I can help them make sense of their lives, give them courage, share, empower. That really is what keeps me going.”

FEBRUARY 2010 31


SUPERSTAR

She is ‘Livin’ Her Life’ the way she likes it! And the whole world is loving her just for that! Music sensation Rihanna is young, gorgeous, rocking hot and going places says Mahreen Sohail.

good bad


The label didn’t want me to do this look. But cutting my hair, it made me stand out as an artist. I don’t care who likes it — this is me. oung and G.O.R.G.E.O.U.S, this Barbadian beauty is barely an adult and has been shakin’ up the music industry for several years now. Robyn Rihanna Fenty was born on February 20, 1988 in Saint Michael, Barbados to parents Ronald and Monica Fenty. Her parents’ marriage was rocky to say the least, ending when she was 14. Former supermodel Tyra Banks said, “Rihanna told me that her parents used to argue so intensely and she used to get these headaches, almost migraines ... and it was almost a living hell for her, the moment her parents separated, the headaches went away.” And so young Rihanna found solace in music. She started singing at the age of seven, turning a deaf ear to the

girl!

neighbours’ complaints, “They’d complain to my other neighbour, who was very close to my mom, so we always got the message: I’m too loud. But we didn’t really care. They can’t tell me what to do in my house!” Rihanna formed a girl group with friends from school at the age of fifteen. As luck would have it, in 2003, record producer Evan Rogers was holidaying in Barbados with his wife. Friends introduced Rihanna and her two classmates to the producer. On meeting the 16-year-old Rogers was instantly impressed, “The minute Rihanna walked into the room it was like the two other girls didn’t exist.” Rihanna sang ‘Emotion’ by Destiny’s Child for the audition and the producer decided that this girl was destined for fame. And that’s

FEBRUARY 2010 33


SUPERSTAR

how at age 16, she moved to the United States, signing with Jay-Z’s record label Def Jam. Rihanna’s first single ‘Pon De Replay’, cowritten by Evan Rogers and Carl Sturken, went on to become a worldwide smash hit peaking at No. 2 on the Billboard Hot 100. Humble and down-to-earth, even today Rihanna attributes all her success to her record producers, “If I hadn’t met Karl and Evan I might just have been dreaming forever.” Maybe. But nobody can deny that the girl has a set of lungs on her, and very good ones at that! Her debut album ‘Music of the Sun’ was released in 2005, reaching No. 10 on the Billboard 200, selling over two million copies worldwide. Her second album ‘A Girl Like Me’ was released in April 2006 and reached No. 5 on the Billboard 200. Critics described Rihanna’s music style as a mix of reggae, pop and dance music. Rihanna herself doesn’t feel her music can be categorised, “I think people are always looking for something that’s new, something fresh, something different. My music doesn’t have a specific genre; it’s a fusion of reggae, hip-hop, and R&B. People haven’t heard a lot of that, and they seem to like it.” Rihanna’s third album ‘Good Girl Gone Bad’ was released in June 2007. The album topped charts all over the world yielding eight singles all of which reached the Top 20 on the Billboard Hot 100. ‘Good Girl Gone Bad: Reloaded’ was released a year later and featured number one hits such as ‘Take a Bow’, ‘Disturbia’ and the duet with Maroon 5 ‘If I Never See Your Face Again’. Her latest album

My music doesn’t have a specific genre; it’s a fusion of reggae, hip-hop, and R&B. People haven’t heard a lot of that, and they seem to like it. 34 FEBRUARY 2010


‘Rated R’ was released on November 23, 2009. With several awards under her belt; winning accolades at the AMAs, the VMAs and even a Grammy, this Caribbean crooner is hailed by critics as one of the rarest blends of rhythm, reggae and blues to emerge from the Caribbean. Whilst the 21-year-old’s success in the music industry has been phenomenal, Rihanna is also admired internationally for her sense of style. Critics and fans alike agree that for such a young girl, managing to cultivate such a distinct image for herself is indeed a remarkable feat. Her short, cropped, pixie-like hair which accentuates her modelesque features has become her trademark. She says “The label didn’t want me to do this look. But cutting my hair, it made me stand out as an artist. I don’t care who likes it — this is me.” The bold look, though not initially endorsed by her label, has grown widely popular, serving as a sort of logo for the 21-year-old feisty diva. Although Rihanna is recognised as an international beauty now, even winning the Award for Glamour’s Woman of The Year in November 2009, she admits to being bullied at school for being ‘whiter’ than the rest of her classmates, “I was a little confused as a kid because I grew up with my mom, and my mom is black. So, I was cultured in a very ‘black’ way. But when I go to school, I’m getting called ‘white.’ They would look at me, and they would curse me out. I didn’t understand. I just knew I saw people of all different shades, and I was light. Now, I’m in a much bigger world.”

Her long and lean body also did not gain any fans in Barbados where as the singer says “While in America beautiful is skinny, in Barbados it’s thick — they like nice curves.” Stuck in this duality — trying to please an American audience whilst staying essentially Barbadian — must be hard but the belle of every music event deals with it by just being herself and not spending too much time agonising over her looks, “Genetically my legs are supposed to be huge. I can’t really think about it, or I’ll go crazy.” Despite everything, she has thus far managed to do an excellent job of looking smashing; elegantly dressed by world renowned fashion designers at music events and opting for funkier, younger outfits in her music videos. Panned by critics for being ‘too hot’ for her age, this Barbados beauty doesn’t show any signs of toning it down anytime soon. Although embroiled in a domestic violence case against singer Chris Brown this year, dealing with heartbreak, the media and all the phenomenal success, she manages to stay grounded by reminding herself that she is a voice for young women like herself everywhere, “My story (regarding Chris

Brown’s assault) was broadcast all over the world for people to see... They have followed every step of my recovery. The positive thing that has come out of my situation is that people can learn from that. I want to give as much insight as I can to young women, because I feel like I represent a voice that really isn’t heard. Now I can help speak for those women.” Rihanna one day aims to be revered as ‘the black Madonna’. Growing up she was heavily influenced by Beyonce and Mariah Carey and hopes to emulate their careers. Although we’re not sure whether there can be two Madonna’s, two Beyonce’s or two Mariah Carey’s, we’re sure this Barbadian diva will chart her own course in the music industry. Her fans are a testament to the fact that there are already many girls out there who want to follow in her footsteps... Rihanna’s strong, über stylish, talented and shows no signs of slowing down anytime soon. She’s quite the role model herself, isn’t she! n


Valentine’s Day Special

Double

the Celebration!

Welcome to the world of online shopping, right here in Oman with www.khimjishopping.com...

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xpressing your love is no easy job… but now you don’t have to necessarily trawl the malls to find that perfect V-Day gift, simply surf the net! Log on to www.khimjishopping.com and hit ‘add to cart’. Yup, it’s as simple as that! And for all lucky Al Mar’a readers, Valentine’s Day is now a double celebration! www.khimjishopping.com presents a special Valentine’s Day perfume offer only for you! Get to the site, click on ‘Specials’ on the home page; you will find perfumes (pour elle or pour home) at a very, very special price only for Al ‘Mara Readers, fill in the code AM2010 and make your choice. Your Valentine will receive the gift with your personalized message at his/her doorstep (when &where they least expect it!). What a wonderful way to express your feelings for the special one in your life! (Do keep in mind though, that the courier service needs a minimum of 24 hours of working time to deliver if the order is received before 12 noon of the previous day). What’s more, the first 25 customers get a special Swarovski gift! And in case you’re looking for more you should know this is the first online shopping portal of its kind in Oman. This pioneering online facility has been launched by Khimji’s Luxury & Lifestyle Stores, a division of the Khimji Ramdas Group. The aesthetically designed portal is fashioned to meet the tastes and needs of young online shoppers like you. Extremely user-friendly features, such as its shopping cart, are backed by easy navigation and clear instructions on how to proceed through the entire shopping process. With easy-to-use secure online payment options,

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the site accepts payments by credit card and delivers to any part of Oman within a stipulated time frame. What sets the site apart is that you can find products easily through its well laidout format of categories and sub-categories. You can search for items from the category pages of Perfumes, Crystal, Eyewear, Writing Instruments, Travel Business Collection or from an array of brands by name, such as Chanel, So Weil, Ibiza, Strawberry Shortcake, Swarovski, Samsonite, American Tourister, Cross, Sheaffer, Ray-Ban, DKNY to start with. Every product category has been developed with an interesting look and feel to make it an outof-the-ordinary experience! From easy login and tracking of order details through a sophisticated track-order system to high levels of transparency in every online transaction, all features have been crafted to provide a strong sense of security and reassurance to the shoppers. At the heart of the portal’s offerings is online gifting. This unique feature empowers you to choose any product you want from the list available online and gift it to someone you love. And the best part is that you can also make use of the delightful facility of selecting the gift wrap papers and a card for the right occasion, be it a birthday, or an anniversary, Mother’s Day or Christmas, and send it with a personalised message. You could also

buy gift certificates and your loved ones receiving the certificates can go online and choose the items, which can then be delivered anywhere in Oman. Online payments through credit card are made through secure servers courtesy Paypal, one of the most trusted entities in ecommerce transactions worldwide. Firsttime users can directly register their details with Paypal one time, and then shop through the secure payment gateway for a new experience. Location drops are made through OCS for items shopped online, promising timely delivery to the customers, anywhere in Oman. With Valentine’s Day around the corner, khimjishopping.com is going to help you spring some pleasant surprises. Log on already, people!n


Valentine’s Day Special

! r u o m a ’ L t s e C’

38 FEBRUARY 2010


Travel

That means ‘it’s love’! What else can it be? After all you’re talking about Paris!

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oets, lyricists, playwrights, statesmen have all written about the wonder that is Paris. It’s impossible not to fall in love with this magical city! Paris is a paradise for honeymooners and couples looking for the ultimate romantic getaway. Stroll along breezy boulevards, in beautifully manicured gardens, enjoy the great works of art and savour an experience that is uniquely Paris. While all of France is beautiful, the parks and gardens in Paris provide the perfect romantic settings. Whether your taste in gardens leans towards the classical and formal or towards the modern and educational, you have plenty of options. Jardin du Luxembourg, the large garden behind the Palais du Luxembourg, is a local favourite and ideal for quiet, romantic picnics. If packing a picnic sounds too much of a chore, why not visit Jardin des Plantes or Buttes au Chaumont? These beautiful gardens are great for long leisurely walks, especially if you pick a cool evening for a stroll under the stars. Want to try something a bit different? Why not take a ride at the giant Ferris wheel at the Jardin des Tuileries? Or simply walk about the garden and enjoy the true reflection of France’s imperial and monarchical past. Another breathtaking, yet, little-known park is the one near Pont Neuf Bridge. Walk to the Pont Neuf Bridge, go down the flight of stairs opening behind Henri’s statue, and you will wind up on the wharf. There, lined with century-old trees, the park offers a magnificent view of the river Seine and the Louvre Museum. We recommend discovering this cosy spot together during daytime — you won’t regret it!


