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contents 25

june 2011

book, pack, go 28

child on board When travelling with kids, it is always wise to plan and prepare to make travel enjoyable, safe and tear-free, says Dr Rajka Milanovic Galbraith.


A-Z holiday planner


things to do before you die!


Bin the Berry?

Dealing with a wired vacation

In spite of a suggested ‘loosening up’ for healthy living, rising aspirations and target-oriented work profiles are definitely casting their shadow on our vacations, writes Shalinee Bharadwaj.

Women on the move

The dos and don’ts of travel...

Travel Journals Woman Today listens to some fascinating holiday tales...

Stay back, stay cool

Those planning to stay in Qatar for the summer, brace yourselves for the sweltering heat. Woman Today offers you 10 simple ways to cool off...


Alyson is truly on a roll...

Alyson celebrates her healthy weight loss of 2.2 kg for the month. Watch her transform as she works with Nicole Van Hattem and a host of other trainers in her third month of training.

18 world wide women

48 health & fitness

Cord Blood Banking

Saving lives through umbilical cord stem cell therapy

Moon and Me

Our body contains about 60 to 70 percent water and in yoga we believe that this connects us to the cycles of nature, especially to the moon, writes Valerie Jeremijenko.

58 around town


Tapping into the power of our minds

54 style stop

We repeat in our heads a lot of negative suggestions, and a lot of my work is reversing that, says Gabrielle Turner, in an interview to Vani Saraswathi.

Enlivening the Canvas

Sue Pownall is a nomad who has travelled to more than 37 countries for work and inspiration, and now calls Doha home to her easel and palette, writes Pragati Shukla.

Warm Bamboo & Soothing Lavender...

Stress relief at the Essence Spa


Ultimate Japanese delight


june 2011 Publisher & Editor-in-Chief Yousuf Jassem Al Darwish Chief Executive Sandeep Sehgal Executive Vice President Alpana Roy Vice President Ravi Raman

Managing Editor Vani Saraswathi Deputy Editor Sindhu Nair fashion & lifestyle correspondent Orna Ballout Editorial Co-ordinator Cassey Oliveira correspondents Pragati Shukla Ezdhar Ali Contributor Shalinee Bharadwaj

Art Director Venkat Reddy Asst Director – production Sujith Heenatigala assistant Art Director Hanan Abu Saiam Senior Graphic Designers Ayush Indrajith Sampath Gunathilaka M D Graphic Designer Maheshwar Reddy B photography Robert Altamirano

Managers – Marketing Mohammed Sami Zulfikar Jiffry Senior Media Consultant Chaturka Karandana Media Consultants Victoria Ferraris HASSAN REKKAB Marketing research & support executive amjeth ali

Accountant Pratap Chandran

sr. distribution Executive Bikram Shrestha Distribution Support Arjun Timilsina Bhimal rai

Published by Oryx Advertising Co WLL P.O. Box 3272; Doha-Qatar Tel: (+974) 44672139, 44550983, 44671173, 44667584 Fax: (+974) 44550982 Email: wtoday@omsqatar.com website: www.omsqatar.com Copyright © 2011 Oryx Advertising Co WLL Address all your correspondence to Woman Today, Oryx Advertising Co WLL, P.O. Box 3272; Doha-Qatar Tel: (+974) 44672139, 44550983, 44671173, Fax:(+974) 44550982, email: wtoday@omsqatar.com. All rights reserved. No part of this publication may be reproduced without the written permission of the publisher. The publisher does not accept responsibility for advertising contents. Licensing/ Republishing WT content: To obtain permission for text syndication in books, newsletters, magazines, newspapers and web or to use images/pictures carried in Woman Today, please contact our syndication and licensing department on the numbers given above. Permission is also required to photocopy a WT article for classroom use, course packs, business or general use. Custom reprints: Published article/s to be used as stand-alone pieces can be reprinted by us on special request. The reprint cost is based on the length of the article and the quantity ordered. Contact our custom publishing division on the numbers given above for more information.To subscribe to Woman Today call our subscription department on the numbers given above.


