From the Desk JUNE 2009 Vol 7 No 73 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 : Armando L. Buenagua
DESIGN CREATIVE DIRECTOR Armando L. Buenagua ART DIRECTOR Sandesh S. Rangnekar DESIGNERS Aliya Al Waheibi Rashida SENIOR PHOTOGRAPHER Rajesh Burman PHOTOGRAPHER Sathyadas C. Narayanan PRODUCTION MANAGER Govindraj Ramesh ADVERTISING & MARKETING GROUP ADVERTISING MANAGER Mimi Deb ASSISTANT ADVERTISING MANAGER Benu SENIOR MEDIA EXECUTIVES Fareeda Sulaiman Al Balushi Gulnar CORPORATE CHIEF EXECUTIVE OFFICER 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: firstname.lastname@example.org All rights reserved. No part of this publication may be reproduced without the express permission of the publishers. Copyright © 2009 United Press & Publishing LLC Printed in the Sultanate of Oman at Oman Printers & Stationers
EARTH = HOME Almost all packaging for almost anything we buy is either plastic, plastic-coated or is packed into plastic containers. We use so many forms of plastic in our homes. So much of our food is wrapped in plastic. We carry parcels wrapped in plastic in plastic bags, we even drink water from plastic bottles… Plastic pretty much dominates our lives, doesn’t it? Did you know that over a million plastic bags are produced per minute worldwide? Did you also know that most plastic bags do not biodegrade easily? They break down into smaller, toxic bits, contaminate the soil and water; often times animals ingest them. Sounds cruel, doesn’t it? Well it is! We literally are choking our planet with plastic. And we have pretty much no practical solutions for disposing off all this plastic we use. The theme for World Environment Day 2009 which falls on June 5 is ‘Your Planet Needs YouUnite to Combat Climate Change’. And that’s exactly what we need to do. Things happen on a macro-level but we need to unite as a family, as a community, as a neighbourhood, as colleagues, as an organisation, as a city and as residents of a beautiful country that is blessed with an abundant and beautiful marine life, a rich and diverse landscape and an incredible, unspoilt beauty that once lost will be lost for ever. Do what you can, get others to join you, be an influence on everyone around, inspire others by example — at the end of the day you’re making an attempt to save the only home you have — EARTH! Our Cover Story offers some suggestions and ideas and shows you how you can be more responsible and accountable for the environment around you. You will enjoy reading it. The rest of the issue, full of entertaining features and informative regulars, is just as interesting. We know you will enjoy that too. We’ll see you next month; until then, stay cool (literally and figuratively!), people…
FeatureS 28 Presenting four of Oman’s most
popular RJs from Al Wisal.
68 Practical ideas for your home and you…
The reigning queen of American country music: Taylor Swift
Al Mar’a test-drives the new Mercedes Benz E300.
36 Hot shop of the month — Organic House.
What’s new at…
Home Centre at Centrepoint. Classic decorative pieces!
My City, My Life
26 Meet Malik Al Hinai,
46 Where expats share sweet
Try out the ‘Zumba’, the fitness rage sweeping across the world!
World Environment Day 2009
Meet the recipient of the Environment Personality of the Year — Her Highness Sayyidah Tania Bint Shabib Al Said, President of the Environment Society of Oman.
66 A Q & A session with Dr
Smita Lulla, Obstetrician & Gynaecologist.
16 A few tips to guide you on ‘the green way to life’…
Kamal Khimji on her passion for plants, environment issues and ‘Mission Green Earth’.
18 How far down the ‘green’ Environmentally friendly products for your home and you.
memories of home… Why Corryanne Draper loves Amsterdam any time of the year!
road are you? Take the quiz and find out…
MANDATE Director, Bait Al Baranda
41 The Grand Hyatt Wedding
60 Dr Prema Seshadri on the
connection between wellness and the environment.
72 Lorna Guckian on British
cuisine, sensible cooking and much more… Cook up a typical lazy Sunday British meal.
For the Foodie
58 ShangThai — your answer to cravings of the Asian flavour!
In Every Issue
> Your Say > News, Etc. > Books, Movies & More… > Stargazing
Celebrating the return of Gold to fashion. Ensembles by Wafa Balaswad
Fashion & Beauty Fashion Plus
48 How to look gorgeous in photographs too! Splurge
38 Swarovski Spring-Summer 2009 collection of jewellery, handbags and accessories.
42 Ready-to-wear, shoes and jewellery from Clarks, Morgan Jewellery & Longchamp.
JUNE 2009 5
70 The beauty booty checklist…
YOUR SAY PRIZE-WINNING LETTER
All-Rounder First of all my heartiest birthday wishes to this sweet little kid! My heartiest congratulations to Team Al Mar’a on your successful completion of six sweet years! May this cute kid grow and celebrate many more successful years. The 6th Anniversary issue included all the details of health, wealth, technology and automotive, and left no stone unturned. I am very happy to say that the May issue was ‘an all-rounder of an is sue’. There is one saying that all that glitters is not gold but each and every page of Al Mara can be called a Golden Page because each page has great value in it. I am proud to say that I am an Al Mara reader! Indu Anand Wadi Kabir
The Real Meaning
This is what Al Mar’a means to me A-Amazing — almost all your editions are interesting and educative… L-Lucky — like a friend… M-Marvellous — a magazine of immense value… A-Appreciate — articles very enlightening and informative… R-Researched — magazine well-written and your efforts are worth appreciating… A-Awareness — you bring… May your magazine keep the good work going, and we, your readers, will do you proud! Jacintha Gonsalves Muscat
What a whopper of an anniversary issue! You connected the ‘Six Degrees of Separation’ theory so well! I simply loved the pieces especially the ones written by the guest writers. Each one was informative and very enlightening. I especially liked the concept of Wellness as explained by Dr. Prema Seshadri. Wellness is certainly all about women’s health and therefore it is imperative, in this multi-tasking world to also have some ‘MeTime’ for ourselves! There is no better way of rejuvenation that looking deep within ourselves and be responsible for oneself. Looking forward to more such articles of this kind! Rasha Al Riyami Al Khuwair
Breath-taking! Your beauty pages simply took my breath away! What a gorgeous make-up feature! Each one highlighted the make-up collection so well. And apart from that, I really enjoyed every section
Address your letters to: The Editor, Al Mar'a, United Media Services, PO Box: 3305, Ruwi, Sultanate of Oman or fax us at 24707939 or email us at email@example.com
Diverse and Different Your anniversary issue provided exhaustive reading material. Bright and attractive visuals, an international-style layout all added to the overall charm. I am glad that someone finally understood that women love ‘gadgets and gizmos’ and know ‘their cars very well’. And that a woman is not all about beauty and fashion only! Diverse interests hold her attention and Al Mar’a has understood it very well. Kudos to a woman’s magazine that goes into the core of a woman’s heart and understands every aspect of her life. Here’s wishing you many more years of success! Nabiha Al Kindi Qurum
Thank you so much. It is responses such as these that make us work harder and better. Do keep writing in. The best letter will win a gift every issue.
of your anniversary issue. Yup! These are six material things we cannot do without... And as a modern woman striving to reach the top in the modern world, your six sections definitely make a lot of sense. Nice concept and execution! Keep it up Al Mar’a! Soumya Jairam Ruwi
You inspire, you enlighten, you educate and you enthral! Al Mar’a celebrates the different shades of a woman in every sense. And your anniversary issue is proof enough of being in step with today’s woman! From technology, fashion, beauty, automotive, health to wellness... you had all the material aspects covered with ‘practical sense of reason’. It’s all about living life on your own terms, and still reaching out to many others in ways possible. That’s the true essence of today’s woman and Al Mar’a brings this out in full measure. Diane Richards Al Ghubra
Classy and chic
Did you know that the Lexus RX350 has been a consistent top seller, a segment leader and a trendsetter? Well, check this out. It is fitted with a 3.5 litre V6 engine and all-aluminium engine with dual variable valve timing – intelligent (VVT-i) it produces 298 horsepower at 6,200rpm and 34.8kg-m of torque of 4,700 rpm. It is a serene, silent cruiser. The interior is of superb fit and finish quality with most comfortable seats in the class and high equipment levels. Take the beauty for a test drive right now!
Out-Of-This-World! This one was a luxurious experience in itself! Totally enthralling
and definitely exhilarating! We are talking about the ‘Drive of Distinction’, the exclusive invitation to drive three of the finest cars produced by Rolls-Royce — Phantom, Drophead and the Coupe. We spent more than an hour on the road taking turns to check out the three beauties, exploring their distinct character and driving dynamics. It was an unprecedented access to the three models that epitomised modernity, styling and technological sophistication of the 21st century Rolls Royce. Beginning from Al Bustan Palace Hotel and driving towards the Corniche and further up to the heights towards Qantab, we enjoyed every moment of the ride! And ‘the one moment’ that will forever remain in our memories? The drive back to the hotel in the Drophead, with our hair flying and the wind in our faces... a truly out-of-the-world experience!
Safety First It’s an established fact that the Renault ranks high on safety. But check this out... The Renault principle of safety is outlined in four basic points — Prevent, Correct, Protect and Educate. Renault provides equipment that performs auxiliary tasks automatically to promote the responsibility of drivers by warning them when they are not in a position to control their vehicle or when they put themselves in a position of potential danger. Also, there is no other brand that has been awarded a Five-star, Euro-NCAP rating to almost all of their models. We like this!
Hot Wheels Driving pleasure reaches Quick and Easy It’s quick, it’s reliable and it’s convenient! It’s the new ‘90 Minutes
Service’ launched by Audi Oman. Wattayah Motors now guarantees a standard vehicle service with oil change in only 90 minutes, provided that an advance booking is made, you land up on time and no additionals — like dent repair or parts exchange — are required. And while you wait, you can take a test drive too! That’s what we call real convenient!
a new high! Scorching the roads of Oman is Mazda’s latest, the redesigned MX-5 Retractable Hard Top (RHT). The All new MX-5 embodies refinements for an even purer experience of ‘Jinba Ittai’ — the unique feeling of oneness between driver and car that has distinguished the MX-5 since its inception. Key features include MZR 2.0L, I4, DOHC, 16-valve with 160 hp at 6,700rpm, 6-speed Activematic transmission with Active Adaptive Shift (AAS), Paddle Shift, 7 Speaker Bose system with 6CD MP3, etc. You really must head to the Mazda showroom and take a test drive, right now!
Lifestyle… The Wow Factor!
If you’re looking for new wrist-candy, look no further than salmanstores! They’ve recently introduced the Swiss-made, designer brand ‘Voila Watches’ at their showrooms in Qurum, and ‘elegance’ at the Al Araimi Complex. The House of Voila is a vertically-integrated design, development, and distribution studio, using globally sourced components, with production in Switzerland. Designed by Roger Khemlani, ‘Voila’ (an oft-repeated French expression meaning ‘behold’ in an exuberant way) is branded on revolutionary timepieces with elements of a ‘Wow’ or ‘Surprise’ in them. So check it out, it’s where you’ll find latest collections of ‘Voila’ such as V, Op-La, Time Flies and Superstar.
Busy as Bees
Mocktails are sooo last season… Try Nando’s Designer Drinks, seven fresh new flavours, with something for every taste. Each Designer Drink is unique; some with Brazilian heritage and some with a South African tea base in them. These include ‘Mango Mambo’ with coconut shavings, ‘Lorenzo Berry’ which has whole fresh berries and ‘Rooibos Refresher’, with sweet fragrant South African tea. Instore you can also win a shopping spree in a designer boutique. So get yourself into Nando’s and down some of the best drinks in town and if you’re lucky you’ll win some new threads too!
Not going on a long holiday this summer? Here’s how you can keep your kids occupied. The Grand Hyatt Muscat has teamed up with ‘Busy Bees’ for a Kids’ Summer Camp. Starting June 20, for eight weeks your children will be entertained every weekday from 9am to 1pm by a professional, hands-on team. Visiting cool places, baking cookies and cakes with the chefs, treasure hunts, art… are all on the agenda too! For more information, do contact the hotel.