Travel

Valentine’s Day Special Yet another great place for a walk with your loved one is a museum or gallery. Paris is a city filled with culture and art, and there are so many museums and art galleries to visit. And among the most notable of these museums is the Louvre, home of the famous Mona Lisa. Then there’s the Musée d>Orsay, home to the great artists of the 19th century including, Van Gogh, Monet, Renoir and Gauguin. The Rodin Museum, Les Invalides and Musée de l>Armée are also must sees. If you don’t want to spend time indoors, there are a lot of ‘open-air’ museums of statues and other kinds of sculptural art all across Paris. The Montmartre Hill has a flavour of its own. This is a spot you can spend days discovering. Montmartre used to be a small village outside the walls of Paris, and was only integrated into Paris at the turn of the 19th century. The personality of the hill expresses itself fully at night. Street lamps lend its streets a surreal feel, most notably at mid-hill level. Take one of the steep flights of stairs, and you are sent back in time. For couples who enjoy opera, the Opéra Garnier and the Opéra Bastille are perfect places to visit

— there’s nothing like music to set the soul soaring! If you and your significant other share a love for jazz then Paris is the best place to listen to some. Whether in upscale joints like those at the Rue des Lombards or in a more intimate place like Autour de Midi, you’ll find quality music wherever you go. Hit any jazz club, snuggle up and enjoy an experience like no other! Enjoying the panoramic views of Paris from the top of the Eiffel Tower may sound like a very touristy thing to do. But trust us, once you’re on top, the view will certainly take your breath away. And all the men reading this, the Eiffel Tower is a great spot to ask for your lady’s hand in marriage or to ask to renew your vows. The best time to propose would be right after sunset when the whole tower lights up! Other places for great views (and popping the question) include the Arc de Triomphe and the Notre Dame. Both places offer spectacular views and are steeped in history and culture. A cruise on the Bateaux-Mouches (a float boat) or on the Grand Canal in the park of the Castle of Versailles is also perfect for some romance. Evening time is ideal and the boats have projectors on both sides, so that you can see the stunning buildings as you

progress on the Seine. The bridges over the Seine are popular places for grand romantic gestures (thanks to movies!). But even a casual walk with your loved one makes for a beautiful romantic experience. If you and your significant other enjoy adventure — then renting bicycles to explore the city may be a fantastic option. For quirkier couples, inline skating is also popular. The pavements are large and smooth and you’re sure to have a few laughs weaving through the crowds. In Paris, most of the luxury hotels are located on the right bank and in Central Paris. Some of those include the Four Seasons Hotel George V Paris, Hotel Plaza Athenee and Radisson Blu Le Dokhan>s Hotel among others. On the left bank, the most famous one is called The Lutetia and it was the first Art Deco hotel in Paris. Of course, to enjoy true romance you need to live like royalty. Book yourselves into the George V or truly pretend to be royalty and stay at the Château d>Esclimont (a 45-minute drive away from Paris). And no romantic getaway is complete without fine dining and some dancing options. And what better place to enjoy some exquisite French cuisine than in Paris itself! It’s one of Europe’s culinary centres with hundreds of traditional bistros and sidewalk cafés among premium restaurants that have a waiting list of over two months! Be it at a café on Champs-Elysees or an unsung bistro in the Latin Quarter — a cosy candlelit dinner for two will certainly get those sparks flying. Paris is a city you can never forget! It certainly lives up to its reputation of being the most beautiful and romantic of all cities, brimming with historic associations and culture, art, fashion, food and design. Gentlemen readers, a trip to The City of Light is the best Valentine’s Day gift you can give someone you love!n


MAZDA CAR AD


L ve in Reel Life! Their on-screen chemistry has tugged at the heart-strings! But too bad not all these made-for-each other couples on the silver screen were hitched in real life! Al Mar’a relives the magic of some famous reel-life pairs for hopeless romantics!

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ome of these couples act out passionate turbulent affairs, doomed to a tragic end from the very beginning. Others are stars of ‘feel good’ movies- we know everything’s going to be all right eventually but that realisation doesn’t make the ride to the end any less enjoyable. Read on to find out which on screen romances reignited the fires in our hearts. If you haven’t seen any of these movies, go out and rent the DVD version. Trust us they’re worth watching, if only because of the chemistry between the lead actors…

Humphrey Bogart and Ingrid Bergman in Casablanca Bogart plays a former soldier in this movie, whilst Bergman stars as Ilsa, a beautiful mysterious woman that needs him to help her husband escape. The duo cannot be together, which makes the love story all the more poignant. Bittersweet and brilliantly rendered this couple makes on to our hottest couples list very, very easily.

Valentine’s Day Special

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Clark Gable and Vivien Leigh in Gone With The Wind A classic, if ever there was one, this passionate love story between the rascal

with a good heart — Rhett Butler —and saucy southern minx — Scarlett O’ Hara — is one of those few gems that, finally, actually do justice to the book. The couple’s on screen chemistry is explosive! Passionate, dark and epic it pulls on our heart strings every time we watch the movie. The scene in the movie where Rhett carts Scarlett off to the bedroom after spouting the famous line ‘Frankly my dear I don’t give a damn’ leaves us with goofy grins on our faces and cheers on our lips. Now that’s how a man should act!

Brad Pitt and Angelina Jolie in Mr. And Mrs. Smith When two people are as good looking as Brad and Angie, you tend to think that the chemistry will make itself. This is true, but what really makes the couple’s on screen romance pop is the witty one liners and the under lying current of tension that runs throughout the entire film. Playing a troubled married couple, leading secret lives as assassins and hired to kill each other, the duo somehow does the impossible — and we’re ashamed to admit this — make abuse look good. Our favourite scene is most definitely the part where Angelina asks Brad ‘Who’s your Daddy now?’ after dealing him a killer blow.


Feature Tom Hanks and Meg Ryan in Sleepless in Seattle

Richard Gere and Julia Roberts in Pretty Woman

This was one gorgeous romance. We mooned over Hank’s ‘vulnerable guy’ persona and were charmed by Meg’s freshness during the movie. But what really maxed it was the couple finally getting together on top of the Empire State Building. Such was the scene’s power that the roof of the Empire State Building has become a meeting place for lovers in America. This love story was a classic, feel good, old school romance and the director’s couldn’t have cast better actors in the lead roles.

She’s a lady of the night and he’s a clean cut, filth-rich businessman. Who says opposites don’t attract? Robert’s vulnerable charm and Gere’s gruff lonely businessman persona works its magic on the viewers. A classic romance, this movie leaves us with stars in our eye. Although to be honest, we think somehow that Robert’s legs (which seem to go on for miles) cloaked in those o-so-gorgeous black boots and long red hair had something to do with her getting her man in the end.

John Travolta and Olivia Newton John in Grease We don’t know what this was — a musical? A high school romance? Whatever the movie attempted to do though- it worked! Why? Because of Travolta and Olivia’s stellar performances — fresh faced Olivia Newton John and bad boy John Travolta rocked the whole ‘good girl likes bad boys’ scenario long before Edward Cullen and Bella Swan came along. With great on screen chemistry, this couple makes it to list just by being so darn entertaining. Hey, to be honest even if they hadn’t had on screen chemistry, they would have made the list anyway by virtue of John’s leather pants!

Johnny Depp and Keira Knightley in Pirates of the Caribbean Yes, yes we know Keira Kightley’s character Elizabeth ends up with Orlando Bloom in (playing Will Turner) in the movie but somehow, Knightley seems to really come to life around Captain Jack Sparrow. Whilst their on screen romance borders on nonexistent, the same cannot be said (thankfully) for their on screen chemistry. The lesson here is that pirates

and damsels do mix — and Captains of pirate ships and damsels? Yummy!

Matthew McConaughey and Kate Hudson in How to Lose a Guy in Ten Days In this flick, Matthew McConaughey plays an advertising executive competing with two female co-workers for a major campaign. He cuts a deal with them that the account is his if he can make a woman of their choice fall in love with him in 10 days. In comes Kate Hudson who, in turn, is writing a story on how to lose a guy in 10 days as a bet with her boss and if she wins she will be allowed to write more substantial stories. Yup that’s some agenda! (Note: If we were given the choice between McConaughey and writing this or any article? You know… Seriously!). So what happens in the end is that they fall in love! Not lame! We’re talking McConaughey here! And yeah, she’s gorgeous too! Well... all we can say is that one day they’ll have gorgeous kids — even if they are only reel kids. n

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GIFTS - Ideas/Suggestions/Hints

Valentine’s Day Special

Valentine’s Day Pendants from the Piaget Possession Collection For more details, contact Khimji’s Watches

Splurge Jewellery set in rubies, diamonds and white gold Available at Damas, Sabco Centre

Feast your eyes on a selection of classy and chic collectors’ items in exquisite jewellery. For the A-lister, these are the brands to be seen with! Sapphire and diamond ring. Available at Jawahir Oman

Jewellery set (chain, pendant, ring and earrings) set in gold and diamonds. Available at Jawahir Oman

Exquisite earrings and jewellery watch from the Chopard Red Carpet Collection 2009. Contact Khimjis Watches for further details.

Jewellery set-hand crafted 250 gms, 18K white gold and set with 38.41 Carat of Belgium cut diamonds and decorated with 101.65 Carat Burmese rubies. Available at Gallery Argan.


Watch from Longines Available at Rivoli

Valentine’s Day Special

Listen up men, here’s what she wants, trust us!

Indulge! ine

l anc t Bl re n o e M al Sto t ile d Eto at Capi m o e l Fr b ila Ava

Guerlain’s new Cherry Blossom Spring 2010 make-up collection Available at Capital Store

Red patent tote and cosmetic bag Available at Amouage

46 FEBRUARY 2010

Treasure chest with seven drawers Available at Lifestyle, Centrepoint


Boss Cufflinks Available at Salam Studio & Stores

GIFTS - Ideas/Suggestions/Hints

Italian Giudi leather suitcase Available at Shoe Palace, Sabco Centre.