June 2011


As is my wont, I sent back a single word email in response to a query. With the little wisdom age throws my way, even if it were only in hindsight, I wrote to my contact asking her not to consider it rude, as that was not my intention. “...By understanding, there will be no such consideration,” replied the trainer and coach, who works extensively with the Myers-Briggs Type Indicator (this is when you rush to Google). Understanding. Isn’t that the key to how we function? The reason we say what we do, and react the way we do? Because of our understanding (or lack of it) of people and situations, we probably judge other people's actions from the standpoint of our own attitude or behaviour. What if we actually recognised that there is more than one way of being smart, of communicating, of doing something... and most importantly, more than one way of loving and caring? We are so caught up in the dos and don’ts that the ‘gurus’ propagate that we neither appreciate nor embrace the quirks and eccentricities that make us who we are. At work and at home, many of us try to fill the shoes of ‘success’ stereotypes – the supermom, the perfect homemaker, the loving wife, the ace-organiser... Yet, while it may come naturally to some, it is bound to be a struggle for the majority to have their act together all the time. Maybe our successes lie in the realisation and acceptance that we don’t have it together, that our methods are more than a little mad, that our dreams are technicoloured, not practical, and maybe we stumble a few times more than the rest to reach the goal. While you come to your individual realisations, give room for other people’s ways which to you may seem inefficient or impractical. The world sure can do with some impulsive, happy madness. Have a great summer and travel safe (we’ve got plenty of tips inside).

Vani Saraswathi


Nokia E63

Woman Today invites readers’ feedback Share your views on the magazine or any issue connected to Qatar. One lucky reader will win a Nokia E63. Write to: The Editor, Woman Today, PO Box 3272, Doha Fax: (+974) 44550982, email: wtoday@omsqatar.com

Woman Today reserves the right to edit correspondence. Views and opinions expressed in the published letters may not necessarily be that of the publication’s. Prizes sponsored by:


June 2011

letters Women Entrepreneurs I had attended the How Women Work conference this year and carefully listened to what Aisha Alfardan had to say in her opening remarks. What she said then was as inspiring as her interview in the May issue of Woman Today. She is a role model for Qatari women, and as the Vice Chairman of the Qatari Business Women Association there’s no stopping her from inspiring women to become entrepreneurs. The country needs women like Aisha to rediscover other Aishas among the Qatari women. Majida Rasheed Watching over kids It’s a pity when parents get so completely preoccupied with their work that they fail to notice their child being bullied over the net. I am glad that Woman Today touched upon this sensitive issue in its May issue. It’s necessary that we advise children on the dos and don'ts of the internet. Even the article on cyber-parenting was informative. I never realised that the internet had useful sites that can help protect your child. I call upon all parents to ‘Stop this Silence’. Rachel Wilson Web at work I couldn’t help but smirk while reading the article ‘Switching off at work’ in the May issue of Woman Today. It almost reflected what I or rather we all do at our workplace. Surfing the net during office hours is no harm, but it’s necessary to ensure that our work doesn’t get delayed because we are busy looking up

other sites for personal pleasure. Drawing the line between what’s professional and what’s personal is needed for a healthy work life. Sangeeta Menon Internet addiction The May issue of Woman Today was packed with a bunch of interesting articles about the internet and I enjoyed reading each of them. ‘Virtually you’ made a brilliant read as it brought out our hidden personalities. Internet addiction, especially Facebook, addiction is frightful. After all, don’t we start and end the day with Facebook? Though we pretend to be unaffected by the internet, 55 percent of us (as the Woman Today survey suggests) log on to it whenever we get the time. The cyber-world is beneficial to us in several ways, but don’t let it rule our lives. Tiara Boyle Women on the move I am a regular follower of Woman Today, and since the last issue I have been following Alyson of the Woman Today Transform. Woman Today is doing a great job by initiating such a programme. It will be interesting to see the outcome. Apart from that, I also enjoy reading about the various women being featured in your magazine. Seeing things from their perspective; learning about their experiences; and paying heed to their advice is thoroughly inspiring. Waiting anxiously to grab a copy of the next issue! Linda Abraham



Afghanistan worst place to be a mum



Skilled health personnel present

Virtually every birth

of births

Average life expectancy of women



Modern contraception method

8 in10



Brazilian mums hit the theatre... ...Stroller in tow


n the darkened theatre, a mother rocks her baby while another breastfeeds her little girl. It’s part of a new trend in Brazil where mums go to the movies with baby bottles, diapers and toys. To overcome their isolation, young Brazilian mothers are revamping their social lives through the seventh art. Nagashima, a 40-year-old movie enthusiast, is one of the founders of Cinematerna, a non-profit group that encourages mothers to engage in cultural activities by offering them access to movie theatres decked out just for them and their babies. Nearly 20,000 mothers have signed up on the group’s website, where they list their choices of films to watch – no violence and no horror.