Brands and More…
Did you hear that the sixth Khimji’s Bait Al Ahlam store was inaugurated at Al Ghubrah recently? The 550 sq.m spanking new showroom will display global brands like ROCA Sanitaryware from Spain, Air Conditioners from Fujitsu General, Japan, Classic Air Conditioners from Saudi Arabia, Premium Home Appliances from Siemens (Germany), Indesit (Italy) and Frigidaire (US) along with Modular Kitchens from Aran Cucine (Italy). They are backed by extensive product warranty and the assurance of pre and post-sales services. Go check it out…
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If you’ve been window-shopping for a new television you should know that LG has recently unveiled its New Scarlet LCD TV. LG has taken its TV design a step further with the global launch of a full HD LCD screen, the New Scarlet. It offers true sophistication and ultimate slimness. In addition to its sleek components measuring only 7mm thick, the New Scarlet LCD TV also features the relocation of the tuner, speaker and analogue components to the bottom of the TV, further slimming its frame. Oman Gulf Enterprises are the sole distributors of complete range of LG products in the Sultanate of Oman.
Des i g n er Delights
Fashionistas, take note, there is a new, multi-brand boutique in town. The White Gallery offers handbags, wallets and accessories from famous design houses such as Dior, Fendi, Gucci, Burberry, Celine, Aigner, etc. And the boutique which opened in October 2008, sure got a hearty welcome from its customers. In case you are one of the few who’ve not headed there — it’s located at the Qurum Commercial Center in Said Plaza and offers the latest collections of all the style gear you need. Head there now…
Sleek and Slinky
Speaking of high-end televisions in the market, Samsung recently launched a new line-up of advanced LED HDTVs. The new 6000 (available in 32’’, 40’’ and 46’’), 7000 (available in 40’’, 46’’ and 55’’) and 8000 (available in 55’’) LED Series build upon the success of Samsung’s first and second generation LED HDTV models. Each using LEDs as their primary light source, the televisions all feature ultrahigh contrast ratios as well as slim depths that allow for more artful designs, plus increased energy savings. They’re available in all major electronics outlets across Oman, spend some time to check this out as well.
Splash, the fashion arm of the Landmark Group launched its new look store at Centrepoint-Al Khuwair amid great fanfare, music and excitement. The new look store now has dedicated sections for different brands, a layout that makes it easier to shop and of course, a wider choice than ever before. A two-day extravaganza celebrated the store’s new makeover and now there’s yet another reason to celebrate! Splash also won the ‘Marketing Campaign of the Year’ award for the third consecutive year at the Retail ME Awards 2008!
Looking for a weekend getaway? Look no further than the sylvan surroundings of the Al Nahdha Resort & Spa. Now, there’s an even better reason to go there. Lip-smacking Lebanese food! Samar, the authentic Lebanese restaurant opened at the resort recently. Let’s tempt you with this info: Chef Ali, the Lebanese Chef whips up scrumptious delicacies like Beiruty Lobsters and Grilled Quail, and it goes without saying that the ambience is simply mesmerising and very welcoming.
Not Just Kitchens…
Looking for international custom kitchens right here in Oman? Here’s some good news! ARCA Cucine of Italy has appointed Sharikah Fanniyah Omaniyah (SFO) as their exclusive agent. For the uninitiated, ARCA Cucine is the leading, innovative Stainless Steel Kitchen cabinet manufacturer in Italy. The combination of Italian Design and Stainless Steel manufacturing experience sure produce beautiful kitchens; check it all out at the SFO showroom in Ruwi today.
12 JUNE 2009
Well, the good news is that mobile services just got better. ‘renna’ has entered the market as Oman’s newest mobile reseller with attractive options and innovative price plans. renna 6-6 is a classic peak/off-peak price plan that provides you with an extra low tariff of 38bz from 6pm. renna 24/7 is a ‘flat rate’ price plan that offers the same low price day and night Besides these, there are other innovative extra services too. The SIM cards can be bought at the low price of only RO2 with RO2 credit included. In addition, you get 20 free SMS!
Were you there at the American Women’s Group (AWG) spring luncheon last month? If not here’s how it went. It was held to coincide with Mother’s Day at the Tuscany, Grand Hyatt Muscat. Cheques to different charities were also given away on the occasion. Becky Grappo, wife of the US Ambassador to the Sultanate and a Professional Educator spoke on the topic: ‘How to Survive Getting Thrown Off the Train: A 12-step Survival Guide to landing on your feet when moving overseas’. She spoke on surviving transitions, changing identities from equal breadwinner to dependent spouse, learning to rely on newfound grounds to replace friends and family left behind and learning to develop resilience.
Here’s how you can add some flair to your writing or to your signature… Caran d’Ache, Maison de Haute Ecriture, enhances its famous hexagonal shape in the new Ecridor Rotation, the latest addition to the brand’s legendary collection of writing instruments. Inspired by ultra-modern buildings that move and rotate with gravity defying feats of engineering magic, the Rotation is dedicated to all lovers of modern architecture. It is silver-plated and coated with rhodium. The fountain pen uses cartridges or converter. For further info contact Khimji Watches.
Want the fullest lashes possible but don’t want that fake exaggerated look? Try the False Lash Effect Mascara from Max Factor. It gives your lashes a sweep of never-ending volume for a glamorous look you never thought your own lashes could give you. Unlike some other volumising mascaras that only create volume at the base, the patented liquid lash formula and Big Round Brush wrap each lash with volume right to the tips. For a false lash effect that is 100 per cent natural, get this.
Accolades, Achievements and Updates… Strokes and Songs
It was a wonderful evening where art and music came together to create magic! An exhibition of paintings by renowned Indian artist Kazi Anirban and a classical vocal recital by Indian artiste Rajysree Ghosh were the highlights of ‘Strokes and Songs that touch our Souls’, an event presented by the Indian Embassy in association with the ‘Bangiya Parishad’, the Bengali Wing of the Indian Social Club. Both Kazi’s paintings and Rajyasree’s music enthralled the audience. The official carrier for the event was Jet Airways. Other sponsors who supported this programme were Times of Oman, Bank Sohar, IMTAC, Shamel International, Allegro Communications and many well wishers.
This is such good news in today’s times! Renaissance Services has been pegged as “an oil field services provider shielded from the downturn” by the ‘Financial Times’ in a series of reports on successful businesses that are proving to be resilient to the recession! The London-based newspaper focused on Renaissance in its print edition, describing the company’s lucrative contracts in the Caspian and offshore prospects in the region in the nearly full-page story. Despite the hard hit to energy and shipping sectors in the global market, the report attested “the nature of Renaissance’s business will largely shield it from the economic downturn and volatile energy prices.” Renaissance CEO Stephen Thomas who was featured in the article was quoted saying, “The markets we work in have more than 50 per cent of the world’s hydrocarbon reserves and even when global energy demand is weak, there are still key projects going ahead in this region.” According to the report, regional analysts expect that the strength of the company’s marine business, clientele of industry majors and the locations which the group operates will contribute to a strong profit for Renaissance this year. Way to go!
Health for All This is CSR at its best! Oman Telecommunications Company (Omantel) and Oman Heart of the Matter
Information is the key towards good health. With that in mind, the Muscat Private Hospital recently conducted an open evening on cardiac surgery. The aim of the evening was to familiarise people with the entire ‘patient pathway’, which meant making people aware of what happens from the time they enter the hospital for a check-up until recovery. Doctors also elaborated on the Cardiac Surgery Programme and guests were also given a tour of the entire facility. People came away visibly less intimidated. Effective patient-friendly initiatives like this are nothing but really good!
Silk Route to Sohar
This is good news for all Sohar residents and for those visiting. Silk Route, the name that has stood for an authentic Oriental culinary experience in Muscat for 10 years, has now opened doors in Sohar at the Sohar Plaza. The menu at Silk Route is extensive. From crisp starters to prepare your appetite and main courses that fulfill you in every sense, to desserts that provide the best possible finishing touch, every meal is tailored for satisfaction. Dining here is such a delight!
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Mobile Telecommunications Company (Oman Mobile) recently sponsored the Muscat Health 2009 Festival, which was held at Al Sahwa Park in Seeb under the title, “Together we do better.” Oman Mobile’s pavilion at the festival included entertainment competition and education programmes. Children participated in different events and gifts were distributed among them. Initiatives like these certainly deserve praise.
Congrats! It’s raining awards for Shangri-La’s Barr
Al Jissah Resort and Spa! It’s been named Oman’s Leading Hotel and Oman’s Leading Resort during the World Travel Awards, Middle East, held in Dubai on 5 May 2009! Later in the same week, the hotel was presented the Customer Satisfaction Award Middle East 2008 by Expedia Inc, the world’s leading online travel company. Capping off this award-winning week, the hotel was also presented with the Silver Award in the category ‘Best Five-Star Leisure Hotel’ at the 6th Annual Middle East and North Africa Travel Awards (MENA) 2009.
• Use alkaline manganese batteries because they are free of toxic heavy metals. Switch to rechargeable batteries that save you more money. • Run full dishwasher loads. You will save more gallons of water per load. Avoid prerinsing if your dishwasher can handle it. • Use the right-sized pot on your burners and save more gas/electricity. • Don’t run the water while you brush. Use a glass of water for the purpose.
At Home — A Greener Lifestyle • Use compact fluorescent light bulbs instead of incandescent ones. This will reduce your energy costs and they also last longer than standard light bulbs. • Do not set your airconditioning very high. Every degree warmer you set your
16 JUNE 2009
thermostat in the summer and every degree cooler you set it in the winter will cut down your energy consumption costs. • Go vegetarian once in a while. Meat production uses eight times as much fuel energy as fruit and vegetable farming and generates a lot of environment pollution. • Don’t use plastic grocery bags. Carry your own cloth/ jute bags to the store. • Green your laundry by using detergents, fabric softeners and bleaches that are marked eco-friendly.
quality and irritate the skin and lungs. • Plain water on a cloth works great for the vast majority of dusting chores. If you need something more powerful, choose the least-toxic product for the job at hand. • Hang out your clothes to dry rather than putting them in the dryer. By hanging your clothes on a clothesline you will save a lot of energy and your clothes will last much longer. And with the weather coming to your aid, you don’t have to worry about your clothes not drying quickly.
At Work – For a Healthier Bottom Line
You don’t need to be a tree-hugger or an ecowarrior to bring ‘green’ into your life. ll it takes is some common sense, a little practicality and the will to preserve and conserve the environment. Here are a few tips to guide you on ‘the green way to life’…
Reuse water wherever possible. The waste water from doing dishes, laundry and showering can be used to water plants.
• Reuse water wherever possible. The waste water from doing dishes, laundry and showering can be used to water plants. • Use your microwave oven more often for cooking. They use less energy than traditional electric ovens and are faster and more efficient. • Do a little household maintenance from time to time. Check your hot-water heater, clean the air filters of your air-conditioners and vacuum the coils behind your refrigerator. Get them serviced regularly for optimum efficiency. • Try a solar power charger for all your gadgets. • Look for products free of added perfumes. Many scented products contain chemicals that can compromise indoor air
• Reduce the use of plastic/paper disposables by bringing in your own plates and coffee mugs to work. • Desktop computers can be replaced with a laptop that uses 70 per cent less electricity and generates less waste. • There aren’t many trees left in the world; so use less paper wherever possible. Do not print out documents that can be easily read or edited online. • Car pool to work wherever possible. This reduces carbon emissions, reduces traffic jams and provides ease in commuting. • Reduce company travel by encouraging employees to video conference wherever possible. • Turn your computers off when not in use. • Place bins in convenient areas where fax paper, junk mail can be placed. This paper can be recycled. • Place plants around your work area to make it greener. Avoid plastic flowers. • Turn off the lights if you are away from your workstation for more than 15
minutes. When there is enough natural light coming in, you could even switch off the lights for longer periods of time.