Elemis Men’s Range. Available at Essence Spa

Beotime Alarm Piece from Bang & Olufsen. Available online Guerlain Habit Rouge Sport perfume Available at Capital Store

Male Order Spoil the man in your life with these great gifts!

FEBRUARY 2010 47


Nejd Omani frankincense collection Available at Muscat Duty Free, five-star hotels and the Little Shop of Flowers

The Scent of Love Indulge your sense of smell this Valentine’s Day!

Love, etc, the collection Available at all The Body Shop outlets

Valentine’s Day Special

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Parfums Intimes from Victoria’s Secret Available at Lifestyle, Centrepoint

Solid perfume from Amouage Available at all Amouage outlets

Terre D’Hermes perfume, Available at Salam Studio & Stores.


GIFTS - Ideas/Suggestions/Hints

Delicious Valentine’s Day Cake By Hanan Al Xafai of Cake House Order at oman.cakehouse@gmail.com

Pleasure in Every Bite!

Premium chocolates from Godiva Available at Godiva Store, Sabco Centre

Your taste buds always deserve a treat on Valentine’s Day!

Love Bites. Lavish your loved one with rich decadent chocolate paired with dark sweet cherries. Available at BreadTalk, Bareeq Al Shatti

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Valentine’s Day Special

Feel It! Pander to your sense of touch; some exclusive products from top brands...

Scarves by Fendi Available at Salam Studio & Store

Suzy Smith clutch with ruffles Available at Lifestyle, Centrepoint

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Leather bag by Galliano Available at Salam Studio & Store

Simple Pleasures Organza Tote Gift Set From Lifestyle, Centrepoint


GIFTS - Ideas/Suggestions/Hints Gift sets (red for her and brown for him) designed by Leena Al Asfoor Order your special one at Karvan Flowers (Al Asfoor Plaza), Eye Candy Boutique and The Little Shop of Flowers (Jawaharat A’Shatti)

JVC GB32 8-megapixel camera. Blue for him and purple for her... or as you like it! Available at OHI Electronics

Perfect Presents

Here’s some of what’s hot in the market... for him and for you.

Omnia P Availa ro B7230 m o ble at all Sam bile phone f rom Sa sung o msung utlets

Arc Keyboard from Microsoft Available online.

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What’s Hot

Valentine’s Day Special

Total Bliss!

This Valentine’s Day, plan your own little idyllic adventure.... Just a few kilometres away from the hustlebustle of the city lies the Al Sawadi Beach Resort & Spa, the perfect place to unwind and get some TLC!

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includes a traditional herbal bath, the Shiffa Radiant Beauty Polish to exfoliate your skin and the Najwa Aromatherapy Message for a new you!

ost of us are familiar with the charming little cottages, the scrumptious dining options and other top-class facilities the Al Sawadi Beach Resort & Spa is famous for and many of us have also spent many a rejuvenating weekend there... Total bliss, if you can call it that! Now the Resort has gone ahead and opened a much-needed state-of-the-art Spa as well. And with it, your getaway is total and complete! A visit to the Spa is a must if you want to get your groove back and reconnect with Mother Nature while you do so. The Whisper Spa at the Resort embraces a holistic approach to both physical and mental well-being. Inspired by traditional healing philosophies, sound international therapies and a unique Arabian menu using local herbs and recipes, they strive to restore balance and harmony to both your mind and body. The Spa is calm and serene, with just the right ambience to revitalise, pamper, heal and transform you. Highly trained therapists are on hand to put you at ease and make it an experience to remember. The Whisper Spa’s signature treatments are based on traditional Omani and Arabian healing therapies using herbs and spices, along with the restorative powers of fragrant oils. Here are some of the special treatments you simply must try:

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The Ancient Prakoph Journey: A blend of healing herbs wrapped in linen cloth and heated in oils to soothe aching muscles and relieve stress.

The Lava Shell Ultimate Massage Treatment: Genuine tiger clams have been the food source in the Philippines for centuries. Now for the first time in Oman, they are used in this massage. This treatment is designed to bring you health, relaxation and enjoyment, making it an unbelievable massage experience.

The Shiffa Radiant Beauty Polish: This deep cleansing, exfoliating treatment combining frankincense and mineral salts removes impurities, dead cells and stimulates circulation bringing your skin back to superb radiance.

The Isis Soothing Facial: A mixture of pure natural fruit blended to make your skin soft, smooth and supple. Specifically developed for all skin types to revitalise and renew your body and spirit.

The Pure Arabian Oasis: Indulge in a truly Arabic experience that conquers your inner senses and restores balance to your mind and body. It also

We recommend you spend an entire weekend at the resort so that you can get the best of all worlds! Get in touch with your inner self, spend quality time as a couple and at The Whisper Spa, treat yourself to the ultimate in relaxation therapy!

Sweet Escape The Al Sawadi Beach Resort & Spa, with a plethora of offers, now gives you plenty of reasons to make a quick weekend getaway. Here’s some we thought you’d like: l This is one ideal place to be with your loved one this Valentine’s Day. Apart from the delightful ambience, you can celebrate Valentine’s Day before the others do — on a leisurely weekend on February 11. There’s a romantic dinner buffet, live entertainment and a red rose for the ladies. All of this at only Rial 15 nett per person. You can also opt to stay overnight at the resort for just Rial 50 nett per room that includes breakfast for the two of you. l If you are a GCC resident, you can avail of the special price of Rial 99 nett per room per night. The offer includes a stay in a double room, spa treatment, breakfast/lunch/ dinner and water and a soft drink with meals. Moreover, one child below six years stays free of charge. Children between six and 12 need pay only Rial 19 per night. This offer is available until August 31.


Changing The Face Of Business - 'Women As An Economic Force' 29th & 30th March 2010, Intercontinental Hotel Muscat

Under the patronage of Her Highness Sayyida Aliya bint Thuwaini Al Said “Interact with internationally acclaimed businesswomen and experience workshops and lectures to inspire a new calibre of women in business.”

H.E Angelika Storz Chakarji

Ms. Ashley Hunter

Mrs. Lydia Roux

German Embassador to Oman

President of HM Risk Group based in Texas, USA

Founder of Gauteng Talent Management Solutions

More speakers to be confirmed...

Why Attend? Enjoy the following benefits of participating: • Create partnerships with top organizations. • Develop leadership and management skills. • Build your network and connections. • Gain knowledge, insight, and strategic thinking. • Explore career paths and opportunities. • Get involved with new business opportunities. • Meet potential mentors and advisors. • Discover opportunities in Best Practice • Join this unique and powerful community of the next generation of business women.

To Register | Tel +968 24693133| Fax +968 24607717| Email info@enventoman.org| Website www.enventoman.org | Media Partners

Technology Partners


beauty plus

Smokin’

Hot!

Presenting the hippest look of the season with some musthaves from the Bourjois palette!

Make-up artist Mayada Al Maimani tells you why the look is so ‘in’ this season... “I liked the Bourjois make-up range for this season. You can start with a foundation that suits your skin... the mineral matte works wonders to bring a fresh glow to your skin. And what’s more striking in this look is the eye makeup. Look at the smoky eyes... Don’t they look simply beautiful? Try the smoky eye-shadow trio that offers combinations to easily achieve a sophisticated smoky look! The Mascara and the eye pencil add the special highlights. Bring on a radiant twist by defining your lips with a rose-shaded Sweet Kiss lipstick and top it off with shining lip gloss from the 3D Max range. Nothing’s OTT here, a sweet and simple look that accentuates your features to the maximum.” Model: Michelle Make-up artist: Mayada Al Maimani, 95123211 Co-ordinated by: Rana Alawneh

Effet Smoky Deep Green Eye Pencil Shade 73 Effet 3D Max Shade 61 (Rose Acidule)

Smoky Eyes Trio Eye Shadow Shade 08 Vert Trendy

1001 Lashes Mascara (Black)

Mineral Matte Mousse Foundation (Vanilla Delicate) Shade 82 Sweet Kiss Lipstick Shade 43 (Rose Pomponne)

Blusher Shade 54 (Rose Frisson) Effet 3D Max Shade 61 Rose Acidule


After

The

Mane Thing Before

You have mid-length hair... That’s what we call the half-way crisis... You don’t want to cut it short... nor do you want to go any further in length... Is there a style that could meet it midway? And look good as well?! Here’s a style from hair technician Malika that could look great on any hair! “What I have done is given the model a straight cut with light steps towards the bottom. Then I chose to colour her hair to give her a simple, yet sophisticated look. Blond is always ‘in’ every season, but here I have chosen a mix of Golden Ash Blond and Ash Blond. I divided her hair into two parts. I highlighted the top portion with platinum highlights and the bottom portion with a dark shade of the mix. The result is there for you to see! She looks stunning!” Model: Michelle Hair Technician: Malika, 99318525 (malika_ajmi99@yahoo.com) Co-ordinated by Rana Alawneh

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Persona

Not Just

Jewellery… Meet Munira Fleyfel. To her jewellery designing is not just a passion, it’s all about timeless traditions and everlasting emotions as well… understands why. The pieces are unique and the influences are many. Each piece speaks a story… of timeless tradition, moments in nature or just a slice of modern everyday living. Munira Fleyfel is no stranger to Oman. Though she is settled in the US, she regularly visits Oman. Some of her pieces are on display at the Layali Al Asalah villa… and that’s what caught our attention, prompting us to get in touch with her and know more about her art.

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er desire to craft modern jewellery inspired by the traditions around the world has made Munira Fleyfel an avant-garde and most soughtafter jewellery designer. A look at her website www.treeofpearls.com and one

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In an interview with Al Mar’a, the young designer speaks of her Omani roots, her inspiration and much more…

The Omani connection… “I was raised in Cyprus, Iraq, and Lebanon. My parents are from Bahrain and Oman, and while raising me abroad


Foray into jewellery designing… “While working as an architect, I continued to be fascinated by various fields of design. In the winter of 2006 I signed up for jewellery making classes. My thorough education in architectural design contributes enormously to how I approach jewellery design, although the two fields may seem worlds apart. In both disciplines, drawing and graphic representation are fundamental tools in achieving a satisfying final product. “When you design a building, factors like history, materials, construction technique, use of the building, its interaction with its context, maintenance, and aesthetics all come into play. In jewellery, parallel themes arise; each bead has a history, technique and integration of supporting elements is crucial to making a piece that looks and functions beautifully. How the piece is worn, by whom, for what occasion; all these are important questions that drive the design from beginning to end, just like in architecture.”