June 2011


fghanistan is the worst place in the world to be a mother and Norway is the best, with stark differences in conditions for women and children in the two countries, according to a report released recently. In Afghanistan and the nine other countries at the bottom of the Mothers’ Index, compiled by the non-profit group Save the Children, mothers and their children endure “grim conditions,” with one in six kids dying before age five and one in three suffering from malnutrition. Nearly half the population in the worst countries to raise kids lack access to clean water, and only four girls for every five boys are enrolled in primary school. Most of the other bottom-ranked countries in the index are in sub-Saharan Africa. From worst to less bad, they are Niger, Guinea-Bissau, Yemen, Chad, Democratic Republic of Congo, Eritrea, Mali, Sudan and the Central African Republic, the index says. The top 10 countries, in order, were the five Nordic nations of Norway, Iceland, Sweden, Denmark and Finland; followed by Australia, New Zealand, Belgium, the Netherlands and France. Women and children enjoy excellent health, education and economic conditions in these countries, the report says. Germany, Spain and Britain ranked just outside the top 10 of the index, while the United States was 31st, just above Luxembourg and Belarus.

Calorie counting is a snap!

Fashion brands

sexualising pre-teens

A new app by leading fitness social network and calorie counting app developer Daily Burn, Inc. aims to take the hassle out of calorie counting. Using Daily Burn’s Meal Snap app, calorie counters simply snap a picture of the food or drink they are about to consume – instead of manually entering each item and the corresponding number of calories into a food diary or app – to record their calorie intake. The app works by uploading the food and drink photos to Meal Snap’s central database, where the images are automatically identified and assigned a rough calorie range. The figures are sent back to the user within a few minutes. For example, sending in a picture of a bowl of pretzels and a coke returns a calorie count of between 389 and 584 calories, while a small handful of cashews ranges from 150 to 614 calories.


ome clothing firms in the United States are marketing sexy garments for pre-teen girls, reinforcing a destructive stereotype of female attractiveness, according to recent research. Girls as young as six are being pitched into clothing that highlights their breasts, buttocks or slimness or sends a message of sensuality, a new study says. Researchers led by Sarah Murnen, a professor of psychology at Kenyon College in Ohio, looked at 15 websites of popular clothing stores, ranging from bargain to high-end sectors of the junior US market. Using 38 college students, they devised a system to assess the sexiness of various garments, and used this system to grade 5,666 clothing items. Clothing was rated according to whether it had only childlike characteristics; revealed or emphasised an intimate body part; or had characteristics that were associated with sexiness. An example of a “childlike” characteristic would be a top with a butterfly print in pastel colours. In contrast, a bikini was coded as “revealing” because it exposed the waist and part of the chest. The bikini was considered “emphasising” if, for instance, it outlined each breast with triangular pieces of fabric. Similarly, highly-decorated back pockets on trousers – adorned, for instance, with a bird or sequins – were deemed “emphasising” because they drew attention to the buttocks. Sixty-nine percent of the clothing assessed in the study had only childlike characteristics. Four percent had only sexualising characteristics, while 25 percent had both sexualising and childlike characteristics. One percent had neither sexualised nor childlike characteristics. Its authors say girls face escalating demands to meet the Western stereotype of slimness and sexiness. The pressures of “selfobjectification” can lead to body dissatisfaction, depression, low confidence and poor self-esteem. “The co-occurrence of sexualising and childlike characteristics makes the sexualisation present in girls clothing covert,” it says. “Confused parents might be persuaded to buy the leopard-skin miniskirt if it’s bright pink. Clearly, sexiness is still visible beneath the bows or tie-dye colours.”