For Travel – Reduce Your Carbon Footprint • Aeroplanes burn the most fuel during lift-offs and landing. So book a direct flight to reduce both and decrease the total distance of travel. And try to save on air travel if you can drive. • If you are driving or renting out cars during travelling, choose a small hybrid car. • If you are booking your hotel, look up on environmentally friendly options on the Internet. Many hotels all over the world use alternative forms of energy, taking efforts to conserve fuel and save water. • A wonderful way to see a city is on foot, but if you can use a bicycle, there’s nothing like it. In countries, with small, winding streets, this is the best way to explore as many places as possible without the worry of parking. And not to forget, it offers you plenty of exercise too! • While travelling in a foreign country, use public transport wherever and whenever possible. Get a bus schedule from your hotel and plan an itinerary. Armed with a friendly map, this is one great way of going places. Simple, aren’t they? So, get going... and make your own little efforts towards making this world ‘greener’ and a ‘safer’ place to live in.n
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COVER STORY - QUIZ
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18 JUNE 2009
Your health… Our concern
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Green Custodian Her Highness Sayyidah Tania Bint Shabib Al Said was the recipient of the Environment Personality of the Year award recently. Al Mar’a salutes her work and honours the efforts of all the members of the Environment Society of Oman, doing their best to preserve the environment in the Sultanate of Oman.
he needs no introduction. Her Highness Sayyidah Tania Bint Shabib Al Said has been, for the past 15 years of her life, working on preserving the environment in the Sultanate of Oman. As the President of the Environment Society of Oman (ESO), H.H. Sayyidah Tania together with the members of the ESO is making every effort possible to spread awareness about Oman’s environment and to educate people in Oman about environmental issues, urging them to be pro-active and to help preserve the country’s rich heritage for future generations. So, then it comes as no surprise that she won the Environment Personality of the Year award at the GCC Environment Awards. Quite a feat, added that she was the only woman to be ever nominated to this category. The award ceremony was held on April 21 as part of a three-day summit on the environment, at the Al Bustan Palace Hotel. In an interview with Al Mar’a, H.H. Sayyidah Tania talks about her recent award, the efforts made by the ESO and the importance of being earnest in looking after your environment. Here are a few excerpts…
20 JUNE 2009
Congratulations on winning the Environment Personality of the Year award. Do you feel that it is a vindication of your efforts in spreading the cause of environmental awareness in Oman? “I was very honoured to be granted this award. I feel it is an award that is predominantly due to all those who have been part of the Environment society and the movement towards bringing environmental awareness and change in Oman. It is a collective effort of many, all of whom deserve recognition.”
The theme for World Environment Day 2009 is ‘Your Planet Needs You – Unite to Combat Climate Change’. What are your thoughts on this? “I feel that it is ‘us’ who have put all this pressure on the environment without enough concern on what the repercussions would be, so it is ‘collectively our duty’ to now work together to try and make a positive difference to combating climate change that is a result of our own actions.”
Could you please elucidate on some of the new projects that the ESO is working on? “a) Climate Change Awareness in government schools in collaboration with the Ministry of Education: simple tips that the kids can apply in their daily lives to minimise their CO2 emissions which lead to global warming. This project will be launched at the beginning of the academic year. b) Frankincense Research in Dhofar, where we will be studying the sustainable way and scale of the cutting of the frankincense tree, to retrieve the frankincense in such a way so as to maximise the yield, while at the same time preserve the health of the tree. c) In addition to these new projects, we have ongoing projects such as Turtle Conservation on Masirah Island, the Dimaniyat Islands Nature Reserve project, the Mooring Buoys Campaign, etc., which we implement in close collaboration with the Ministry of Environment and Climate Affairs.”
What is your take on alternative energy sources?
Though it is a viable, ‘green’ solution, nothing much is done in this regard in Oman. “There are some companies, here in Oman, that do provide solar solutions (such as the Oman Solar Systems). I believe that if it became mandatory for all new buildings to use solar energy as a source to heat water in a building, we would be taking a step in the right directions. It is a simple solution and a way to introduce renewable energy into individuals’ lives, and they will be able to see first-hand the savings they will make in the long run. In addition to solar energy, Oman might want to tap into its tidal and/or wave energy in the future.”
You have been working on preserving the environment in Oman for the past 15 years. How far do you think the ‘green’ revolution has made a change? And what are the changes? “I think that in Oman, the change has come on an individual basis. People are more aware than they were 15 years ago, as in general, the environment has taken an important role worldwide and it is definitely a more talked-about subject — in schools, amongst companies and industry, especially as people begin to see that the repercussions of doing nothing are bleak, and doing something is rewarded in the long run, as money is saved, resources are conserved and natural heritage is maintained”
How would you advise people to reduce their individual carbon footprint? “My advice would be that small and simple actions repeated by many make a change. So the basic advice — turn off lights when they are not in use, reducereuse-recycle, turn off the tap while you brush your teeth, buy local, share a ride… Although, these may seem simple, if repeated daily by many, they can cause a huge change.”n
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COVER STORY - Feature
‘Be Like a Flower’ She has a green thumb that extends far beyond her home and into the society at large… Kamal Khimji talks to Rekha Baala about her passion for plants, environment issues and ‘Mission Green Earth’…
think, meditate, or just spend a few hours daydreaming. There’s also that sense of accomplishment in a job well done… We spoke to Kamal Khimji, who has a delightful garden and a well-known green thumb, about plants and more. Here’s what she has to say…
Were you always interested in gardening and the ‘green’ cause? “I have always been interested in environmental issues. Gardening has been one of my passions. Though I moved to a place with a hotter climate, what I have tried to do over the years is to have
are good home remedies too. Some of these include the ajma (English borage) an excellent remedy for cold, adds a lot of flavour to salads, herbal tea and even pakoras (a crispy Indian snack). I have distributed a lot of these plants as gifts. Then there is the holy basil, the shrubby basil, sweet as well as bitter neem (an excellent antiseptic), mint and lemongrass that grow very well throughout the year. I make sure I use organic manure and as far as possible avoid using any chemicals on the plants.”
The flowers are very much in bloom too...
When you help nature, it helps you too!
What is ‘Mission Green Earth’? “We, at the Art of Living Foundation, have tied up with the Ministry of Environment to promote ‘Mission Green Earth’, a project with participation from around 25-30 schools. We go to schools and tell children why we need to grow plants and how they can help the environment. Our efforts are in teaching them to grow basil, mint, ajma and lemongrass at home. If they have a compound, they can also grow some local varieties of trees. Around 23,000 children stood up for the cause in Oman. We encouraged each one to take home a plant. We asked local nurseries to display plants in schools where children bought them. In smaller schools, we distributed the plants.”
Tell us more about growing plants the right way… “I would suggest try placing them in an area where there is adequate air and light coming in. There should not be too much heat. However, as most of our houses are air-conditioned, they are greenhouses in themselves. So there is scope for a wide variety of indoor herbal plants like mint, aloe vera, basil, ajma, etc. It is also easy to grow a small kitchen garden where children can be encouraged to grow coriander and fenugreek.”
What are the benefits of having and growing plants in your home?
ardening is a labour of love. Many people use gardening as a way to relax, relieve stress and enjoy the great outdoors. Even if you live in an apartment, you can still enjoy the benefits of gardening. From planting flowers to brighten up your home to an herb garden, the pleasure is simple but irreplaceable. For the benefits of gardening are not all in the body; they’re also in the mind. Tending your plants is a real stress buster; it helps relieve feelings of anxiety and provides a break from the general rush of life. Because the work involved is mainly physical, you have a chance to
a permanent garden with plants that last through all seasons. “My parents had farms in India — in Bangalore and Bhopal — and right from childhood, I have been interested in farming and agriculture. We also had a huge garden with lots of trees...”
You have a variety of herbs in your garden... “After joining the Art of Living movement, I have focused on plants that are not only useful but congenial to the environment we live in. These are plants that can be grown in pots and
“I have got quite a few varieties of flowering trees from India. The Parvathy flower grows very well here and so does the Frangipani. Bougainvillea, exora, the jasmine and the mogra flowers are also excellent for this climate.
How much time do you spend in your garden? “Here of course, I have somebody to tend to it. But I do spend a lot of time spreading the awareness of why we need to have a lot of plants around us. So I do not restrict myself to my personal garden. I have gone one step ahead.”
“By planting trees, the air becomes healthier and this reduces global warming. Our aim should be to plant sixteen trees in our lifetime, anywhere on the planet. This is a pledge we take from school children. When you help nature, it helps you too! When I am in my garden and I see a bud blossom, I feel very happy. Plants take you deeper into your own nature. They don’t do anything but give. You then understand your own duties in life and realise that you have to learn to be like that… to give and to serve! I relate very much to nature and feel very happy, calm and inspired to serve. I teach that in my classes too. Learn to be like a flower — calm, happy and peaceful and let your fragrance linger everywhere.”n
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Burt’s Bees: All-natural gorgeous skincare products that really work, in recycled packaging. Featured in the photo are two gift-boxes, avocado hair treatment, and apricot body oil.
Bergamot Tea Eau de Toilette from L’Occitane: This eau de toilette blends the subtle and intense aromas of black tea leaves with the finest bergamot: Calabrian bergamot — just like the greatest fragrant teas. Mandarin and grapefruit light up the sparkling nature of bergamot, heightened by a dash of cardamom, while the woody notes prolong the intensity of tea, creating an original trail of scent that is rich in contrasts! (Available at L’Occitane outlets at Qurum City Centre and Muscat City Centre)
Peppermint Purifying Foot Mask from The Body Shop: New, clay-based wash-off mask to deeply cleanse and soothe the feet. (Available at all Body Shop outlets)
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Revitalising Night Cream from Elicey A rich cream that works during the night while you sleep to replenish the skin. It contains carotene-rich unsaponifiable shea butter that softens, smoothes and promotes the absorption of active ingredients. (Available at Latafa, Markaz Al Bahja)
Smencils: Recycled colouring pencils infused with gourmet scents (cinnamon, chocolate, and loads more yummy flavours) that last for two years! Smencils are made from recycled newspaper. (Available at Pomegranate, Jawaharat A’Shatti)
EcoJot Recycled Journals: 100 per cent recycled, high-quality paper with gorgeous whimsical printed covers. The inks and all production processes are also eco-friendly. EcoJot also gives a sweat-shop free guarantee, so all workers involved in the manufacture have been paid fairly.
Presenting the male point of view… It tells us not all of them are from Mars!
The Man: Malik Fahmy Al Hinai, Older, Sane, Approachable and Mischievous. Career path: Getting more involved in the arts across the Sultanate. Mantra in life: Faith and Trust Chill-out zone: At home An ideal day would be: Doing absolutely nothing! Beats stress by: Learning to say ‘No’ occasionally. Can’t live without: My close friends Loves listening to: Ballads, Techno and Opera Being a father/husband means: Haven’t been privy to these roles. Right now he’s reading: The Veil and the Male Elite Dream destination: Anywhere in South America. A really cool movie: Rome as well as a documentary Lagerfeld Confidential Fave food: Can’t even utter their names due to high cholesterol. Women are: Courageous yet complicated. Last word: It’s better to be interested than interesting. 26 JUNE 2009
Salwa Said Al Shukaili
My show: The evening show, ‘On The Road’ from 5pm to 8pm except Fridays. There’s entertainment, information and off-beat stories too. I really enjoy the showbiz segment. The beginning: I have a background in acting and direction while I was in Kuwait for six years. I heard about Al Wisal and decided to apply. I joined the radio in October 2008. First moment on air: ‘Good evening, everyone!’ I was not nervous at all; I guess my career in acting helped. Gaffes/Goof-ups: Once the microphone fell on my nose. I was shocked. I was talking and laughing at the same time. Many listeners called to ask what happened. I told them the truth. Comments and compliments: I have had people call and say, ‘We are at the door. Can you open it?” Challenges: From the moment you become famous and well-known, there will be people competing with you. There are many other presenters who try and imitate my style. So my constant effort is to develop new styles and reach higher standards. For me, it is important not to give up on the first obstacle. I love my job a lot. I believe that the sky is the limit for Omani women like me, when given the right chances. Future plans: Everything will be a big surprise. And of course, I want to be world-famous!
Airwaves Their voices are so familiar, that’s because you hear them everyday! They make you laugh, they make you think, they make you smile… presenting four of Oman’s most popular RJs from one of Oman’s most popular FM stations — Al Wisal!
hey’re the latest entrants on the private FM radio scene in Oman. They’re Al Wisal and have completed a whole successful year on the airwaves. What sets this young Arabic radio station apart? We love everything about it, but what we love the most is its youthfulness! And playing a huge role in its success and popularity is a bunch of bright, young women. Al Mar’a caught up with four bright sparks in the studio for a quick chat. They talk of their lives on air, the hits, the misses, the goof-ups and the excitement. Here’s presenting them, absolutely unplugged!
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Munira Al Hajj My show: I co-present the morning show, ‘Al Wisal Morning’. It is a pot-pourri of showbiz news, news, quizzes, contests, etc., enthralling viewers from 6.30am to 10.00am. The beginning: My career actually took off with television. Thought I had the talent so jumped into radio which is quite happening right now. First moment on air: I said, ‘Welcome to a smiling morning...’ Though I went through training sessions and pilot shows, I was nervous the first time I had to actually go ‘live’! Gaffes/Goof-ups: There are quite a few! But
the most hilarious one has to be the one when the microphone fell down and I was practically lying on the table and speaking so as not to cause any interruption! Comments and compliments: Ooh! I do get a lot of calls from different kinds of people. A lot of them want to marry me! Gifts are sent to the radio station and my home too! Many of my listeners have not seen me but insist over the phone that ‘I am gorgeous and beautiful!’ My response? ‘Well, thank you very much’! The live experience: I do a lot of live outdoor live broadcasts, a recent one being the celebration of Al Wisal completing one year where we held some contests at Qurum City Centre. A lot of listeners came to say hello. Challenges: I do not find too many challenges in my job. We are all multitasking; producing shows, presenting them and even being DJs as well as RJs. We are responsible for the content on the show we present! Future plans: I am really excited about an opportunity to present a show on a private TV channel. No, it does not
mean bidding goodbye to radio. I love it here and I am sure I can juggle both mediums.