The beginnings and beyond… “I had worked on a large number of pieces during the early months of establishing myself as a jewellery designer in the United States. However, my first collection was that which I participated with in the second Layali Al Asalah Competition that was held in May 2008. I heard of Layali Al Asalah in November 2006, when they held their first fashion competition. I was very intrigued, as it was one of the first endeavours I had heard of in the Sultanate where an organisation had set out to encourage female designers to challenge themselves and exhibit their talents. “Over the coming months I got in touch with one of the founders, Samah Al Wahaibi, and discussed my jewellerydesigning hobby with her, and she strongly encouraged me to participate in their next competition. Participating in the Asalah competition has been a major turning point for me. I found the aim of the competition to create designs in various branches of fashion by drawing on three different cultures extremely fascinating.”

The birth of new concepts… “I do not necessarily seek out to make a collection with every new design. Life is surrounded by much beauty, and I am sometimes inspired by a fleeting glimpse of a beautiful colour, an exquisite bead, a

stunning painting, an irresistible texture. I try to capture those moments and channel them into my work. Occasionally, the creation of one design manages to capture this beauty for me, and I am satisfied. Sometimes however, it is hard to stop at one, and the design begins to evolve with new materials and colours, and grows into a collection.”

Inspirations and mediums… “I am fascinated by the historical aspect of jewellery design and the significance of different beads and gems in different cultures. Like words in a language, each bead has its own history, taking its inspiration from mythology, astrology, folk stories, flora, fauna, cultural diversity, and in the familiar things of everyday living.” “I work with semi-precious stones, pearls, Swarovski crystals, gold-fill and sterling silver. I try to work with high-quality materials because I want my pieces to remain with my customers for many years to come, to grow with them, and to become a part of their life and history. Everything I make is custom made and to order.”

The moderntraditional balance… “In each piece I design, my objective is to create beautiful pieces that befit the modern woman while reflecting the history and symbolism of the materials

Jewellery photos: Jane Messinger Portrait: Linda Pagani

they instilled in me love and respect for the cultures of countries that hosted us — and those beyond. Art and design have interested me from a very young age, which may be why I decided very early on that I wanted to be an architect. I obtained a Master of Architecture degree from Harvard University in the US, and practised as an architect for several years.”

FEBRUARY 2010 57


Persona used. I have great reverence for the history of jewellery and beads, and I try to reflect that in my collections. However, my customers are living in the present; they are modern women. I like my work to reflect that. Tradition gives me a good foundation, and history allows me to gain for the experience of others, but modern styles, materials and techniques have a remarkable appeal that grounds me in the present and define my goals for the future.”

Oman as an inspiration… “As I mentioned earlier, my first collection was one that I submitted for the Asalah competition. The competition sought designs that merged elements from Omani, Yemeni and Chinese cultures. In order to succeed in this objective, I found it necessary to immerse myself in research in the history of beads and jewellery-making in all three cultures. I learnt a great deal about Oman, its rich culture and heritage, its unique history of jewellery, and the

58 FEBRUARY 2010

styles and designs that appeal to its female population. At the end of the competition, I was lucky to win the award for best design in the jewellery section, as well as the award for best technical execution in the overall competition. This encouraged me to strengthen my ties to Oman, and to maintain a growing clientele in this wonderful country.”

Present and future perfect… “I am working on a new collection that focuses on texture and unique semiprecious stones that are revered in the Middle East. “I currently exhibit and sell my work through my website www.treeofpearls. com. In the future, I hope to schedule several exhibits of my work throughout the Gulf States over the next few years in order to reach a clientele I am very interested in serving, and to become part of the larger community of designers in the Arab world.”

Life’s little lessons… “I think I am a very optimistic and determined woman, and I love to be challenged. I was blessed with a mother who raised me to love hard work, and taught me to never doubt myself as a woman. I am lucky to have a remarkable husband who has been relentless in his support and encouragement of my work from day one, and remains my harshest and most ardent critic. I have had a lot of encouragement from my stepfather, who taught me to always embrace challenges in order to overcome them, and to always put in my best effort, no matter the result every time. “For me, all this encouragement and faith has been far more important than taking the right courses in jewellery-making or getting my hands on the right beads. It has pushed me to try new things all the time, and to never give up.” That’s the spirit we at Al Mar’a applaud! More power to you, Munira! n


Parenting

Teaching kids the value of money is no simple task... But there is no escaping from it either! Mahreen Sohail lists out some simple tips on talking ‘money’ with your young ones.

Talking M

oney doesn’t really grow on trees. Try telling that to your six-year-old though. Chances are he/she will think you’re bluffing. After all, you always seem like you’re loaded with money; why shouldn’t they think that you’re an automated money-making machine that also just happens to make some excellent cupcakes and pasta?! Yes, teaching kids the value of money is no simple task, but it’s a lesson that they must learn if they are to be successful in life and if you want to have any money left over before they leave for college. Here are some handy tips to teach your young ‘uns about the value of money. These lessons will stick with them for life, turning them into responsible, credit worthy adults!

Work it out

Doling out presents right and left is not

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a good place to start. If your child wants money, don’t fork it out with no questions asked. Sit them down and ask them what they want it for. Encourage them to find out what the price of the item is on their own. Then work out a deal. Assign an allowance in exchange for them helping out around the house — taking out the trash, doing the laundry, weeding the garden or any other age-appropriate household chore. Explain to your child how saving up his or her allowance will help them buy that new toy they want so badly. Together, work out how long it will to take to save up enough money to buy it. Make saving fun by investing in a piggy bank! Not only will this teach them that money is hard-earned, it’ll also probably make them respect you more — mom makes household chores look effortless, who knew they could be so hard!

Explain the basics

If your child asks why they can’t have that new teddy displayed in the toy store’s window, don’t pass their questions off with the all-pervading, “because I say so!” Your kids are smarter than you give them credit for. Explain that money is earned through hard work and used for food, housing, clothing — all the necessities. Let them know that luxuries are fun, but they are not needs and cannot be expected to be indulged all the time. If you explain this patiently and kindly to them, chances are your children will understand and probably think long and hard next time they ask you for a new toy or gadget. This will also encourage them to weigh up the costs and benefits of purchasing a new item; do I need this versus how much will it cost?


Explain the basics

If your child asks why they can’t have that new teddy displayed in the toy store’s window, don’t pass their questions off with the all-pervading, “because I say so!” Your kids are smarter than you give them credit for. Explain that money is earned through hard work and used for food, housing, clothing — all the necessities. Let them know that luxuries are fun, but they are not needs and cannot be expected to be indulged all the time. If you explain this patiently and kindly to them, chances are your children will understand and probably think long and hard next time they ask you for a new toy or gadget. This will also encourage them to weigh up the costs and benefits of purchasing a new item; do I need this versus how much will it cost?

Patience is a virtue

If your little girl wants an iPod, an item too pricey for her to able to save up for all on her own, don’t rush to the store and buy it for her. Make her wait for it, so she knows that material things are not so easy to come by. Alternatively, if it is too expensive for you to be able to afford at the moment, don’t be afraid to say no. This will teach your child the valuable lesson that they can’t always get, or more importantly afford, what they want!

Shopping lessons

A trip to the local grocery store can be a wonderful learning opportunity. Take your kids along and encourage them to work out how saving coupons work. When you’re shopping at the two-for-one aisle, explain how and why this is a good bargain for money. This is your child’s first indirect foray into the world of money so make the most of it. At least they’ll learn what value for money means!

Debt is ugly

Borrowing is a dangerous road to go down. Sure your kids are not being hunted down by recovery agents, but a little credit for the school canteen, and before you know it, they’re forty years old and knee deep in debt! Tell your children that if they really need money, they should come to you first and explain what it’s for. Borrowing from friends is not okay! If you think they deserve the loan, lend them the money. Also, work out a savings plan for them with them so that they can easily pay you back from their allowance. It goes a long way in making them understand very early on that money borrowed just has to be paid back, irrespective of who you borrow it from! Always remember to communicate with your children. Don’t be too hard on them. Once in a while, a treat like a new toy can go a long way in letting them know you love them! And the most important detail to remember — birthdays are no-go areas when it comes to phrases like ‘responsibility’ and ‘value for money’! You’ll just have to go for splurge then!n

FEBRUARY 2010 61


Top Drive

The

French

Connection Malcolm X. Crasta takes the Citroën C6 for a spin and is charmed by its aesthetic looks and superb performance...

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W

hat do you get when you combine the aesthetic look of a coupé with the imposing presence of an executive limousine? Character, attitude and one marvel of a car! Presenting the Citroën C6, a car whose every inch stands out from the crowd... with its dramatic styling, luxury quotient and ease of performance! A car wonderful to drive in, and better still, great to be seen in too! First impressions of the Citroën C6 are of the ‘Shock ‘N’ Awe’ kind! ‘Shock’ here can best translate into stunning... a far cry from other run-of-the-mill saloons on the road. ‘Awe’ because... simply put, it looks

awesome to say the least. Though a bit of a design oddball, the C6’s looks are definitely fresh and pleasing to the eye.... making it stand out well among other competitors in its class. The shape is absolutely modern and the detailing is reminiscent of classic Citroën shapes from the past. The elegant arc of the roofline and the long front overhang are standard Citroën styles, though the long wheelbase and low slung posture are the new add-ons. Once inside, the design shifts more towards what we are used to, but not completely. The seats and centre console, which is quite overpopulated with buttons, are quite similar to what you might find in most cars. But there are a few unique and


interesting differences throughout the C6 too. For one, the car features a full digital dashboard which is quite easy to read... A neat heads up display on the windscreen also keeps you up-to-date on necessary information without having to revert to the dash. The slide-down door pocket covers are neat... a nice touch that adds a sense of character and class to the interior. The cabin is one of the roomiest in its class with more than enough room for five and plenty of rear leg space. The interior finish is beautifully crafted, using the highest quality materials — from the chrome door finish and the upholstery to the leather steering wheel. The interior breathes comfort at every level.

On the road, the Citroën C6 is a total breeze. We covered a huge distance in a calm manner, cocooned in a comfortable cabin and driving effortlessly through both the city roads and the relaxed traffic in the interior. The car felt ultra-light on the road and while cruising long distances, it is simply superb. The ample space and adjustments makes it simple to get into just the right driving position and the automatic transmission does a great job of keeping things smooth. And in keeping with its reputation, the C6 does a great job of keeping out unwanted noise. Powered by a 3.0 V6 producing 215hp, the C6 isn’t too sluggish but could do with a little more power.