The lure of beauty foods


rom cheesecakes that claim to double as an antiwrinkle treatment for the skin to chocolates made with amino acids for shiny hair, a long-established industry of beauty foods is winding its way from Asia to the Western world, attendees of an industry trade show heard last month. Currently, Japan dominates the “beauty from within” market, an industry of foods, drinks and supplements which claim to help skin, hair and nails. Foodstuffs like baked goods, chocolates and fortified bottled water act as carriers for skin nutrients like collagen, amino acids and vitamin A – common ingredients found in anti-wrinkle and moisturising creams. According to market research from the Kline Group, the global market for nutricosmetics is expected to grow from $1.5 billion in 2007 to $2.5 billion by 2012. But before the industry can make a noticeable dent in the Western market, one of the biggest hurdles it has to overcome is convincing a sceptical public. It doesn’t help consumer confidence that many of the beauty foods launched in Western countries have had to be withdrawn shortly thereafter. Nestle, for instance, pulled the drink Glowelle off the market recently after launching to much media fanfare in 2008. The proprietary formula claimed to replenish the skin’s antioxidants to help fight free radicals and promote younger-looking skin. In the UK, chocolate marker Mars was forced to withdraw claims that its Galaxy milk gave drinkers healthy skin and shiny hair. It's existing range is sold as simply chocolate milk.

- Photo and content courtesy AFP Relaxnews 2011 June


Measurements: down another 11.5cm - total of 27cms

My Vanishing Butt!


Alyson is truly on a roll...

he past month has gone by in a flash and a blur with some great treatments and experiences and, to top it off, a fantastic amount of centimetres and weight lost. I started to see Gabrielle Turner, who is a certified hypnotherapist. Gabrielle has helped me work on the subconscious part of my mind that was blocking and sabotaging my weight loss – I had a deep belief that I was unable to lose weight. Through the hypnosis sessions, Gabrielle broke down those barriers and increased my motivation and my ability to visualise myself as a slim and healthy me. Although the changes that she helped me make are subtle, I can honestly say I have stronger willpower and


Alyson at the Yama Yoga Studios

Weight: down 2.2kg - total of 5.2kg

June 2011

my focus is strong. I can see myself as being slim and a healthy me (read her interview on pg 18). dado’s beauty has been assisting me during my transformation, with cellulite and mesotherapy treatments and a very relaxing hammam treatment. Adrianne and Natasha (the beauty therapists) have been doing the cellulite and mesotherapy for me. Both treatments increase the breakdown of toxins and cellulite, which the body then flushes – so I have to make sure I drink plenty of water. The hammam was the most relaxing experience. I was still in a relaxed state two days later! Gina the therapist definitely knows her stuff.

Body Fat: down another 1.2% - total 3.2%

Yama Yoga Studios offered me the great opportunity to experience yoga. Having never done yoga before, I was not sure what to expect and was a little concerned how my back would cope with the poses and movements. Karl the instructor led the class and helped me link my breathing and movements and achieve poses I recall doing as a child. I never dreamed that my body would be able to do them at this stage of my life. Although yoga is relaxing, don’t let anybody tell you that it is easy and not much of a workout. I worked muscles that I had forgotten about and generated a healthy sweat. It was a very exhilarating workout and my back felt great afterwards.

I have continued to work out at Curves. The 30 minute workout really suits my crazy schedule of work, children and running a home. Nicole from Art of Abundant Living has continued to be my mentor and health consultant through my journey, offering strategies and coping methods through the highs and lows of it. I am continuing to have great results and it’s an amazing feeling when I put on my clothes and they are too big for me!!! I am going to be doing a detox in the next month in preparation for my trip to the spa in Thailand. I am looking forward to continuing to have great results. The journey continues...

Following Alyson

... As she shares her personal journey on her Wordpress and Twitter

May 16: It's a great day, the best ever!!! I bought a pair of pants a few months back. I did not try them on at the store and when I got home I could not get them past my butt. In frustration I screwed them into a ball, threw them back into the plastic bag and tossed them into the bottom of the cupboard to be returned... This morning I got up, looked in the mirror and thought: I am looking slimmer around the hips, legs and the butt, so maybe just maybe those pants might fit......? With a deep breath I pulled the pants on, slowing as I got to the hip area and WOW WOW !!! They just slid on. I did not even have to wriggle or suck in my stomach, THEY JUST FITTED and looked great. May 9: I have been very lucky and dados beauty has sponsored me with beauty treatments through my whole journey!!! How lucky can a girl be? Carla the manageress was great and set up appointments for me until the end of June. Cellulite and mesotherapy, hammam baths and facials – wow. Basically the cellulite works on vacu-