Laure Jassar My Show: I am the main presenter of the Al Wisal Morning Show where I am in charge of different segments that include features, headlines from newspapers, the weather, quotes from people on the street, etc. Apart from that I also present the Top Ten Charts and the daily news. The beginning: I completed my studies in media from a Lebanese University and went on to work in both television and radio. I felt that the radio scene in Lebanon was quite saturated and when an opportunity to come to Oman came up, I joined Al Wisal. It was exciting to begin at a new radio station! First moment on air: All I can remember is saying, ‘Good morning. My name is Laure,’ and introducing myself to the listeners. Gaffes/Goof-ups: Every RJ has her share of incidents. Mine sometimes are very funny though. Once a mosquito was
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Feature bothering me and while trying to swat it, I hit the microphone instead. You can imagine the bizarre sound effects. I have had my share of hiccups too! Comments and compliments: There have been plenty of marriage proposals over the phone. People tell me that my voice is amazing. My reaction is the same. I try to be friendly and polite all the time. You cannot offend your listeners. The live experience: When I do live broadcasts, people come up to me and say that my voice sounds very mature on the radio. Challenges: Initially, I had to struggle with the language and the Arabic accent a bit. But I learnt quickly and here I am... absolutely at ease! Future plans: My dream is to work at Al Jazeera or Al Arabiya TV.
Fatma Al Lawati My show: ‘Something of everything’. ‘Today in History’; I co-ordinate and produce programmes, etc. The beginning: I was studying in the Mass
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Communications Department of SQU when the head told me that there is a new radio station being launched and they needed people. I came here, did the test and it’s been a year since. Prior to this, I did training stints at Oman Radio and Oman TV. First moment on air: We had a show on National Day. I was very nervous because it was a live show. Gaffes/Goof-ups: We had live coverage for Oman Environment Day at Sahwa Park. I was supposed to interview a popular personality. And I couldn’t recollect his name at all. My mind was blank. I had to go and ask someone who he was. Comments and compliments: Many people now know my name because of my difficult questions. I also pitched in with the news for a while. Challenges: My family were a little sceptical in the beginning. But over the course of time, they realised that it is a good career option. When I first started working here, I found that the others were professionals and had years of experience in the field. But they were very understanding, encouraging and helpful. Future plans: I want to continue working at Al Wisal. I want to present a show about issues in Oman.
Eihab Abutaha, general manager, SABCO Media, part of the Sabco Group which owns Al Wisal, speaks on the success of Al Wisal… How does it feel? “It is truly a great feeling to celebrate Al Wisal’s Anniversary. Al Wisal is an important pillar under the SABCO Media platform of Outdoor, Radio and Publishing. This milestone is a clear reflection of the contribution of the team who has helped make al Wisal the No. 1 radio station.” Reaching out to more listeners… “In May 2008, and only after two months of operations, Al Wisal had a market penetration of over 15 per cent. We believe, today, we are well over 30 per cent and climbing. We receive over 3000- 5000 sms daily at the station, with non-stop calls from valuable listeners. Our online listenership has increased from 150 per day to over 650.” Future plans… We are now broadcasting in Salalah and soon, we will be launching our campaign in Salalah to coincide with Khareef festival. We also plan to have an English FM by early 2010. Radio scene in Oman… “Radio is still in its early stages and many advertisers are still yet to realise the full potential and power of advertising on radio. Radio connects with listeners with an open captive audience.” The next time you tune in and hear their familiar voices, you’ll know them a little better, won’t you! n
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Picture credit: Austral Press
Picture credit: Austral Press
• If she was not singing or song writing she would be a forensic detective! • She’s on the cover of the March 2009 issue of Rolling Stone. • She loves CSI and has seen every episode. • She performed ‘Fifteen’ at the 51st Annual Grammy Awards, with Miley Cyrus. • She’s a neat freak.
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the Bloomsburg Fair, arranged by local performer Pat Garrett Taylor’s singing influences include her grandmother and LeAnn Rimes. Although her grandmother was a professional opera singer, Taylor’s tastes always ran more toward country and she developed a love for Patsy Cline and Dolly Parton at an early age. She also credits the Dixie Chicks and Shania Twain for demonstrating how much impact can be made by ‘stretching boundaries’. By the time she was 12, Taylor was writing songs and playing a 12-string guitar. She also began to regularly visit Nashville and wrote songs with local songwriters. By the time she was fourteen, her family decided to move to an outlying Nashville suburb. When Taylor was fifteen, she rejected a development deal with RCA Records because the company refused to allow her to record her own songs. She then performed at Nashville’s songwriters’ venue — The Bluebird Café — catching the attention of Scott Borchetta, who signed her to his newly-formed record label, Big Machine Records. She also became the youngest staff songwriter ever hired by the Sony/ ATV Tree publishing house. Her first single, ‘Tim McGraw’, was released in radio in mid-2006 and reached number six on Billboard’s Hot Country Songs chart during the week of January 27, 2007. Her self-titled debut album is said to have sold more than 2.5 million copies! At the Country Music Association Awards, 17-year-old Taylor performed her hit, ‘Our Song’, before winning the coveted Horizon Award. “I can’t even believe that this is real,” she said during her acceptance speech. In 2008, she went on to win big at the Country Music Television Awards.
At 19, Taylor has everything that a girl could dream for, especially the drop-dead gorgeous looks that make her a head-turner no matter what she wears. She is said to have an absolute fascination for sundresses. So much so that the songstress recently announced that she’s teaming up with fashion label l.e.i. to help design a line of dresses that will be sold at Wal-Mart stores for US $14. Rather than give herself the title of ‘designer,’ Taylor says she’s more about just letting her own personal sense of style influence the new line. “Sundresses are my favourite things to wear. In the summer, I automatically want to look bohemian.” In latest news, she won Album of the Year at the 44th annual Academy of Country Music Awards for her album ‘Fearless’. She shared the award with her producers, Nathan Chapman and Big Machine Records chief Scott Borchetta. “I think a lot of people that know me know that if I talk to you for more than five minutes, I’m probably going to write a song about you,” said Taylor during her acceptance speech. Awards show host Reba McEntire also surprised Taylor with the ACM’s Crystal Milestone award to recognise that she’s sold more albums than any other artist this year and has helped country music attract a younger audience. This young songstress with the curly mane is not just beautiful but talented and grounded too. “When you’re singing you can hear the echo of people in the audience singing every single word with you, and that was that big dream that I had for myself. It’s happening,” she said recently. It sure is, Taylor. It sure is!n
Picture credit: Austral Press
Colour: “White. I know, boring (but, now, think a flowing white cotton skirt blowing in the wind).” Food: “Cheesecake — yum!” Holiday: “Christmas” Hobby: “Driving FAST” Place: “Anyplace around a creek” Season: “Summer” Thing to do: “Write songs” Guitar: “Taylor Guitars” Artists: “Miranda Lambert and Tim McGraw” Song: “Can’t Tell Me Nothin’ by Tim McGraw” Quality in other people: “Honesty and sarcasm” Movie: “Love Actually” Memory: “Living on a farm” Number: “13” JUNE 2009 35
round anic House, G rg O : p o h S e Th Mall Floor, Al Masa me ere: As the na Showcased h ing totally organic. ryth suggests, eve ctions: prises three se tics. m co re o st e e Th stuff and cosm groceries, food d vegetables are an Organic fruits ance, Lebanon and Fr m imported fro has all dstuff section il, o fo e Th t. yp g E o , from cooking one may need asta, sugar, etc., ,p milk, flour, rice e form. The cos-fre al ic and all in chem has cosmetics os, n io ct se s tic e m po ducts like sham tc., ro p re ca yd o b e , skin creams, handwash gels ic ingredients. an made from org ts Organic produc e iv Cost Factor: ly more expens would be slight per cent to 50 per 20 which means ther the prices in o an th cent more stores. ic transrything! Organ We liked: Eve and safe! y lates into health
36 JUNE 2009
Bag - GIORGIA Earrings - GLAMOUR
Bag - GEMMA Long Necklace - GLOW Earrings - GRANADA
Nature 38 JUNE 2009
Super Nature - The Swarovski Spring-Summer 2009 collection of jewellery, handbags and accessories follows the evolution of Nature, and is rich in surprises and colours. Beginning with ‘Origin’, the genesis of a seed as it becomes a leaf then a flower, the collection moves on to ‘Foliage’, an expression of nature’s proliferation, combining branches and leafage, before concluding with ‘Utopic Flowers’, an explosion of fantastical, surrealist flowers.
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Pendant - ERIKA Pendant - ELVIS Pendant - GEOLOGY “Love Earth’ Pendant - GARDEN Ring - GINSENG Charms (Bee, Pear, Radish & Strawberry) - PLAYFULL
Guides for Brides
It was a lavish affair! Almost straight out of a fairy-tale world! The Grand Hyatt Wedding Workshop 2009 was the perfect occasion for women, and specifically would-be brides and their families to plan a perfect wedding.
(Available at Khimji’s Luxury and Lifestyle Megastore)
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he Afrah Ballroom at the Grand Hyatt Muscat wore a festive look on May 15. From 2pm to 9pm more than 500 women trooped in to get a feel of a luxurious wedding atmosphere. Visitors were clearly impressed by the latest wedding trends in fashion, entertainment, honeymoons, flowers, decorations, transportation, photography, gifts and so much more! There were more than 26 participants all dedicated towards making fabulous wedding dreams come true. Some of them included the Al Bayan Establishment, Al Jenaibi International Automobiles, Capital Store, Zahara Holidays, Arab Fashion, Elegant Rent & Car, Haila Trading, Lovely Lace, Patchi, Villa Wow, Little Shop of Flowers, Talentz Center LLC, White Dreams, among others. Amal Daou, Director of Events, said, “This was a very successful wedding workshop. It was a lovely day and we hope we have inspired many brides-to-be.” Marriages may be made in heaven but the planning is done right down here on earth! We’re sure all those who were present now have a headstart on turning their perfect wedding dreams into reality!n (Al Mar’a was the official media partner of the event)
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From Morgan Bijoux Spring/Summer 2009
Some of the hottest trends in ready-to-wear, shoes and jewellery this season…
From Longchamp Spring/Summer 2009; Ready-to-Wear collection Inspiration for Longchamp’s new collection comes from a discreetly luxuriously urban lifestyle. It’s intelligent and easy-going and where freedom and comfort reigns. (Available at Tagz)
From Morgan Bijoux Spring/ Summer 2009 Morgan Jewellery goes wild with bling-bling and disco spirit. Gold tone with sparkling stones for today’s trend gives you charms, love messages, symbols and little hearts in many different shapes. (Available at Capital Store, Qurum and Markaz Al Bahja)
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From Clarks Spring/Summer 2009 A superb range of shoes and sandals for women! Inspired by the bespoke approach of couture, attention to detail is combined with premium quality leathers, patents and suedes to add a luxurious dimension from heel to toe. (Available at Clarks, Khamis Plaza and Muscat City Centre)
jeans are also quite the rage! Shopping at the Fashion Avenue should be a long drawn-out affair. You need all the time you have on hand to view the different collections and make your choices. You could also choose from a variety of branded outlets that also include Sephora, Gap, Forever 21, Stradivarius, Lacoste, Kenneth Cole, Tommy Hilfiger, Hugo Boss and Replay. Happy shopping, people! n
Check out the hottest trends of the season at Fashion Avenue, Muscat City Centre
here is a global recession going on... Has it affected fashion trends as yet? Well, we would like to say the flavour of this season is trendy but not yet tame. It is flamboyant but not quite OTT. It is fashion on a cautious note! The message is loud and clear! “Don’t flaunt your fashion, savour it!” The Spring-Summer 2009 collections for various fashion labels are all about hot hues. From candy colours to popping neons, they’ve teamed bright shades such as pink and red with nude, rainbows with psychedelic patterns and prints bursting with colour from every seam; it is a bright assault! Accessories too follow the same pattern and the mood is upbeat, positive and very confident! And following the key trends is Fashion Avenue at Muscat City Centre — the ‘hottest’ place to shop for top brands right here in Muscat. Here’s what they offer in terms of the latest in trends. • The flowing long dress has returned and how! Teamed with a short jacket, they make great evening wear too! The dress is perfect for all occasions. At night, glitter is very much in vogue as embellishments to a simple dress add the glitz to a ‘happening’ evening. Check out the Mexx stores for more colours and variations to the long dress. • Summer must-haves include satin and chiffon in small prints. At Salam Store, you can shop for the latest like D&G with tiger prints. Also, the new collection at Origem displays plenty of chiffon in small prints. • What’s new on the bag front? Plenty! Bags with tassels have made a major
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comeback. You will find plenty of those at Boss, Zara and Origem. You will find also lots of Nanini bags in floral designs at Tagz. Summer bags are big and bulky this season with ‘different and daring’ designs. We also found some with newspaper imprints in Plus. Fat Face also offers a lot of attractive bags in line with what’s hot this season. • Top colours of the season are orange, aqua and sunny yellow. Purple scores high too. You will find a wide array of colours at Plus. At Verri, you will find a wide collection of menswear such as shirts and classic T-shirts in green, turquoise and bright orange. • The vast wonders of beautiful marine life also find a definite place in summer fashion. There is a new collection of shirts in navy blue with many drawings of marine life especially at Salam Stores and Origem. • Footwear choices have never been so diverse. They come in a wide variety of colours and designs. You will find shoes even in bright fuchsia in Geox. Take a peek at other interesting collections for summer at Zara and Geox. • There are cool accessories to match your ‘hot’ outfits too. Aldo Accessories have many made of metals and bones. Fat Face also features a number of chunky accessories made out of beads. • Denim can never go out of fashion. And a pair of denims is always a woman’s best friend. Don’t miss the large collection of denims on display at Salsa Jeans which offers jeans from Portugal. Distressed
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My City, My Life
Going Dutch I
Come rain or shine, Amsterdam never fails to enchant, says Corryanne Draper… 46 JUNE 2009
love Amsterdam any time of the year, whether it’s cycling through the rain to work, walking through the Vondelpark in autumn, filled with the beautiful colours of the trees, walking through a winter wonderland along the canals or sitting on a terrace in the sun with friends. Now while the temperature is rising in Muscat, so does the temperature in Amsterdam; summer is finally starting. I am going to miss these Dutch summer months; having only been in Muscat since October last year, I have yet to experience the hot Muscat summer ahead. As soon as the first beam of sunshine is spotted, my friends and I are out and
about. The summers are fresh, sunny and definitely a lot of fun, evenings are long and warm, and it stays light until late in the evening. There are many things to do... Wander along the canals in the old part of town; shop in the southern part of Amsterdam; visit the old masters at night in the museums; attend an open-air concert in the Vondelpark or have a picnic at the local zoo. Or you can indulge in a fancy dinner at one of the many restaurants in the trendy parts of Amsterdam — such as the Pijp en de Jordaan; visit a ballet at the Opera House or sit on a roof-top terrace in the sun and lounge with your friends.