The C6 is full of refinement and it looks really well put together. It is also a very safe car, achieving the highest Euro NCAP safety ratings — even for pedestrians, with its active pop-up energy-absorbing bonnet. Airbags are numerous (including knee airbags) and standard safety equipment includes ESP and active headrests. Snug and safe... what more do you want from your car? In conclusion, we have to laud the Citroën C6 for believing that there is still place for style and innovation in the market. It offers the best of all worlds — a superbly comfortable cruising ride, spacious and classy interiors, apart from being well equipped and super safe too! It’s, as the French would say, ‘C’est Magnifique!’n

FEBRUARY 2010 63


REVIEWS

Books,

movies more… Handle With Care by Jodi Picoult [Book] This is a wonderful and poignant story about family, relationships and love… all the right ingredients to grip every woman’s interest! Everyone wants a healthy baby and Charlotte O’Keefe is no different. Her world is shattered when, on her second ultrasound, she discovers that that the baby (Willow) has Osteogenesis Imperfecta, a debilitating disease that affects the bones. She goes ahead with the pregnancy and her life is turned upside down. The family (that includes husband Sean O’ Keefe and older daughter Amelia) spend sleepless nights, face mounting bills and pitiful stares... as imperfect but sweet, wise and super-intelligent Willow becomes the focus of their lives. A chance meeting with the lawyer brings about a ‘what if’ into the picture; what if they had known of Willow’s illness? Would their lives have been different if Willow had never been born? And thus a series of circumstances and legal intrigue arise where Charlotte sues her best friend and obstetrician Piper for ‘wrongful birth’. The family is torn asunder and Picoult chronicles the tale expertly, as the characters move from situation to situation and things spiral out of control. It is an emotionally riveting and profoundly moving story... And a real tearjerker right till the end. A gripping must-read for all. Available at Turtle’s for Rial 4.400 Stronger with Each Tear by Mary J. Blige [CD]

The Element of Freedom by Alicia Keys [CD] Keys’ fourth studio album has a more diverse point of view than any of her previous works. The album begins strong with ‘Love is Blind’, ‘Doesn’t Mean Anything’ and ‘Try Sleeping With a Broken Heart’ — all soulful, melodic and groove-heavy songs. The contemporary R&B tunes continue with ‘Love Is My Disease’ and ‘Like The Sea’. The duet with Beyonce, ‘Put It in a Love Song’ is a chart-buster all the way! Pick this up, it’s an R&B delight!

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This gal rocks at what she does! She proves it once again with her new album that is the right balance between emotion and strength. She brings on the drama with ‘We Got Hood Love’ a duet with Trey Songz. The queen of hip-hop soul is at her best with ‘The One’ also featuring Canadian rapper Drake. The rest of the songs make great listening too. For hip-hop fans, Blige brings on her best!

The Blind Side Starring Sandra Bullock and Tim McGraw [Movie] Michael Oher, a homeless African-American youngster from a broken home, is taken in by the Touhys, a well-to-do white family who help him fulfil his potential. At the same time, Oher’s presence in the Touhys’ lives leads them to some insightful selfdiscoveries of their own. Living in his new environment, the teen faces a completely different set of challenges to overcome. A brilliant and heart-warming story!

Did you hear about the Morgans? Starring: Hugh Grant and Sarah Jessica Parker [Movie] They are romantic comedy regulars... And they are back in another laugh riot. Hugh Grant and Sarah Jessica Parker play ‘Paul and Meryl Morgan’, a Manhattan couple whose marriage is in danger. They decide to go for a change in scenery... But things turn upside down when they witness a murder. What happens later? Watch the movie for more!

http://allrecipes.com/Recipes/Holidays-andEvents/Valentines-Day/main.aspx [Website] This Valentine’s Day, take the ‘romantic route’ with a cosy dinner at home. Cook up some delicious recipes from this exhaustive collection and make it an evening to remember. Try their top 20 recipes for oysters and caviar, choose a menu from five Valentine’s Day dinners for two, find sweets for your sweetie in their top 20 Valentine’s Day desserts or pamper your dear with a luscious breakfast in bed. Throw in some scented candles, lots of flowers... and you have the ideal setting!


AT HOME

Home

remedies for everyday

troubles…

• Get rid of dandruff by soaking two tablespoons of fenugreek seeds in water over night. In the morning grind the seeds into a fine paste. Apply paste all over scalp and leave in for no more than half an hour. Wash away with mild shampoo. Alternatively, you may also mix fenugreek paste with yoghurt and apply that on scalp to add lustre to hair. • Applying a dab of toothpaste to pimples before going to bed helps dry them out. If acne does not seem to respond to any treatments try adding 2-3 teaspoons of dried basil leaves to one cup of boiling

water for 10-20 minutes. When water has cooled, apply this water to affected areas using a cotton ball. • Mix two teaspoons of lime juice with one tablespoon of honey. Swallow slowly two-three times a day to ease aching throat. If you are also plagued with a mucousfilled cough, try adding one cup of boiling water to

• Massage a mixture of honey and coconut milk into your gums three times a day to prevent and/or treat mouth ulcers. You may also mix honey with one teaspoon of finely powdered Indian Gooseberry root bark and apply to affected areas. This will provide relief from the pain and act as an anaesthetic.

half a teaspoon each of ginger, ground cloves and cinnamon. Filter water, mix with honey and drink to ease cough. Another very effective remedy for cough involves boiling a small piece of ginger in water. Add a pinch of fenugreek to the boiling water. Strain, add one teaspoon of honey and drink one cup, two to three times a day. • To effectively and easily remove food stuck to the inside of a microwave, place a sponge soaked in water in the microwave. Turn machine on for two minutes and then allow the sponge to sit inside for five minutes without opening the microwave door. The food stuck to the inside of the microwave will now come right off by simply wiping gently! • If you have an ant problem at

home, try finding out where they are entering the house from. Sprinkle some cinnamon over this area or alternatively use any other type of ground pepper. These spices will be ‘too hot’ for the ants to cross over. Cucumber peels have the same effect. If you have a cockroach problem at home, combine equal parts of boric acid and sugar and mix well. Sprinkle this mixture over crevices. Also place mixture in jar lids and put lids underneath sinks and inside cupboards. This should eliminate the problem but remember, keep the mixture away from pets and children.

Do share your fine housekeeping and personal grooming skills with other Al Mar’a readers. Write in to Al Mar’a, At Home, United Media Services, P.O. Box: 3305, Ruwi 112, Muscat, Sultanate of Oman or email us at almara@umsoman.com, Subject: At Home or fax us at 24707939. Do give us your name, address and GSM number.

FEBRUARY 2010 65


HEALTH

Are you getting enough rest? Always suffer from the morning blues? Rekha Baala presents an interesting wakeup call‌

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Sleep


d

o you often wake up feeling groggy, lethargic, tired, wanting to crawl back into bed? Despair not! A lot of us feel pretty bad in the mornings for various reasons… If you don’t suffer from any health problems which could lead to sleep deprivation, you must remember, ‘Early to bed and early to rise makes a man healthy, wealthy and wise’, is not just a cliché. It holds true in every sense. Think of the times you’ve slept early and managed to wake up early; haven’t you felt a surge of positivity when you greeted the day with the rising sun, enjoyed the peace and quiet with a cuppa, throwing in a little bit of exercise or meditation and finishing your morning chores with all the time on your hands, before you headed out towards a productive day? Inadequate rest impairs our ability to think, handle stress, maintain a healthy immune system and regulate our emotions. In fact, sleep is so important to our overall health that studies have shown that total sleep deprivation can be fatal! Without adequate rest, our brain’s ability to function quickly deteriorates. The brain works harder to counteract sleep deprivation effects, but operates less effectively. That’s why concentration levels drop, and memory becomes impaired. The brain’s ability to problem solve is also greatly impaired. Decision-making abilities are compromised, and in extreme

cases, insufficient sleep can also cause people to have hallucinations!

Other typical effects of sleep deprivation include: depression heart disease hypertension irritability slower reaction times slurred speech tremors When we don’t get adequate rest, our body’s levels of leptin (a hormone that affects our feelings of fullness and satisfaction after a meal) fall and ghrelin (the hormone that stimulates our appetites) levels increase. This means that you end up feeling hungrier without feeling satisfied by what you eat, causing you to eat more and, consequently, gain weight. Now that made you pay attention, didn’t it?!

Here are just a few guidelines that will help you wake up feeling fresh and energised every morning. All you need is to have the will to follow them… Go to bed happy: Despite what may have happened during the day, think only of the good before going to bed. Think of something funny, and smile to yourself. Also think of the good stuff you’re planning for the next day. Say a prayer thanking God for all the

wonderful things in life. Thinking negative thoughts often leads to sleeplessness and bad dreams. Having a smile on your face before you slip into sleep makes you snooze easy. Don’t dread what tomorrow will bring. As the classic line from the book ‘Gone with the Wind’ goes, ‘Tomorrow is another day’… Cross those bridges when you come to them.

Avoid coffee and chocolate: Scientific studies have shown that coffee and chocolate disturb sleep more than any other food. It also makes you wake up more often in the middle of the night. It also upsets the intestines. So limit your intake to before 5pm.

Go to bed early: It’s often difficult, but try and get away from the television or movie and go to bed as early as possible. If you consistently stay up late, it is a habit you’ll find hard to break. You may think that you are not sleepy, but your body may feel different. Relax in bed for some time, with a book… or some soft music. You’ll fall asleep before you think you will.

Dine early: Many of us tend to push dinner to after 10pm, which means we eat right before going to bed. This is very bad both in physical as well as mental terms. It’s a fact that the process of digestion takes a while… so lying down after a big meal is only going to make you feel queasy. Keep a gap of a few hours between your dinner

Tight

FEBRUARY 2010 67


HEALTH and bed-time or better still, try to get done with dinner early, so you have enough time to watch television or indulge in any other form of entertainment before you go to bed.

Clear the clutter: You’ll always sleep better in a soothing ambience. So keep the space around your bed uncluttered, because clutter is hardly soothing. Your bedroom is your sanctuary; it’s where you spend a night after a long, hard day outside it. If things are cluttered, you’ll really be bothered by the amount of tasks you’ll have to do the next day. No one sleeps well when surrounded by a mess so take some time out every day, to clear your bedroom and then look forward to a restful sleep.