um suction – YES they suck the fat away!! It stimulates the blood and lymphatic circulation which removes the toxins in the system and gets rid of waste. Side effects can be nausea and dizziness but if I drink enough water it will stop this and the water FLUSHES out the toxins. SO DRINK DRINK DRINK. May 4: I have one of those weeks where you have no time for yourself and seem to live in the car stuck in one traffic jam after another, and between meetings and kids I did not get to Curves except on Saturday and Sunday. I am feeling very frustrated. So tomorrow I am DEFINITELY going, and going to work out HARD. Although I have not got to Curves I have managed to walk around the compound, which is large, so I have done some exercise. I saw my nutritionist and she tweaked my snacks a little. I was having too much – two snacks in one (not a good idea). She also suggested I have more protein at breakfast time to help keep my blood sugar stable.

On twitter:

@AALNicole #wttransform@WomanToday had measurements at Curves lost 2.2kg 11.5cm feeling great. Had to throw pants away too big yahoo!!! @WomanToday ideal snack apple and 5 almonds to maintain blood sugar levels and keep away cravings until dinner @AALNicole #wttransform frustrating when u go to a place and only food is fried chicken and fries and u can’t bring your own #wttransform@WomanToday big thanks to Vodafone and BlackBerry for sponsorship thru my transformation. I am one lucky lady on the way to dados for hammam bath and mesotherapy to work away those inches can’t wait to relax @AALNicole #wttransform had a yoga experience great for body mind and soul. Worked up sweat stretched muscles, stiff feel great. Follow her on: wttransform.wordpress.com wttransform

Mobile partners : 2011 June


Green Box Note from Dr Rajka Milanovic Galbraith Alyson is doing fabulously! Her weight loss is at a safe level and the comprehensive programme will help her to maintain the loss as well as a healthy lifestyle. A 5-kg weight loss significantly reduces a patient’s chances of going on to develop type II diabetes.

The Green Box supports you in engaging yourself and your family in a healthier quality lifestyle! They give you easy access to quality healthy products; provide the convenience of shopping online without leaving your home; deliver to your doorstep; and most interestingly, their kitchen guru Gill shares recipes and cooking tips. And health guru Nicole shares weekly wellness tips. The green boxes contain a selection of fresh, mostly seasonal produce (fruit and/or vegetables) from certified growers and a local organic farmer. Fresh hormone-free and antibiotic-free chicken is imported from Belgium. The chickens have been fed with yeast, wheat and corn and are halal certified. The "Le Larry" goat cheese which Green Box provides is a delicious fresh, soft, creamy cheese.

coaching continues...


The Dukan Diet

The Dukan Diet was created by French medical doctor Pierre Dukan, who devoted his career to helping people lose weight. Since its introduction in France in 2000, the Dukan Diet swept across the country and has been the number one diet in France ever since. It has now gone on to become an international phenomenon with unprecedented success in over 100 countries throughout the world. The Dukan Diet is a unique 4-step programme, combining two steps to lose your unwanted weight and two steps to keep it off for good.


June 2011

In the first coaching session in May (fourth from the beginning), Alyson sat down with Nicole to review the stresses she was facing. Alyson is learning to juggle her many family responsibilities with work and the activities associated with her commitment to her health and wellness goals. Nicole reviewed what’s working for her and her family and discussed tips for what could be done differently. “One of the many time-saving tips that Alyson is using is ordering her fruit and vegetables, organic goat’s cheese and chicken products from the Green Box. The home delivery service means that Alyson and her family are always well stocked with healthy food choices, and it ensures that Alyson is not running to the grocery store at the last minute. Cooking meals in large quantities and freezing portions, along with creating weekly meal plans to reduce shopping trips and shopping time are also working well,” says her health coach. As Alyson is creating new habits and letting go of old behaviours that don’t serve her goals, she is facing some challenges that are increasing her stress levels. The hammam treatment at dados beauty, the yoga classes with Yama Yoga

and the regular exercise at Curves are not only contributing to Alyson’s change in weight, they are also significantly reducing the level of stress she is feeling. Nicole reminds Alyson to slow down when eating a meal or snack, bringing her attention to the food on her plate (instead of the long list of to-dos). Chewing each mouthful until it is the consistency of apple sauce is helping her to digest her food better and gain more nutritional value from each meal. Alyson is doing well with drinking more than two litres of water a day and watching her portion sizes.