One of my favourite pastimes after work is to get together with friends on a boat and glide along the canals and through the different districts of Amsterdam. A friend has a beautiful, antique, old wooden, dark-blue motor boat that seats ten people. It has matching dark-blue interiors and a high-tech sound system. We sail past the old town with its beautiful facades and cobblestone streets, over the IJ (a famous waterway) and through the new part, the Islands, with old warehouses converted into spacious lofts and newly-designed apartments by famous architects. The city has a beautiful view from the water; you can soak up the culture and
heritage anywhere. We sit, chat, wave at the tourists, play our favourite music and laugh until the early hours, forgetting everything around us and that we have to get up early for work in the morning. Friends and family hop on and off the boat at every corner; everyone can join and share in the fun. There is even a pizza drive-through for boats, just sail through and order your favourite pizza! On summer evenings there are lots of boats — big, posh ones and simple, small rowing boats float around on the canals. You often spot other friends on the water, tourists in the canal boats taking pictures of the architecture and of some of the colourful people on the street.
I spend Saturdays with a friend, exploring the city. We like to be tourists in our own city, just wandering and exploring. We meet up early in the morning (dressed in our prettiest and most fabulous outfits), in one of the many small café’s for a bagel and fresh orange juice. Then we head over to a famous local market where we pick up fresh fruits, vegetables, cold meats and lots of colourful flowers. There are so many flower stalls next to each other, displaying the most beautiful flowers. Roses in shocking pink, lipstick red and powder white, bright big sunflowers, orange tulips and yellow daffodils. We wander past the famous canals and the characteristic old town houses and stroll towards the ‘seven streets’. The ‘nine streets’ are located in between the canals and are famous for little boutiques, quaint restaurants and trendy cafés. We stop for tea and chocolate cake at ‘Pompadour’, an old-fashioned patisserie. Here you can find the most beautiful cakes, handmade bonbons and petit fours. You feel you have gone back 100 years in time and are sitting in Paris among the rich and famous. We end our day meeting up with other friends on one of the many terraces on the canals, sitting in the sun, chatting and eating until the sun goes down. All good things come to an end, but there is always the next day, filled with sunshine and fun! There are many things to do and many things to see, Amsterdam is great; you never get bored. Whether rain or shine, try it once in your lifetime; experience this fascinating city, you’ll enjoy it!n
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What’s New At…
Smile Please! T
hink the camera always catches you on the wrong foot? Even celebrities are not spared of unflattering photographs! There are millions out there who think that the camera doesn’t do them any justice at all. And it’s not all about being photogenic. There are a few tips and tricks that can make you look gorgeous in photographs too. Check out these ideas and remember them before you say cheese!
Practise the pose With digital cameras available for a song, you can easily click many photos of yourself in different poses. These amateurish shots can pave the way for some dramatic results. Choose the best postures, situations, outfits, settings and times for best results. Better still, rope in a friend to click away. Take your time to zero in on the best pose. Once that is done, make it your ‘winning pose’.
Stick to a stance If you don’t know this already, there are different ways to fool the camera. To help thin out your face, tilt your head slightly up and forward. If you’re opting for a sitting pose, cross your legs to cut the
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Here’s how to look good in photographs…
width of your body in half. Lean slightly forward for a striking effect. If you are thinking of a group photograph, avoid standing at the end — this will make you look much heavier. Remember, a disarmingly natural smile will detract from the contrived element of this pose.
Colour ‘em right Use colours that flatter your figure! Get rid of anything which is not your hue even if it’s ‘in’ and trendy. Avoid light colours and understand than in general, darker colours are more slimming. So wear solid colours instead of patterns as they can visually confuse and nullify the flattering contours that clothing creates around the body.
make-up MATTERS Have you seen celeb photos without make-up? Most of the time, they look pretty blah. So you know now that makeup is very important for that perfect snapshot. It’s incredible what cosmetics can do! If you know you’re going to be photographed, make sure you have more than just a tinted moisturiser and gloss. Go the whole way — use a concealer, eye makeup, lipstick and blush. For a bigger photo session, touch up from time-to-time.
For a thinner look If you are expecting to be photographed on a certain date or at a certain event, avoid carbs and water-retaining highsodium foods to avoid a bloated look. While being shot full body, try to tuck your abs in but not to the extent that your face gives out a contorted look or your chest puffs up strangely!
Glass Crystal Collection
g n i s s e r D the up ! e s Hou Presenting two collections of exquisite decorative pieces from Home Centre, Centrepoint. These classic pieces add to the beauty and style of your home…
Japanese Doll Collection
Look taller If you are short and are being shot with tall people, stand on something to match the height. Or better still, sit down together so that you are not completely dwarfed by taller folk.
Light well Lighting is very important for photographs to turn out very well. Bright, diffused light may be alright in a studio but is not so favourable in outdoor conditions. A flash is also not so ideal as it will bring out shiny skin like nothing else. Believe it or not! A cloudy outdoor day is perfect for the ‘great look’. Just try it and see the end result. So there you have it, it’s really quite simple. Now make sure you have no more photographs that you need to seriously hide to save face! n
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Go Turkey A unique bridge of European and Asian cultures, Turkey is the perfect destination for any tourist at any time of the year. Turkey is the perfect destination for any tourist at any time of the year, Akshay Bhatnagar reports from Turkey.
urkey has preserved the legacy of its past while working towards a modern nation, and as a result has become a destination by choice for tourists from all over the world. Due to its pleasant weather, natural beauty, rich history, well-developed infrastructure and outstanding hospitality, Turkey is preferred by the travellers from the Middle East. Lonely Planet has described Turkey as “Landscape dotted with battlegrounds, ruined castles and the palaces of great empires. This is the land where Alexander the Great slashed the Gordion Knot, where Achilles battled the Trojans in Homer’s Iliad, and where the Ottoman Empire fought battles that
Left: Live right at the shoreline Below: Obelisk at Hippodrome – The scene of chariot races
would shape the world. History buffs can immerse themselves in marvels and mementos stretching back to the dawn of civilisation. Then again, if you want to simply unwind, spend an afternoon being pampered at a hamam, or let the warm waters of the Mediterranean coast lap at your toes. Adventure lovers can head east to Nemrut Dagi National Park. Bon vivants need look no further than Istanbul, where the markets are among the most stylish and atmospheric, and the mod Ottoman cuisine rates as the tastiest in the world.” Most visits to Turkey begin with Istanbul, the capital city of both the Byzantine and Ottoman empires. The city still retains impressive reminders of both as you take a round of it. It lies where two continents (Europe and Asia)
Travel Guide Average temperature in June - Istanbul (210C) and Antalya (250C) 1 Turkish Lira is equal to half Euro/250 Baizas Euro is acceptable all over Main language is Turkish but English is understood in tourist places More details are on www.tourismturkey.org
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Places to see in and around Istanbul:
in the 15th century. It has now been converted into a museum. • Topkapi Palace - Once the residence of the Ottoman Sultans, it is now a museum where precious displays such as porcelain, crystals, Sultan’s costumes, books, portraits and diamonds can be viewed. Do remember you are not allowed to take photographs of the precious displays.
(Picture courtesy: Ministry of Culture & Tourism, Turkey)
and two seas (Black Sea and Sea of Marmara) meets. Its main artery is the Bosphorus. In the city of minarets, at every step you will be amazed by its natural beauty and historical richness.
• Grand Bazaar - Located near Hippodrome, it is an ideal place to shop for traditional goods. Don’t forget to bargain hard before you buy. • Spice Market - The Egyptian Bazaar to smell and buy hundreds of lively coloured spices is surely not to be missed.
• Galata Tower - Perfect place to spend an evening at the oldest tower of the world to enjoy the magnificent view of Istanbul, relish delicious international cuisine and experience oriental dances shows • Hippodrome - Here chariots ran with thousands of Byzantines cheering them. It also has historical monuments including Egyptian Obelisk (from 16th century BC), Serpentine Column (from 5th century BC) and Stone Obelisk (erected in 10th century AD). • The Blue Mosque (Imperial Sultanahmet Mosque)- Built in 17th century and famous for its six minarets and beautiful Iznik tiles, it is the most important mosque in Istanbul.
Above: The Blue Mosque – Magnificent interiors Top right: Spice Market – The Egyptian Bazaar for hundreds of spices Below right: Water Container – Ottoman Sultans’ jug studded with gold, emeralds, rubies and jade
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• Basilica of Hagia Sophia Built by Constantine the Great and reconstructed in the 6th century during Byzantine era, it houses magnificent gold-leafed mosaics. It was converted into a mosque with Ottoman’s conquest of Constantinople
• Princess Islands - The beautiful wooden houses and the wonderful views of the cluster of nine islands leaves an unforgettable impression on visitors. These islands, on which monasteries were built during Byzantine period, are almost an hour away from the city. Enjoy looking at the old churches, mosques besides the summer homes of the rich and famous sitting in your horse-drawn carriages. After Istanbul, you may continue your journey eastwards into the heart of Anatolia to the capital Ankara, or along the Black Sea coast, or southward along the Aegean coast to the Mediterranean. If you follow the Sea of Marmara eastward on your journey from Istanbul, the highway which circles it will bring
(Picture courtesy: Ministry of Culture & Tourism, Turkey)
• Dolmabahce Palace - With its inlay and marble, walls hung with oil paintings, and crystal marble banisters, the palace has a dream-like atmosphere.