Blow hot. Blow cold: How hot or cold you feel during the night also affects your sleep. Try and find a good balance. Set the air-conditioning to the right temperature. Use warm blankets when needed. In cooler times, keep the windows open if you can. The fresh air will do wonders to your energy levels when you get up in the morning.

Wake up to music: Forget the shrill alarms of the old. Wake up to some totally energetic and rejuvenating music. Use the alarm settings on your phone to play a song you love first thing in the morning. It’s guaranteed to bring a smile to your face. And another important tip: Keep the alarm as far away from the bed as possible. Getting up to turn it off should make you wake up… and not put it on snooze mode and crawl back into bed.

Be consistent: Last but not the least, try to go to bed at the same time every day. This will help your system get into a routine… and make it easier to sleep and get up early too! Here’s to seeing the sunrise every morning! And waking up to a new, healthier and more positive YOU! (If you do already pretty much follow these guidelines, and are still sleep-deprived, do consult your physician immediately. It could be the symptom of an underlying illness.)

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HEALTH PLUS

YOUR HEALTH ave all your gynaecological queries answered by Dr. Smita Lulla — MBBS, M.D, D.G.O. (Gold Medallist), Consultant Obstetrician & Gynaecologist at Qurum Clinic, Muscat. The veteran doctor has had advanced training in the UK in Obstetric & Gynaecological Ultra-sonography & Infertility. I’m a 32-year-old woman trying to conceive for the last three years. Last year, in June, I had a miscarriage. I was taking folic acid tabs and Letrozole 2.5 mg. I’m trying to conceive again with the help of the same medicines. Is Letrozole safe? Please let me know. You have to monitor your ovulation by ultrasound to determine whether you are ovulating or not with Letrozole. That would also let you know your most fertile period. You must not keep taking Letrozole without monitoring as any of these drugs can cause cysts of the ovaries which can cause problems. Letrozole is not approved for ovulation induction as it was believed to increase the risk of abnormalities in the foetus. However, recent studies have not demonstrated any increased risk. Also, were any reasons found for the miscarriage? Ensure that your blood sugar and thyroid hormones are normal. Q. I am 27 years old and my baby is eight months old. I had put on a lot of weight after a C-section. I’m around 85kg now, earlier I was 68kg. My tummy is not getting reduced. I am following a strict diet with no rice or bread and take whole wheat bread and ragi only. Can you

suggest some ways to reduce weight? If you have tried a low calorie diet for around one month and not reduced any weight, you should join a slimming centre. They would be able to guide you regarding the amount and type of food you should have and also give you certain treatment sessions which can reduce your tummy. I have an eight-month-old baby and am still breastfeeding her. I’m also trying to conceive again but am not ovulating due to the breastfeeding. I don’t want to stop breastfeeding. Is there any injection that would help start ovulation? Lactation (breastfeeding) may prevent ovulation. Thus, you must stop lactation and then try to conceive. You may ovulate even while lactating, but the chances are less. You can have an ultrasound done on day 12 of your period to determine whether you are ovulating or not. Tablets or injections maybe ineffective while you are breastfeeding. Even if you do conceive while breastfeeding, you would need to stop once you are pregnant. I am 33-years-old and I have PCO syndrome. I cannot conceive. I was pregnant in April 2009 but unfortunately had a miscarriage after a

month. I have irregular periods too. Could this be a ovulation/infertility problem? I consulted a doctor and he asked me to take Clomid in addition to Progynova. Could this help me solving my problems? You have conceived before, so I am sure you will conceive again, so stop worrying! PCO is associated with irregular periods and infrequent ovulation. Are you taking Clomid and Progynova during the same cycle? Have a scan done on day 12 of the period to determine whether you are ovulating or not and what your fertile period is. If you are not ovulating, you would need to increase the dose of Clomid tablets during the next cycle. Let me know the results, so I can advice you further.

Find more questionS and answers fielded by Dr. Smita Lulla at www.omanaccess.com FEBRUARY 2010 69


Workwise

I

magine feeling calm and relaxed when you are stuck in a traffic snarl or when your manager loses his temper. What if you were peaceful instead of being stressed out and feeling down? What if your life was filled with only pleasure and a warm sense of belonging? This is what it feels like when you’re able to manage your feelings well. Our feelings are a natural response to our thoughts and intentions. Having emotions and feelings is human but the secret is the ability to manage them well. We can’t really choose our feelings as it is basically a feedback mechanism that indicates that we are moving forward with our positive

desire or away with our negative feelings. In other words, we simply feel good and excited when we are moving forward through what we want and like or we feel bad when we move away from it. The experience of emotions and feelings is accompanied by the release of hormones in our bodies; changes in breathing and heart rate along with changes in blood supply that clearly indicates that it is affecting us. Emotions and feelings can also appear in various ways, through changes in facial expressions, smiling, sneering, crying, blushing, and so on, but also in complex behaviour like shouting, running away and so on.

Feelings are natural responses to thoughts and emotions. But learning to manage them is the key towards having a peaceful and happy life says Lamha Sultan Al Habsi, Training Instructor for the British Council’s Springboard programme.

Dealing withFeelings


Dealing with your feelings is an important part of self-improvement and success. The secret is simple and it really focuses on listening to what your feelings are telling you and writing them down. Basically listen and learn from your feelings and eventually you can master you feelings and manage them well. The following are some tips for managing feelings:

Be honest:

Being honest with yourself is the first step. Many women have been dishonest about their feelings forever and the result is that they have reached the point where they do not know what they feel at a certain topic or situation. This can lead to damaging addictions like overeating for example. In other words, if you’re feeling sad, don’t try to convince yourself you’re not.

Identify…:

First, you need to identify the emotion you’re feeling. Are you feeling sad? Depressed? Angry? Fearful? You could sit quietly for a moment and you might want to close your eyes, and then wait and see what you notice from inside. Notice any thoughts, images, feelings, memories, sounds come to you. Ask yourself how you’re feeling, and be aware of what comes up. Respect whatever you feel and be aware of that.

…And acknowledge: If you know how you feel, let yourself know that this is how you are feeling right now, and that’s okay. You don’t have to know where it is coming from. You may simply feel pain or tension in one part of your body or not. Just breathe through it and let your feelings just be there. You don’t have to do anything with them, just accept that this is how you feel. Find the source: Be convinced that you are not being silly for feeling how you feel at a certain situation. Your feelings are there for a good reason. Think deeply and ask yourself whether

these feelings are connected to something and write down every think that comes in your mind. Remember nothing is small or silly. Try not to ignore or judge what comes to you, just be open to what you notice.

Doing something positive about your negative feelings: If

you feel negative or even angry over personal or social issues, don’t just have a meltdown, do something constructive and positive. You could do the following that can help you in feeling better… • Get physical — Take a walk, practise yoga, shoot a basketball, or run. All are ideas for what you can do. Try to convert your bad feelings into something that releases your feelings. • Breathe deeply — First, get comfortable. Then slowly take in deep breaths, breathing in from your abdomen. This helps to calm your mind. Check your muscle tension for your shoulders and neck. As you start relaxing picture a peaceful scene, centre your thoughts on positive aspects of your life • Talk to someone — Whether it’s a trusted friend or professional, you need to talk out your feelings before you can heal • Journal and write your feelings — Writing out your feelings on paper is an excellent way to manage your emotions especially if you don’t have someone that you could talk to. You don’t have to show anyone what you wrote. It’s just between you and God. Then, after you’ve released what’s bothering you, simple tear up the paper.

Comfort and reassure yourself by the following: • Talk to yourself as you would for a friend. Be gentle and kind. • Reassure yourself with whatever you need to hear, for example, “I’m okay, I’m safe.”

• Relax in a comfortable place in your home with a warm drink, a good book, or watch a programme on TV. • Do something nice for yourself. Treat yourself to something special, take a bath, go to a spa, or buy something. • Talk to a supportive friend. Ask for what you need.

Take a break from your feelings: Sometimes

feelings become overwhelming and you need a break from them. This doesn’t mean denying that they are there however it only means that you need a break and you will come back to them later when you are relaxed and have more energy. After taking a break go back to your feeling and you might be surprised how different it is.

Remember times when you felt good: Relax and get comfortable. Remember a time when you felt good, loved or calm. It could be something that really happened, or something that you create, like being near a wonderful view. Imagine being in this situation or with this person, and feel all of those pleasant feelings. Feel your body shift from what you were feeling, letting those feelings go. Let yourself feel more relaxed, comforted or at peace. Stay with this memory or image until you feel really connected to it. This will help you release your negative feelings.

Change your routine: If you have been at home or in the same room a lot, maybe you need to get out, even if only for a walk in an open area. Change your routine so if you always go home after work only to feel stuck in your feelings, maybe you need to do something different like going to dinner or visiting your friends, something that makes you feel good. Doing things to take care of yourself alone may be better than going home. Changing your routine can be a key to how you feel.n

FEBRUARY 2010 71


Wellbeing

Love is Life

Love makes us see how infinite the canvas of life is and how much it is loaded with potential. Love opens up vistas of knowledge that takes away the fear that normally accompanies ignorance says Dr Prema Seshadri.

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I

t’s amazing how animals can bring messages to you in the most silent way. Nobody can teach you the most important lesson of living in the present moment better than animals can. Just as much as they impart a spiritual learning, they can also teach you how to be street-smart. The cats that have taken over the garbage bins in your neighbourhood is testament to that incredible skill, barring the non-learners, of course, who face an early exit under the wheels of a moving vehicle. Even the flies, which have suddenly invaded our city, seem to have improved their speed skill. And when it comes to the expression of love, nothing can out-beat house pets. Dog, cat, and horse lovers would vouch for that in an instant. The wagging of a tail with that incessant barking when you enter your home could never jar your nerves. The purring of your cat — and it doesn’t matter if it’s of an elite breed or a desert variety — as s/he sits on your lap can never make you hot and uncomfortable even in our most fiery summer months. That’s what love is all about for these animals. They are our best teachers. And here’s the cherry on top — they don’t charge you a penny for these lessons! Two days ago, on a sheer whim, I decided to welcome a new member into the family — a six-month old Siberian Husky! If it were just he at home, I wouldn’t have fretted. But this was in addition to other four-legged members that I already have — both the feline and canine types! And from the word go, the new entrant has turned their lives upside down. I am, of course, left to juggle not just their lives, but mine too! There was only one thing that we had to remember to do: make sure that each one of them was loved — loved well and loved equally. I knew that would, at the end, ease out their insecurities and calm their heart rates. One morning, armed with this knowledge, I went down to feed my twelve-year-old cat, for whom nothing is more important than food! But here I was proved wrong. He didn’t even sniff at the bowl. He sidled up to me as I sat on my haunches and then began a warm, loving re-bonding session. We cuddled. We spoke and listened to each other. He began to purr again. And I knew he would be alright. That’s all that all in the animal kingdom want — to love and be loved. It is hard to peg love down as an emotion or a feeling. It’s not. Just as much as we are made up of blood and tissues and skin and cells, we are also made up of love. When a toddler goes towards an object that could cause him physical hurt, we would bark out an order, and lo, the child now understands and exhibits fear or revulsion. But I can’t quite think of an instant when he has to be taught to love. Love your carrots and potatoes, cook them and place them in front

of your child, he will love it too. Because he doesn’t know otherwise! Dislike the mother-in-law, and your dread of her visit will communicate to the child. And lo, the child does not like the grandmother! Love exists. But its manifestation will depend entirely on its conditioning. Here is a beautiful thought: look around you and you see that everything is created out of love. It is impossible to be creative when there is no love. Sadness is a by-product of love. As is hate! When we love something and are not able to obtain that state of mind or expression thereof, it is manifested as sadness or even depression. Thus the most brilliant artists and writers have even created from a space of utter despair. The presence of an object of love automatically denotes a complementary state of hate where there is an absence of that object. So, love is that trigger to every little thing in this existence. That is how innate love is in our lives. It can never be an emotion. It can only just be our nature. Man exists because he lives without hope, without seeing that proverbial pot at the end of the rainbow. He begins to live, goaded and guided by the love that rides piggyback on his spine. That love gives him the energy to see beyond what his mortal eyes can see. Love makes him see how infinite the canvas of life is and how much it is loaded with potential. It makes him reach out to every little aspect of life — the known and the unknown — because love opens up vistas of knowledge that takes away the fear that normally accompanies ignorance. It’s a challenging time that the world is going through. The waters are dark with anxiety about the future. It’s murky with uncontrolled desires. It’s dense with the ever-spiralling responsibilities that hold no joy. And contradictorily, in a world that has come right into our bedrooms, we feel an isolation that is frightening. We need to expand our world, we need to stretch our hands out, and we need to unite with a closing world that is slipping out of our hands at a mercurial speed. We need to love and be loved to bring back sanity at these most difficult times — to both our lives and to the world around us.n

FEBRUARY 2010 73


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FEBRUARY 2010 75


beauty

BEAUTY ZONE

Your

checklist... All the beauty stuff you simply must have…

Rebuild & Renew

You can’t stop ageing, but you can fight it! La Prairie’s new Anti-Ageing Collection is a multi-tasking treatment system that is designed to be used early on — even before any evidence of ageing skin becomes obvious — or anywhere along the way where these products intercede at the cellular level, where the aging process begins. They act to intercept and prevent, renew and maintain, rebuild and rehabilitate your skin. The Anti-Ageing Day Cream SPF 30 provides defence against harmful UVA and UVB sunrays with four effective UV filters, while effectively safeguarding your skin against environmental pollutants and free radicals, all of which contribute to premature aging. The perfect night-time complement for it is the Anti-Ageing Night Cream SPF 30 that renews skin while the body is at rest. AM says: Pamper your skin!

Colour of Elegance

Illustrate the finest moments of life with these soft colours from the Chanel Spring 2010 Make up Collection. Shades blossom around beiges, browns and khaki, creating a beautiful homage to beige, the colour of absolute elegance. Natural tones revive your complexion, capturing the light, illuminating your eyes and softening your cheekbones. There is a luxurious, silky powder for your face, shades of beige for your lips, unique shades for the nails, Joues Contraste, Poudre Universelle Compacte for the complexion and contrasts of eye shadows for your eyes. AM says: Try the gentle elegance of neutrals.

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Go Gold

Gold is definitely the ‘in’ colour this season! And it’s reached your bathroom too! Sephora’s Oh My Gold Limited Edition Bath Collection unleashes an exquisite range that comprises a Fragrance, Bath and Shower Gel, Body Lotion and Body Scrub. The highlight of the collection is a golden shower gel! Try all of them! It’s pure pleasure for the skin… AM says: Time to add some major bling-bling to your bath-time.

Lash Stuff

Now, you can get your mascara to do more than just plump up the volume. Volume Glamour Ultra Care Mascara from Bourjois volumises your lashes, protecting them from environmental factors while being gentle on even the most sensitive eyes. It combines volume and care thanks to cotton and sweet almond oils, and a new curved brush with super-soft bristles. Its creamy and ultra enveloping balm texture shapes, separates and smoothes lashes from root to tip protecting them from pollution, rubbing or air-conditioning. AM says: Give your eyes the style and comfort they deserve.

Smokin’!

Smouldering and sultry eyes are a key beauty trend this season. Cosmetic brand Smashbox has launched three new eye products, each designed to help you create this on-trend look. The Eyelights Smokebox palette contains colour-coordinated, mega-watt shades to light up your eyes for a perfect sultry, smoky look. The Smashbox Lash DNA Mascara is packed with proteins and amino acids that bind to your lashes for genetic defying length and strength. And finally, the Cream Black Eye Pencil is an ultra-creamy eye liner pencil in deep vibrant black that perfectly complements the rest of the shades your eyes. AM says: This trio makes you smouldering hot!

The Magic of Musk

Sparkle & Shine

Is it a powder compact, a jewel or a lipstick? Presenting the Rouge G Le Brilliant — a work of art from Guerlain’s new Printemps/Spring 2010 collection. The original creamy richness of Rouge G is paired with light, shiny shades. At the heart of the formula is ruby powder, a precious ingredient that lends Rouge G Le Brilliant a spectacular sparkle! It embellishes your lips and adorns them with a jewel-like shine. Also in the same collection is KissKiss Strass, a new lipstick with a scintillating shine — like a river of rhinestones! AM says: Go with the beautiful poetic flow…

One of the most important elements in the perfumer’s palette is musk. Tom Ford weaves its new collection around musk by introducing the Tom Ford Private Blend White Musk Collection. These are four distinctive fragrances that include Tom Ford Private Blend White Suede that explores the masculinefeminine tension of musk combined with soft leather; Tom Ford Private Blend Musk Pure, an exercise in sublime simplicity; Tom Ford Private Blend Jasmine Musk that wraps rich floral notes around a musky heart and Tom Ford Private Blend Urban Musk that reveals the opulent, Oriental tones of musk. AM says: Explore the rich fragrance of musk, in four different ways.

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CUISINE

Beyond Kimchi Discover the wonders of Korean cuisine with Myung-Sook Choi, wife of HE Sung-Hwan Cho, the Ambassador of the Republic of Korea to the Sultanate.

F

ood is an important part of any culture. It’s a tradition that’s passed down from generation to generation… In some countries, it’s almost a religion and symbolises hospitality at the highest level. In others, it’s an indicator of its geographical or historical status…

is an important part of the culture. And we must admit here that we plunged headlong into the idea with a very limited knowledge of its cuisine… maybe except for the occasional complimentary kimchi that graced our tables at our favourite Chinese restaurant.

Food may be a basic need according to Maslow’s Hierarchy of Needs, but it is nevertheless, what we also know each country of the world by… What would India be without its ‘curry’ connection, Japan without its delectable ‘sushi’ or Italy without ‘pasta’?

But we could not have placed ourselves in better hands than Mrs Myung-Sook Choi, wife of the Ambassador of the Republic of Korea to the Sultanate — HE Sung-Hwan Cho. When we suggested the cuisine theme to her, she acquiesced immediately despite her hectic schedule.

Our sumptuous journey around the world this time stops at the Republic of Korea where, just like the rest of the world, food

No knowledge of what was in store meant going into the experience with a clear mind, ready to absorb all things new! We

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were welcomed warmly by Myung-Sook who also took great pains to explain the intricacies of her ‘diverse and colourful’ cuisine. Myung-Sook was not very fond of cooking when she was young and only took to it in a big way after marriage and children. Born and brought up in South Korea’s capital city, Seoul, she completed her studies in Commercial Design from an art school. This couple have been married for over 25 years now and his career as a diplomat has taken them to countries like Japan, Turkey, the US, South Africa and New Zealand. Going back to the topic of food, what is most special about Korean cuisine is


that it’s mostly based on natural tastes — strong and light, fresh and spicy. Koreans often say that food is like medicine and the body and Earth are one. In other words, good food offers more than just flavour, and the ingredients that come from the Earth are the best for one’s health. “Korean food is a balanced combination of seafood, meat, rice and vegetables, though the preparation and ingredients may differ from region to region,” says Myung-Sook. She also tells us more about the traditional daily meal. Koreans were used to eating a hearty breakfast of rice flour porridge or rice cakes with honey. But MyungSook says that this practice has now been replaced by a Western-style breakfast.

Lunch is usually noodles, seafood, vegetables and rice. Dinner is elaborate with kimchi stew, rice and other side dishes. Korean cuisine also uses a lot of vegetables and kimchi (pickled dish, usually with cabbage) is served at every meal. Dessert is normally sweet rice cakes and a drink like Sujunggwa (see recipe). “In Korean food, all the dishes are served at the same time, not course by course. A typical meal normally includes rice, soup and several side dishes, the number of which may vary,” says Myung-Sook. The family is partial to Korean food at home though they do enjoy trying out different cuisines outside. Myung-Sook likes Turkish food very much. In Oman,

she has tried the shuwa (traditional Omani lamb dish). When we stepped into the dining room for our photo-shoot, we were amazed to see a riot of colours on the plates. The vegetables and meat sliced super-thin… the intricate presentation… all very eye-catching! The Koreans definitely pay great attention to the way in which food is served. And once we started sampling the dishes, we found it tasted every bit as delicious as it looked! So here’s the best from Korean cuisine, in its authentic and tastiest form. We hope you will enjoy every bit as we did. Bon Appétit or as they say in Korean — Jal Meokkesseumnida!