Palandoken-One of the popular ski resorts
you to Bursa. Alternatively, you can make this journey in part by a ferry boat to Yalova on the southern Marmara shore and then complete the 60km to Bursa passing through the famous peach orchards of the province. It was here that the first capital of the Ottoman Empire was founded by Orhan Gazi in 1326, and it is here too that amidst lovely natural surroundings you can see the first examples of typical Ottoman architectural style. Known as Green Bursa, the city is filled with gardens and parks. The place is famous for silk trade and thermal springs. Thirty-six kilometres from Bursa is Uludag, the largest centre for winter sports in Turkey. It offers a variety of activities, accommodation and entertainment. The slopes are easily reached by car or cable car. December to May is the best time for skiing, although Uludag National Park is worth a visit at any time of the year for the lovely views (snowcapped mountains) and fresh air. Don’t forget to carry your woollens as the place is generally cold. On the Aegean coast, which can be reached from Bursa, you find at almost every step the remains of ancient civilisations from various periods of Anatolian history. Close to the entrance of the Canakkale Bogazi (the Dardanelles), in the province of Canakkale, is Homer’s
Troy (Troia), where excavations have brought to light the riches of nine different settlements, one on top of another. The inhabitants of these nine settlements show a high level of civilisation that dates back to 3000 BC. Continue your journey through the wonderful holiday towns of Akcay, Oren, Ayvalik and Foca and you arrive at the ‘pearl’ of the Aegean, Izmir. Such is the beauty of the area, and the totally relaxing atmosphere, that the holidaymaker abandons all sense of time. Just 80 km of Izmir is Cesme, famous for its thermal waters and sparkling clear sea. In this rich region you can visit the famous ‘Arcadian Way’ in Ephesus, lined with elegant, marble columns. Nearby is the small house where the Virgin Mary is reputed to have spent her last days. Not far from both is the popular resort of Kusadasi or ‘Bird Island’, where you can rest awhile by the beautiful turquoise waters of the Aegean. From Kusadasi you can turn inland towards Denizli, which is near Pamukkale (Cotton Castle). Here, thermal spring waters laden with calcium have run off the plateau’s edge, creating a cascade of petrified basins - an extraordinary and marvellous natural work of art. The waters have been popular since Roman times for their therapeutic powers, and just behind the basins are the ruins of ancient Hierapolis.
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Dolmabahce Palace – Grandeur at its best Below: Mardan Palace – Luxury par excellence
Backtracking to rejoin the Aegean road that continues southwards, we find the great Oinian cities of Priene, Miletus and Didyma, which witnessed some of the great advances of human culture. Continuing south to the Gulf of Gokova, we come to the lively and popular seaside resort of Bodrum, known in ancient times as Halicarnassus, dominated by a castle built by the Knights of Rhodes. Marmaris, further to the south, can easily be reached by road but if you really want to savour the full pleasure of this beautiful coastline, take a ‘Blue Voyage’ yacht tour. Marmaris is a tourist’s paradise set in a deep fjord-like inlet where the pine forests come right down to the shoreline of the beautiful bay lined with comfortable hotels and small guest-houses serving delicious seafood. Its fully-equipped yacht marina is able to accommodate private yachts and there are numerous yachts for charter. Endless blue sea bathed in sunshine, orange groves, banana plantations, waterfalls, forests of palm and pine that splash the foothills of the Toros mountains in a rainbow of colours with sandy beaches stretching mile after mile. this is Antalya, the tourism capital of
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Turkey. For those with keen interest in history, the city offers ancient theatres of Aspendos, Termessos and Side, to the many works and monuments that date back to Seljuk times. The place is very popular among tourists for its theme based deluxe resorts. Antalya is also known for Mardan Palace, perhaps the most expensive hotel in entire Europe. Leaving the sunny Mediterranean behind and cutting into inland to the heart of Anatolia, one arrives at the capital of modern Turkey, Ankara. The city offers the Museum of Anatolian Civilizations where relics of the world’s oldest cultures are displayed. Moving on, Konya is home to the mystic poet and philosopher Mevlana who founded the sect of Mevlevis known to the west as the ‘Whirling Dervishes’. In the mountains of Adiyaman is Mount Nemrut, with a height of almost 2,150m, on whose peak, the spectacular, toppled statues of gods lie. These were erected 2,000 years ago for the Commagene King Antiochus I. Istanbul is likely to be the place where you will come back to take the flight back home. Make sure you haven’t missed out on your boat trips along the Bosphorus to enjoy the spectacular night
(Picture courtesy: Mardan Palace)
view of Istanbul! In all likelihood while leaving Turkey you will contemplate making a comeback to the country to cover the areas that you couldn’t make it as there is so much to see and experience!n
Forthcoming Attractions: • Grand prix racing • International Arts and Cultural Festival held every year in June and July with famous artistes coming from all over the world. • Operas and ballads in six different cities
inserts, the cute analogue clock in the instrument cluster, the discreet but handy cup-holders and the absolutely fabulous, full, panoramic glass sunroof. As we whizzed past the city’s long and winding roads and made our way towards the heights that would lead us to Qantab, the car’s power-packed performance came into play. For long rides, you could switch into the ‘Comfort mode’ option and for normal city driving, choose the ‘Sport Mode’ for quicker response and acceleration. The car is almost noiseless on the road and you would have to strain hard to hear any sound. Once you are inside, you can only hear the hum of the AC as the 3.0 litre V6 engine effortlessly picks up speed and cruises ‘like a bird’, navigating bends and turns with relative ease. The Mercedes Benz E300 is a very safe car. Check this out… The vehicle comes with a Pre-Safe system that offers the driver, passengers and pedestrians optimum levels of protection in the event of danger or an accident. Also, if you are travelling long distances and show a slight sign of drowsiness, the Attention Assist
of its Own!
Al Mar’a gets behind the wheels of the new Mercedes Benz E300 and is bowled over by its sleek looks and suave personality.
hat women want, they get! And that’s exactly what the latest beauty on the road offers! Luxuries sans boundaries. The new Mercedes Benz E-class saloon is everything that the brand stands for — unparalleled luxury, a sleek status symbol and extreme comfort! And so
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when Al Mar’a got a chance to test the beauty on the road, we didn’t want to stop with a quick test drive. We zipped around the city for a whole day, enjoying every moment of putting it to the test and making a bold statement along the way. At first glance, the Merc looks rather macho. Now, that was a comforting
first impression! The front end sweeps back dynamically, the long flanks exude athleticism... and in short the exterior looks absolutely stunning. What’s new? Well, we noticed the square headlamps, the horizontal tail lamps and the LED fog lamps. Apart from these, the new Merc has retained its classy design idiom!
system analyses your driving behaviour and immediately warns you. The Lane Keeping assist helps you keep to your lane and the Blind Spot Assistant uses two radar sensors to monitor the blind spot at speeds above 30km/hr and warns you against dangerous lane changes. The ambience inside the car is like a luxury lounge. The 6-CD changer pumps up the mood inside the car, while the 2-zone climate control system can be adjusted to meet the needs of each occupant. And in the midst of it all, if you want to keep communication going in your multi-tasking world, take advantage of the Bluetooth connector that connects to your phone for a convenient hands-free experience. The ninth generation of the E-Class Saloon sure lives up to the expectations of the discerning driver in its class. It also claims to be ‘the best business saloon in the world!’ Our verdict? A thrilling combination of comfort, safety and reliability, the new E300 begins a new and exciting chapter in luxury driving! n
Stepping into the driver’s seat, you are enveloped by the ambience of the stylish interior. There is plenty of room and yet it’s snug as you take in all the controls in front of you! Luxuries abound here too! The plush leather seats, the multi-function steering wheel in nappa leather and with chrome
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For the Foodie The Fare: An eclectic mix of Chinese and Thai cuisine, ShangThai offers an innovative menu comprising regional favourites, well complemented with juices and mocktails. The menu includes an array of appetisers, wet noodles and soups, wok dishes apart from in-house specialties and traditional desserts.
The Mood: The no-nonsense interiors use three basic colours (brown, red and green) to set the mood. The dark wooden interiors compliment the made-to-order red leather chairs from Italy. And according to Rajiv Kohli, General Manager, BAH, it is the specially-treated bamboo paneling that completes the look of the place. The lights are perfect; not too bright, not too dim and the full glass windows allow you to catch just the right amount of sun during the daytime.
The Popularity Quotient:
For those with an oriental palate, ShangThai’s the way to go says Deepa Rajan…
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For a place that has been open only for two weeks, ShangThai seems to be attracting a large crowd. So, reserving your table is always a good idea. Kohli informs us that the clientele is mostly made up of people who seem to be well-equipped with the knowledge of the cuisine and it is always a pleasure to serve food to people who understand what goes into its making.
We recommend: The Place: It’s all in the name. For, ShangThai, simply put, is your answer to cravings of the Asian flavour. Located on the Al Khuwair service road, the restaurant occupies the second storey of a building which also houses ‘Mirchi’, an Indian specialty restaurant belonging to Bur Al Hickman Hospitality (BAH) Inc that also owns the Pizza Express. ShangThai’s kitchen is run by a young woman chef from Thailand, who dishes out just the exact amount of ‘tang’ that tickles the right tastebuds and leaves you feel satiated without feeling overfull or overstuffed.
Apart from the prawn crackers that are served complimentary, it is always a good idea to start with juices, especially in the summer. The menu offers freshly squeezed orange, watermelon, sweet melon juices, pineapple, lemon grass ginger iced tea, ginger lemonade, citrus mint cooler and lemon fizz. But we vote for the lemon grass ginger iced tea that leaves a nice spicy taste in the mouth. Appetisers range from your regular spring rolls to Vegetable Tempura (vegetables crispy fried with tempura batter and served with honey chilli sauce) and of course, Dim Sums (parcels of minced chicken and shrimps, steamed in a bamboo basket and served
with soya sauce). However, it is the Crispy Fried Spinach (fresh spinach carefully fried with hint of garlic and green chilli) and Tod Man Pla (ground fish fillets mixed with spices and red curry paste deep fried and served with cucumber sweet and sour sauce) that deserve a special mention. The main course can be a lavish affair given the choices. The Fish and Seafood section includes Kaeng Dang Goong (prawns in Thai red curry and baby eggplant), Pla Nung Ma Naow (Steamed fish with Thai lemon sauce) Phad Khee Mao Talay (stir fried mixed seafood with green beans, fresh herbs and crushed chilli), while chicken lovers can feast on Kai Him Mapan (Stir fried chicken with cashew nuts) or simply settle for the Chicken Manchurian (sliced chicken breast in Manchurian sauce). For those who like duck, you can have the Roasted Duck Curry (a pot of roasted duck cooked with spiced coconut milk, grapes and pineapple) and for those who like lamb, the Massaman Kai (a typical dish from southern Thailand of slowly braised lamb in medium spicy sauce) is a good choice. Yes, there is a lot on offer for the non-vegetarians, but the vegetarians need not fret much. There is something for everyone. The vegetarian fare is a nice spread that includes Kaeng Phed Je (bamboo shoots, baby corn, carrots, mushroom, tofu and red curry paste), Kraprow Phak (stir- fried vegetables in spicy chilli sauce flavoured with basil) and our favourite the Tow - Ho Szechwan (deep fried tofu with Szechwan sauce, capsicum and onions). And, to add a sweet end to a delightful meal, go for the most popular Ta-Ko (a Thai dessert of water chestnut topped with coconut cream in pandan cups) Last impression: Jasmine rice served in bamboo baskets, noodles of every shape and size, a nice hot steaming cup of Jasmine tea (imported from China): All these are what make it more than merely a meal. With portions that are enough for two people with a normal appetite, ShangThai offers foodies the perfect dining experience — the one that leaves a lingering taste of the Orient on your tongues and your mind.n
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ere is a slightly different take on the issue of environment and an even more different one on wellness; and in a somewhat fascinating way, a slightly unconventional perception of the environment-wellness quotient. More than the gross attributes of the environment manifested through the plant and animal life, and the subtle ones evinced through the air we breathe and the water and food that we consume, I am prone to focus more on the even subtler elements that compose the environment. This environment itself is all-pervasive. In the broadest sense it exists within and out and is made up atoms of energy. And with energy, at one level it is almost an all-or-none law: the energy either exists or it does not exist. On another plane, energy can be positive or negative, and occasionally even neutral. A similar state can be seen with wellness too. We are either well or not well, with degrees demarcated based on man-made
perceptions. The same wellness, or lack of it, spills outside our body and into the area around us. This now becomes interesting! A dark pall of gloom spread and settled like a heavy cloak on a young family when the young father and husband died in tragic circumstances. Bereavement and loss can sap all energy like nothing else can. But in this tragic incident, it was not allowed to happen. Friends and family got together over days, and spoke of all the funny things that this young man would do, his various escapades, his largeness of heart, and all things beautiful. There was enormous awareness and wisdom within the group. Everybody was determined to celebrate both his life and his passing on. The wellness was not allowed to be taken away from within. And that kept the young family strong, healthy, and equipped to cope with the new demands and responsibilities that is the typical fallout of such tragedies. When we are well inside, we make
Quotient Wellness, or lack of it, spills outside our body and into the area around us says Dr Prema Seshadri… 60 JUNE 2009
the outside world well too, and it works vice versa. We walk into situations where we can cut the tension with the proverbial knife. If we are in a vulnerable state, it wouldn’t be long before we too are sucked into the vortex. On the other hand, when our subtle life force energy is well nourished and hence high, we can bring calm to the situation and turn it around completely. We can walk into the most explosive environment and
reshuffle the energy state. Enlightened masters have always known and spoken about the environmental pollution that happens within us long before scientific interest cropped up to address the concerns of the outside environment. The importance of such modern scientific studies is undeniable and absolutely necessary. But it is so vital not to forget the ancient scriptures which have not only enumerated these issues but also come
When we are well inside, we make the outside world well too, and it works vice versa.
up with valuable tools and directions to handle them. It is, indeed, a welcome relief to see the rebirth of many of these primordial techniques. Tangible techniques are needed to control the intangible mind. Let’s take the instance of the Hindu practice of chanting of the simple sound of ‘Om’, not considered a word but a sound of existence itself. Hindu scriptures say the whole universe is made up of vibrating, pulsating energy and ‘Om’ is the humming sound of this cosmic energy. Interestingly, it is also known as the ‘Unstruck Sound’— a sound that is created without two things being struck together; so very simple, but so deep in its impact on the internal and external environment. The outside world is one of activity and noise while the inside environment is one of rest and silence. But when the balance is destroyed, it creates illnesses. Techniques like the chanting of ‘Om’ (the same effect can be had by making a deep humming sound), proper rhythmic breathing, yoga and meditation, re-establishes the balance and calms the body, mind, emotions, and the spirit. When this is established, wellness spreads outside the body and permeates into the environment in the form of goodness in thoughts, speech and action, the lack of which creates a stressful environment. There is then a definite control over unwanted thoughts from the environment intruding into the mind, thus leading to better peace of mind, a reduction in desires and cravings, living in the moment, and improved mental health. n
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Tired of the same ol’ workout routines? Do the ‘Zumba’ — the latest fitness revolution of today!
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ow about bringing some fun into your fitness routine? Dance and music to blow away the blues and energise your spirits and keeping you healthy and fit as well? Now, you’re interested! Try out the ‘Zumba’, the fitness range sweeping across the world with its simple philosophy — swivel, shake and pivot your way to fitness. And if you love dancing, it makes it all the more easier. Get into the groove and work your way towards a leaner and fitter you! There’s an interesting story about the origin of this fitness programme. Celebrity trainer, Alberto ‘Beto’ Perez once showed up to teach an aerobic class in his native Colombia without his music and had to improvise by using his own tapes from his personal collection. These were Perez’s favourites, a blend of Latin and international songs. The beat helped the movements and became an instant hit. And that’s how ‘Zumba’ was born! Perez’s initial challenge was to improvise an hour-long workout and the end result was a dance with African beats and a Latin rhythm. For fitness freaks it was a new and revolutionary beginning. Perez’s Zumba class became very popular at his fitness facility. He then took his idea to the United States, where he teamed with entrepreneurs Alberto
Perlman and Alberto Aghion, to create a global company that would offer Zumba classes all over the world. The enterprise grew further when the duo secured a deal in 2002 with a large infomercial company to launch the concept nationwide with the sale of hundreds of thousands of videos in the US market. This brought in a demand for more Zumba instructions and thus a unique Zumba instructor training programme was born. They also teamed up with Kellogg’s to develop a fitness campaign for the Spanish market. The dance has been featured in over millions of boxes of Special K cereal around the world. The unprecendented success led to the creation of the Zumba Educational Division. The Educational Division was specifically designed to complement the creative direction and innovation of Beto Perez, Creative Director and Co-Founder of Zumba. Under Beto’s guidance, the Educational Faculty provides Zumba Instructor Workshops worldwide.
Zumba — The Dance and The Drama Zumba is a workout that begins
slowly with simple steps. Then it moves onto a medium pace. Once the instructor’s got the class into the groove and has made them warm up, the music pulls them in with the tempo and the beats. The music pulls you along and you are swept into a fun-filled, party-like atmosphere. Once you are a seasoned Zumba dancer, you can burn as many as a thousand calories in one session. In fitness terms, it means intervals of cardio and resistance training to maximise caloric burning, fat burning and total body toning, all set to an irresistible Latin beat. When you sweat more, you burn more. And once you begin, it is kind of addictive… you want to keep coming back for more. You don’t need to know a single dance step or be a natural born dancer for a Zumba class. The steps are easy to learn and master and a whole lot of fun! Since it works according to interval training, it also gives you periods to catch your breath. All you need to do is wear comfortable clothing and tennis shoes and bring oodles of confidence for a great Zumba workout!n
Zumba – The Benefits Here is what doing the Zumba can do to you? • It gives you a ‘feel good’ sensation by using easy-to-follow dance steps coupled with infectious music, creating a fun atmosphere. • It’s a fantastic workout that has moves that target the abs and the back, increasing agility and strength with ample potential to tone and sculpt the torso. • It contributes in toning most parts of the body including the arms and hips. • It makes you sweat without the thought that you are exercising. • Combined with a sensible and well-balanced diet, Zumba can provide excellent weight-loss results. • It works out almost every muscle in the body. • It works for great interval training. JUNE 2009 65
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 am 24 years old and trying to conceive for the past two years. My weight is 77kg. Within eight months of marriage, I conceived and delivered an unhealthy baby who died after seven months. I have been detected with PCOD since the last four years. I have very irregular periods so I cannot detect ovulation. For the last six months I was on Metformin 500 thrice daily, then Amycordial capsules and Hyponid tablets. Last month the doctor suggested tab Letroz for five days from the second day of my periods. Then I did a follicle scan. The egg ruptured on the 18th day. It means I am ovulating. Right now I am not any medication. My gynecologist suggests laparoscopy and D&C. Should I do this? Please advise. Sorry to hear about the death of your baby. Could you let me know the cause and what was “unhealthy”? Regarding your ovulation, it will be difficult for you to judge that without monitoring on scan. This is because with PCO there is irregular or absent ovulation. Since you are ovulating with medication, you should continue that. Laparoscopy & D&C will only be diagnostic. If you do not wish to undergo any surgery, you can do an HSG (hysterosalpingography) to check your tubes. Let me know the result of that. Also, let me know the result of your husband’s semen, so I can advise you further.
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I am 23 years old and have not had my periods for four months now. I have taken about seven pregnancy tests and they all were negative. I also went to see a gynecologist. Please advise me on what step to take. Take Duphaston tablets, one twice a day for five days to get a period. If you have a similar problem in the next cycle, have your thyroid and prolactin hormones checked. I was having problems in conception and my husband and I were prescribed the following medicines Siphene, T. Proctinal, Becosules, Folvite, Fas, 3 Kit, Bio E capsules, Fertyl M, CoQ. I conceived and now my son is three years old. Now I want to have a second baby. I just want to know if my husband and me could repeat these medicines for pregnancy. Am glad to know that you conceived earlier. However, you or your husband may not need medication again. Start on Folvite. Have your husband’s semen examination done. Also check by ultrasound on day 10 of the cycle whether you are ovulating or not. If both these factors are fine you may not need anything else. If you find you are not ovulating, you may need Siphene.
However, close monitoring on ultrasound should be done to determine your most fertile period and that your ovaries are not getting enlarged. I am 33 years old and weigh 65kg. I got married 11 years back. I have one daughter who is nine years old. I always have a 31- 38 days cycle and have polycystic ovaries. I want a second child. I underwent many treatments but they were of no use. Now my doctor has given me Ovacare, Ebexid and M2 tone tonic. Is this the right treatment? Please let me know. Relax! Since you have conceived, you should conceive again. Are you ovulating? Have a scan done on the 12th day of the period to determine that. Also, have your husband’s semen examination done and check your tubes by hysterosalpingography. Let me know the results, so I can advise you further. I am having a laparoscopy and hysteroscopy done. How much time should I wait after surgery to conceive? If there are no other complications, you can conceive after three months of the surgery.
Find more questionS and answers fielded by Dr. Smita Lulla at www.omanaccess.com
Home remedies for everyday troubles… PRIZE-WINNING TIP Sun shade: • Add 1/2 cup oatmeal to a cool bath and soak burned areas for 10-20 minutes, longer for severe burns. • Another simple way to ease sunburn is to grate a raw potato. Insert between a piece of gauze or a clean handkerchief and apply to the affected area. It’s very soothing and healing. • You can also put tea bags in your lukewarm bath water and soak. • Baking Soda (Bicarbonate of Soda) can soothe the sting of sunburn, windburn and other minor burns. Just saturate a washcloth in a Baking Soda solution (4 tablespoons in 1 quart of water) and apply to the affected area. Or make a Baking Soda paste with 3 parts Baking Soda and 1 part water and apply to the area. Huma Al Balushi, Ruwi
Headache? Try this: • To ease a migraine, sit with your feet in a bowl of cool water. Sounds simple but it works. • Rub big pieces of lime on your forehead and around your neck. • To counter migraine you can also take a bag of frozen peas and place them under your head, i.e, on your neck, on the side that the pain mainly occurs. This will help relax the neck muscles and constrict the nerves. This will also massage your neck as the peas are defrosting. Diya Koshy Qurum
Ease the cramp: To relieve a cramp in the leg, stand in an empty bath with bare feet. You can also put a small bar of bath soap under your bottom sheet near the foot of the bed. Alternatively, try massaging a half and half mixture of olive oil and clove oil into the muscle to get relief from cramps. Susan DeSilva Gubrah
Ant control: Spread some ground cinnamon where you think the ants are
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coming in to the house. To deter ants, use catnip. Sprinkle it in their paths. You can also make a mixture of 2/3 cup water, 1/3 cup white vinegar, and 2-3 tablespoons dish soap. Spray where the ants are marching.
Suad Al Habsi Darsait
Boot shine: • Nail polish remover removes tar and grease from white leather shoes. • White shoe polish will apply more evenly if you rub the shoes with a raw potato or rubbing alcohol before polishing. • White shoe polish won’t smear if you spray the shoe with hair spray after it is dry. • Vinegar and water will remove salt stains from shoes and boots. • New white canvas shoes will stay that way if you spray them heavily with starch. Sana Al Riyami Ruwi
Safe microwaving: Instead of
using plastic wrap to cover bowls in the microwave, cover a heat-proof glass bowl with a heat-proof glass casserole cover or with an inverted heat-proof glass bowl of the same size. A heat-resistant round glass pizza pan also works well, and the
overhang makes removal and recovery both safe and easy.
Sangeeta Patnaik Sohar
Pasta perfect: Use
a light-weight pot for boiling pasta; water will come to its initial boil faster and will return to the boil faster, too, saving time and preventing the pasta from clumping at the bottom of the pot.
Celina Thomas Madinat Qaboos
Easy reading: When your cookbook won’t lie flat when opened on the counter, place a glass baking dish on the pages (you can read through the glass) or secure each side with a rubber band. Fatima Shafeeq Al Hail
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.
All the stuff you simply must have!
From Dior comes the New Look summer 2009 by Tyen. And that’s Pop’art make up! The Haute Couture Collection unfurls brilliantly to an art and pop rhythm. Make-up is candid, super-charged, punchy with colours that vibrate on sun-kissed skin. Colours include pink, coral, orange, fuchsia, violet, blue and turquoise. AM says: Very energetic, chic and irresistibly Dior!
Sensai Cellular Performance unveils the Hydrachange Mask, a sumptuously smooth and comforting cream mask with fast-penetrating active ingredients that have been specially formulated to impart an exquisitely moist sensation when massaged into the skin. It soothes and rehydrates, helping recover elasticity and lends a plumped-up appearance. AM says: It works wonders!
Loewe presents its latest scented creation: a fragrances duet, Agua De Loewe for her and Agua De Loewe for him. A shared fragrance for any time of the day! The fragrance for her brings out the water lily, insinuated by a delicate lilac colour. For him evokes the freshness of spring water through a soft blue colour. AM says: Unique scents for a unique couple!
Cool and refreshing, ck one summer 2009 embodies a playful summer day spent by the pool. It opens with the cool refreshment of blue mint and cucumber while citrus notes add juiciness and energy. A water splash accord cascades throughout the fragrance. AM says: Indulge this summer!