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From Myung-Sook Choi’s kitchen…

Serves: 4

Milssam

(A colourful appetiser or side dish)

150 gm beef 5 shiitake mushrooms, thinly sliced ½ cucumber ½ carrot, sliced 1 cup flour Vegetable oil for frying 1 tbsp sesame seed oil Salt to taste ½ tbsp garlic 1 ½ tbsp soya sauce ½ cup carrot juice ½ cup spinach juice 1 ¼ tbsp sugar A few spring onions

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Cut beef into thin strips and marinate for a little while with a tablespoon of soya sauce, a tablespoon of sugar, half a tablespoon of sesame seed oil, half a tablespoon garlic and sauté in a pan. Sauté thinly sliced mushrooms with half a tablespoon of soya sauce, half a tablespoon of sesame oil and one-fourth tablespoon of sugar in a pan. Peel the cucumber and cut into very thin strips (do not use the flesh); peel the carrot and cut into thin strips as well. Add a little salt to it.

different types of batter to make small thin rounds, around 10 cm in diameter and pan fry. When cooked, remove from pan.

For the crepes: Divide one cup of flour into three equal parts in three separate bowls. In the first bowl, add salt and carrot juice to form batter. To the second, add salt and spinach juice. To the third bowl, just add salt and water to form a paste. Now you have red, green and white coloured pastes. Heat a little vegetable oil in a pan, use the

To serve: Arrange the coloured crepes on a plate. Place a little of the sautéed mushrooms, a little of the sautéed beef, the sliced carrot and cucumber on the side. On the crepe, add the beef, carrot and cucumber strips. Gently roll into spring roll shape and tie up with a long sliver of spring onion leaf. Serve hot with mustard sauce.

For the mustard sauce: 1 tbsp mustard paste (available readymade) ½ tbsp sugar 2 tbsp water ½ tbsp vinegar To prepare the mustard sauce: Mix all ingredients well and set aside.


Serves: 4

Sinseollo (Korean Hot Pot)

For the meat balls: 4 ounces finely chopped beef 3 tbsp flour 1 egg, lightly beaten Salt & pepper to taste Oil for frying Combine chopped beef, flour, egg, salt and pepper and mix well. Divide mix into 16 small pieces and shape each piece into a ball. Place in a well-oiled pan and fry until brown. Set aside. For the egg strips: 4 eggs Oil for frying Separate the yolks from the whites. Whip the yolks together. Add the yolks to a lightly oiled pan, tipping the pan to spread it and cook until lightly browned on both sides. When cool, cut into roughly 1/8 inch wide strips and then again into one and a half inch lengths. Repeat the whole process with the egg whites. Set aside. For the cod: 2 tbsp flour 2 eggs, beaten 4 ounces peeled and sliced cod Salt & pepper to taste Oil for frying Sprinkle salt and pepper on the sliced cod. Set

aside. Beat eggs. Further thinly slice the cod, and dredge each slice through flour, dip in egg and quickly fry in a slightly oiled pan until golden brown. Set aside. For the broth/soup: 4 ounces beef ½ medium-sized onion 4 cloves fresh garlic 2 cups beef stock Salt to taste Water as required Thinly slice the beef. Slice onion into half from top to bottom. Thinly slice garlic from top to bottom. Add sliced beef, garlic, onion and beef to a pot. Add just enough water to obtain a clear soup consistency. Add salt. Bring to boil on high flame, reduce heat and then let it simmer for 10 minutes. Later, remove beef from stock. Set aside. For beef strips: 4 ounces beef Salt & pepper to taste Oil for frying Sprinkle salt and pepper over beef and set aside for half an hour. Slice the beef and cut into very thin strips. Place beef in lightly oiled pan and fry until brown. Set aside.

For other additions: a medium-sized carrot a bunch of Korean parsley 1/2 medium-sized onion 6 leeks 12 shiitake mushrooms Oil for frying Cut the mushrooms and the carrot into 1/8 by 1 ½ inch strips. Remove leaves from the bunch of parsley and cut into one and half inch lengths. Cut leeks into half from the bottom to top and then cut into one and a half inch lengths. Thinly slice half the onion and brown in a slightly oiled pan. Set aside. For the garnish: 15 shelled and chopped walnuts To serve: In a small candle-lit round hot pot, arrange the cod, leeks, mushrooms, egg white strips, parsley, carrot strips, onion strips, beef strips, egg yolk strips and beef slices lengthwise from the outside pointing towards the centre, each ingredient slightly overlapping the other. Scatter chopped walnuts and meatballs over the top. Gently pour the stock in the pot. Serve hot.

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Serves: 4

Sujunggwa (A refreshing beverage) 4-5 dried persimmons 5-6 cinnamon sticks ½ cup ginger, sliced 1 cup sugar A few pine nuts 7 cups of water

Photography: Rajesh Burman Cor-ordinated by: Rekha Baala

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In a pot, add ginger, cinnamon sticks, and water and boil for 20 minutes on high flame. Lower to medium heat and boil for another 25 minutes. Add sugar, stir well and let it cool. Remove cinnamon sticks and sliced ginger from the tea using a colander. Pour into a glass bowl. Meanwhile, remove stem from each persimmon and wash well. Add the persimmons to the tea. Cover and cool in refrigerator for at least 12 hours. To serve, pour a ladleful of the tea into a small punch bowl. Add ice cubes, the persimmon from the tea and garnish with chopped pine nuts.


FASHION

Très Jolie!

As seasons change, so does fashion... And these outfits and accessories from Promod’s Spring Collection pack a load of panache and are just perfect for Valentine’s Day! Also presented are hip, funky accessories from Parfois. These looks are très chic, très jolie (very pretty) and totally unforgettable in every way! 84 FEBRUARY 2010

Forget the hints, simply invite him to your fave mall and show him what you want.... Rock the 80s vibe in this distressed denim jacket. Team it with a floaty dress and ruched ankle boots. The chunky neck-piece and earrings from Parfois and a simple handbag from Promod only add to your overall charm... Location: The Bareeq Al Shatti entrance


Arrived a little early for the date? Get a vantage point and show off the jersey knit top embossed with sequins that’s teamed with a floaty sheer tank top. Wear them with these distressed skinny jeans and you will be bang on, both on trend and attitude! The long chunky beaded necklace, earrings and handbag from Parfois complete the look... Location: Bareeq Al Shatti

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Who says he doesn’t like chocolates? Surprise him with his favourites... Get gorgeous in this vibrant showstopper of a dress with the boat neckline and sleeves with tabs. Location: The Patchi Store, Bareeq Al Shatti

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Stop for a refreshing drink, give him a break from all the shopping too! Get gorgeous in this pretty floral dress with ribboned detailing on the neck and skirt. Team that up with simple accessories from Parfois. Location: The Abala Cafe, Bareeq Al Shatti

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Dress to impress in this fabulous graphic print frock! Complete the cool, casual look with accessories and a small bag from Parfois as you shop for the perfect gift for him. Location: The Porsche Design Store, Bareeq Al Shatti

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Co-ordinated by Model Make-up Hair Makeup products from Photographer

: Rana Alawneh : Michelle : Mayada Al Maimani : Malika : Bourjois : Rajesh Burman

Special thanks Porsche Design, Patchi, Abala Cafe, Bareeq Al Shatti and Grand Spa.

Add a romantic splash to your wardrobe... Cut a pretty picture in this frilly sleeveless top with a wrapover jumper with a mohair effect. Pair it with a floral skirt. The suede-like heels from Promod and funky jewellery from Parfois form the perfect accessories. Just the right look to get him to pamper you with gifts and more gifts... Location: Bareeq Al Shatti

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stars foretell this month...

STARGAZING

What the Aries

As the New Year progresses, your energies are on the ascent! You’ll also find answers to many problems in both your professional and personal life. There will be a turnaround of sorts at the workplace. Don’t be too prompt to offer your opinion. Stop and listen to what others are saying. This is the time to develop your creativity and make some changes to your image.

Taurus

Finance is now your primary source of concern. But don’t worry too much, things will fall into place as days go by. The month of love is exciting, you will be sharing some ‘quality time’ with a loved one… and taking a break from the ordinary routine. It’s time to rethink your attitude toward money and possession… and look at life in altogether different light.

Gemini

Keeping an eye on the cash flow, when your friends are making the most of the fun times can be a little dreary. But don’t despair because you’ll soon be off on a bigger and better holiday. By mid-February, a lot of things will fall into place and that includes money as well. Your love life is going good… so make this Valentine’s Day really very special.

Cancer

You’re full of life this month, but what exactly are you gaining from your hyper stance? There’s a chance you’ll be getting little in return for all your efforts. You’re likely to feel all hot and bothered this February, but don’t let problems go to your head. Keep calm and devote your attention to your spiritual life and your inner being. The goal is emotional stability.

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Leo

You’ll make new friends and see old friendships differently. This will help you to recognise the values that are most important to you and to see how much in common you have with your friends. You adore attention and there’s no shortage this month, but you’re generous with your praise too and people will love to bask in the warm glow you’re emitting.

Virgo

Strong undercurrents from other people are making you feel a little on edge. You’re acting a bit out of character too. But fret not. You’ll be able to smooth over any brewing trouble with soothing words. Those dulcet tones are especially going to come in useful with a special someone. Go ahead; switch on your charm offensive!

Libra

The world’s your stage and you’re ready to set it on fire. You’re all set to take the plunge with someone special. This passion will echo in all aspects of your life from your personal life to your workplace. This is an important month in an important year for you. Confidence is on a high… and the world loves you!

Scorpio

A powerful and meaningful connection with someone is on the cards. Be ready to be loved and adored throughout the month. External experiences with people will allow you to see your role in a comprehensive way. You may be tempted to take a big financial risk this month, so try and practice extreme caution.

Sagittarius

You’re a bubbling cauldron of energy as you bounce from one task to another this month. Watch out for ego clashes with other strong personalities who want the limelight too. Romantic escapades are happening for Valentine’s Day…. You’re a born traveler and this a great time to indulge!

Capricorn

The month begins with a feeling of harmony and balance and you’ll be feeling a bit more confident than before. You’ll feel at ease expressing your deep feelings to your loved ones. However, as the month progresses, there is a possibility of some tension between your work and domestic life. But it’s only a storm in a teacup… if you look at it in a positive way.

Aquarius

Things that you normally take for granted could be fraught with complications and upset this February. Try not to put your finger in too many pies. No one is expecting miracles; so please slow down. Relationships will take a serious turn and this will assume prime focus… you should be able to start seeing the situation more clearly. Avoid arguments with your loved ones.

Pisces

This is a good month for you to pour your energy into sorting out your financial matters and making your cash work harder for you. Get wise with your dough, so that you can have a better tomorrow. Money equals freedom this month so be ready to surprise your Valentine with a quick getaway.


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