Defeat the signs of ageing and start with your eyes. Guerlain presents the Up-lifting Wrinkle Reducer from Success Eye Tech, skincare that helps re-contour and smooth your eyelids for tautness in the long term. There’s also a visible reduction of wrinkles and fine lines; dark circles are lightened and the puffiness is reduced too. AM says: Look younger than ever!
Pure luxury meets natural make up in the Make Up Factory’s Absolute Minerals range. We liked the Mineral Powder Foundation — that combines the perfect coverage of a classic foundation with the lightness of a loose powder. AM says: The effect? An extremely natural-looking and fresh complexion!
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Estee Lauder introduces the Nutritious VitaMineral Loose Powder SPF 15/PA++ Makeup and Nutritious Vita-Mineral Liquid SPF 10/ PA++ Makeup. That’s skin-loving minerals and powerful pomegranate for a naturally radiant glow. The vital nutrients, purifying ingredients add a new energy and a harmony your skin helping it recover its natural radiance. AM says: Pamper your skin with the richness of natural ingredients!
Compiled by Rekha Baala
Light and Lovely
Skincare takes on a new dimension with Crème Fraiche ‘light’ from Nuxe. The moisturising re-balancing emulsion is perfect for combination skin. Your skin feels perfectly moisturised and rebalanced with a refined texture and an ideal matte finish. Use morning or night. AM says: See your skin glow and glow!
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Lorna Guckian speaks to Al Mar’a on British cuisine, sensible cooking and much more while whipping up a traditional British meal…
hat better way to experience the true feel of British cuisine than in the British Ambassador’s kitchen? Well, we wouldn’t have asked for a better cook and an expert than the Ambassador’s wife, Lorna Guckian, who cooked up a traditional British meal just for us. We already know that traditional British food is substantial, yet simple and wholesome. And an overpowering influence of Enid Blyton books during childhood, filled with visions of delicious ginger ale, pies and puddings, fresh cream, marmalade, sandwiches and scones only strengthened that delectable aura around British food. Well, we were certainly in the right place to satiate our interests even further with Lorna ready to answer our endless stream of questions. Much to our surprise, Lorna explains that British cuisine had the reputation of being ‘rather boring’! “But there has been a huge change in the past few years,” she informs us, adding, “There are cookery shows on television all the time and these are influencing people’s diets. People are getting back to eating sensibly and cooking in a proper way.” Lorna explains that it is her husband who is the cook in the family. She says, “He loves pottering around in the kitchen and trying our new recipes.” And her interest in cooking only perked up after marriage, when she had to feed her family. “We had rented an old Gregorian house and it had an Aga, a kind of huge stove oven that was switched on all the time. So if it was ‘on’ all the time, I thought that I might as well use it. It was good for roast dishes and baking; I used to make fantastic sticky toffee puddings and cakes,” she recollects.
Going back the special meal she had prepared for us and British cuisine, she says, “I am originally from Scotland and our diet tends to include a lot of meat and root vegetables. There is the famous ‘Haggis’, a dish made with oatmeal, turnip and parsnip. We also like our sugar, with ‘tablet’ a childhood favourite. And since we lived on the coast there was a lot of fresh fish available, which is why I also love it out here in Oman. The smoked salmon dish is very common in Scotland while the other two (roast lamb and the pudding) are traditionally British.” Having lived the larger part of their life overseas, the Guckians have adapted to different tastes. “We have lived in Libya and Syria and so have a lot of influences from North Africa and the Levant. My husband was brought up in Italy and we also tend to go to France a lot...” And what about the traditional and very British ‘fish and chips’ treats? “My children simply love them!” she says. Seafood remains Lorna’s favourite too, especially when it is cooked the Turkish way. At home, dinner is strictly a family affair. “I particularly make sure that the family sit together in the evening and enjoy their meal. There is no television and we just talk to each other about our day.” Is there anything she misses here when it comes to food? “I use everything that is available locally and we always eat fresh food. If I don’t have some of the ingredients, I tweak the recipes accordingly. But what I miss terribly are the fresh red berries, the raspberries are that available in plenty in the UK.” Do check out the recipes in the following pages. We’ve sampled them. And there’s just one word to describe these dishes — Scrumptious!n
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Roast Lamb with Rosemary and Garlic served with Roasted Potatoes and Vegetables, Yorkshire Pudding, Gravy and Red Currant Jelly
Hereâ€™s how you cook up a typical lazy Sunday British meal....
Smoked Salmon Timbales with Cucumber and Fennel Salad served with Sesame Fingers Serves: 4 Ingredients 200 gm smoked salmon 30 gm butter 150 ml cream 1 tbsp horseradish sauce Lemon juice to taste Salt and pepper to taste A pinch of sugar For the salad: One cucumber, sliced and vinaigrette made with one tbsp white wine vinegar, 3 tbsp olive oil, a pinch of mustard, salt, pepper, a pinch of sugar and Â˝ tsp of chopped fennel. Blend 100 gms of smoked salmon with unsalted butter in a food processor; add horseradish sauce, cream, and lemon juice to taste. Line moulds with cling film. Put a slice of smoked salmon into each mould, fill the mould with the above mixture, cover with cling film and refrigerate for at least one hour. For the Sesame Fingers: 4 slices white bread 50 gm butter 100 gm sesame seeds Cut the slices of bread into fingers, apply butter and sprinkle with sesame seeds. Arrange bread fingers on baking tray and bake for 15 to 20 minutes at gas mark 2 or 140 degrees C. Arrange timbale of a salmon in centre of plate and garnish with sliced cucumber and vinaigrette and serve with Sesame Fingers.
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Ingredients 1kg leg of lamb 4/5 cloves of garlic A few sprigs of rosemary 3 tbsp Olive oil Salt and pepper to taste Pierce holes all over the lamb and insert garlic slices with rosemary. Sprinkle with olive oil, salt and pepper. Heat oven to 200 centigrade/400 F/ gas 4. Put lamb in. After 20 minutes reduce heat and cook for another 50 minutes. Remove joint and allow to rest before serving. To make the gravy: Spoon fat off roasting tin, add lamb stock to juices and thicken with a little flour. Strain and set aside. To make Yorkshire Pudding: 75 gm plain flour 1 egg 75 ml milk 2 tbsp sunflower oil Sift flour into bowl, make a well in the centre, break an egg and beat it gradually incorporating the flour, milk, and seasoning to make a smooth batter. For individual puddings, heat fat in patty tins, remove and add batter and return to oven for 30 minutes at 220 centigrade or gas mark 7. To make Roast Potatoes: Peel, cut, cover with hot olive oil, roast in hot oven, basting occasionally until cooked. To make Roasted vegetables: Using a selection of seasonal vegetables, and coat with hot oil before placing in the oven to roast until tender. Serve with readymade red currant jelly.
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Cuisine Mini Summer Pudding with Strawberry Coulis and Vanilla Ice cream Serves: 4 Ingredients 12 slices of white bread 450 gm strawberries (frozen) 300 gm mixed red berries (red or black currant/ raspberries) 150 gm caster sugar
To make Strawberry Coulis: 100 gm frozen strawberries 50 gm caster sugar Blend the above to make strawberry coulis. Place fruit and sugar in a large bowl overnight. Cut bread into large rounds and press into lightly buttered small ramekins. Pour fruit and juice over it and cover pudding with another round of bread. Seal well by pressing the edges together. Leave in refrigerator overnight. Just before serving, spoon reserved juice all over. Serve with strawberry coulis and vanilla ice cream.
Khaleej Times was the ďŹ rst English language newspaper to be published in the UAE and is celebrating more than 30 years in industry. KT offers readers outstanding regional news content, and its recent partnership with International Herald Tribune, positions the newspaper as the leading English language Gulf newspaper. Catering to the needs of the regions diverse multi-cultural population, KT offers advertisers from Oman the opportunity to promote their products and services to their own precise target audience.
Co-ordinated by Rekha Baala Photographs: Rajesh Burman
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United Press & Publishing LLC is the exclusive and sole authorised representative of Khaleej Times in Oman For advertising contact: Kush Gupta 99253729 email@example.com
“Put forth thy hand, reach at the glorious gold.”
“Gold is proved by touch.”
White leather with a gold pattern wrapped in golden jersey fabric.
The Golden Age Gold glitters! And how! Emirati fashion designer, Wafa Balaswad, takes gold to a different level with this exclusive Gold Collection that fuses the traditional with the contemporary. By blending leather, chiffon, jersey, silk with embellishments she makes this collection dazzle even further!
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The corset is made of rich brocade fabric and the skirt is chiffon cut to flow.
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“An inch of time is an inch of gold, but you can’t buy that inch of time with an inch of gold”
“As good as gold.” This dress is a blend of light topaz chiffon and silk in simple drape and embellished with Swarovski crystals.
Handmade custom designed leather belt wraps an off white with golden chiffon dress designed in a Roman style.
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Simple white chiffon with Moroccan belt.
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“Pure gold does not fear furnace”
Lord Alfred Tennyson
“Love is the only gold.”
Off shoulder golden dress with layers of pearls on the waist.
Coordinated by: Rana Alawneh Photographs: Rajesh Burman Model: Dora Taliano Designs: Miss Attitude Fashion, designed by Wafa Balaswad Jewellery: Prima Gold, Muscat City Centre and Bareeq Al Shatti Makeup: Maha Sahlol, Grand Spa Hair: Lamia Abdullah, Grand Spa,
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What the stars foretell this month… Aries
March 21 - April 20 Buying and spending is high on the agenda but keep an eye out for impulsive purchases. There’s no harm in spending on a few luxury items but don’t go overboard. You might have great ideas about how to make money, but watch for spending what gains you make now. Month-end is intense and lively, so make the most of it.
April 21 - May 20 Communication comes into strong focus as you finally decide to express yourself. There’s energy, initiative and vitality to keep you on your toes throughout. Personal hobbies and romance are especially fulfilling. But be careful with your money; there may be a conflict of interest with a partner.
May 21 - June 21 You’re the cynosure of all eyes as your ability to persuade, enchant and delight others returns after a week of misunderstandings last month. But while you can bask in all the attention, do take time to rest and reevaluate new priorities in life. Handle your partner with a great deal of sensitivity than you normally do.
June 22 - July 23 Socially, this is the best time of time for you. Networking and spending time with friends brings much stimulation. In other good news, those in business will see an increase in income and lay the groundwork for future projects. There’s also a new sense of renewal and a new personal beginning.
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July 24 - August 23 At work, team spirit runs high and you enjoy yourself to the fullest. Overriding ambition takes a backseat and you revel in the motivation for ‘working together’ and being part of a team. Personally, you’re ready to have fun, but do take some time out for rest. A quick summer getaway is highly recommended.
August 24 - September 23 Life may be serious, but that doesn’t mean that you can’t have your share of fun. While professional life remains a strong focus, you’re all ready to let your hair down when work’s over. The desire for adventure remains strong and so travel plans will definitely bear fruit. Enjoy the going while it’s good!
September 24 - October 22 An adventurous streak surfaces as you stop accepting things at face value and assert your strong opinions. This is especially true of personal relationships because too many people have been taking you for granted. There are changes on the home front that may motivate you to approach your career in a different way.
October 23 - November 22 June brings a caring approach to the relationship front. This is when you may meet a special someone and take things forward from there. Financial matters demand a lot of attention too. There’s tension surrounding work but nothing major to worry about. Keep your cool and things will be easier to manage.
November 23 - December 22 You’re very sociable this month and will be quite busy tending to other’s needs and demands. But being a hands-on-person does not mean that you forget yourself. Keep some ‘Me Time’ too for yourself as this month is strong for travel and learning.
December 23 - January 20 Your life moves on the fast track as your creativity soars. You’re the centre of attention as others appreciate your manner and style more than usual. Leisure activities figure strongly and you can enjoy your hobbies and entertainment better than before. It’s a balanced month overall.
January 21 - February 19 Home life demands a lot of attention but fret not, there are lots of happy things in store. Repairs, redecorating and home improvement activities may turn out to be very fulfilling. You may also entertain guests at home. The last week brings health, work and daily routine into focus.
February 20 - March 20 The urge to reach out and communicate with others is powerful. The period will also see the strengthening of ties with friends and acquaintances. Life at home is generally good. Professionally, things will be busy with a lot of projects to demand your attention. But the main focus will be friends and family.
Sultanate of Oman, Markaz Al Bahja, Seeb. Tel: 24536035 www.marksandspencerme.com