In the next session, Alyson celebrates with her coach the many little successes she is enjoying, in particular the letting go of another 11.5cm in size and 1.2% body fat. The scales are showing a very healthy weight loss of 2.2kg for the month. Alyson’s confidence is building as she is starting to see and feel the rewards of being committed to her goals and creating new habits. “We agreed that in June it will be a good time to do a gentle detox cleanse, and we signed Alyson on to the More Raw Facebook group, where she will enjoy the support of others who are doing a cleanse in June. The benefits of a group are shar-

partners fitness


Alyson getting her cellulite treatment at dados

beauty & spa

well being

ing ideas, challenges and successes; the opportunity to support others; and professional advice and support throughout the process. This cleanse will prepare Alyson well for her detox retreat experience in Thailand in July,” says Nicole. During this session we also explored a fun relationship tool called the Five Love Languages. Alyson will complete a short questionnaire with her husband, and the results of both their scores will be discussed. It is likely that Alyson and her husband have different love languages, and these differences can keep their relationship interesting or provide them with challenges. Understanding and appreciating the differences and similarities in the way they express and receive love could have a profound impact on the quality of their communication and feelings towards each other.

What is Woman Today Transform?

Woman Today Transform has been launched to show you how a normal woman with a normal life in Qatar, with life's everyday challenges and her own personal health hurdles, can be empowered to take back control of her right to a vibrantly healthy body and mind. To expose followers of Woman Today Transform to the wide array of health services, products, knowledge, people and activities that exist to support you with your personal health journey. Cheer for Alyson as she shares her experience, thoughts, and challenges. One woman – transforming her world!

Nicole van Hattem is a Board Certified Holistic Health Coach, writer, speaker, presenter and Corporate Wellness Consultant. Nicole is also the Founding Director of Art of Abundant Living and runs a thriving health coaching practice. Nicole’s passion is to guide and support clients as they make the changes they’re ready for and that work for their lifestyle and health style. The process is empowering and supportive and enables Nicole’s clients to get the most out of this incredible life and to live it in health, abundance and joy. With over 20 years professional experience working with multi-national corporations in the Gulf region, UK and Australia, Nicole’s main areas of expertise are: * Individual wellness coaching * Corporate health and wellness programmes * Employee engagement initiatives * Leadership development Nicole transformed her own life and as a result her body transformed too. To read her story and view the before and after pictures, please visit www.artofabundantliving.com – Success Stories.

2011 June





Tapping into the power of our minds

We repeat in our heads a lot of negative suggestions, and a lot of my work is reversing that, says Gabrielle Turner, in an interview with Vani Saraswathi. 20

June 2011


ith a little bit of scepticism and a lot of curiosity I prepared to meet Gabrielle Turner, who came to Doha less than a year ago and has already harnessed quite a lot of interest in her hypnotherapy practice. On the eve of our scheduled meeting, at a networking event, I sat next to a lady of indeterminate age. She stood out in the rather aggressive and extroverted group of professional women in the lounge. She had a brilliant smile and the kindest eyes, politely curious about and attentive to the people around her. And the name tag read ‘Gabrielle’. What are the chances that of all the professional women in Qatar who chose to attend the event, I would sit next to the lady I would be meeting officially the next morning? Actually, given that this is Doha, I would say a good chance. It’s a tiny city, after all. We both held back from turning the exchange into an interview. But we had enough interaction for me to be rid of almost all my scepticism. She sure didn’t look like she was going to get me to jump through hoops or speak in foreign accents. An occupational therapist by vocation, that’s the field Gabrielle worked in for much of her career in the UK, specialising in mental health. This included working in a therapeutic community for people suffering from eating disorders and managing a mental health day hospital. Her focus was on integrating the mentally ill back into society and workplace. About 14 years ago she moved to Thailand with her partner (now husband) and daughters, where her journey into alternative therapies picked up pace.

Early fascination She trained as a doula (birthing partner), after shelving plans to become a midwife. The doula uses hypnosis as a powerful tool. As Gabrielle became increasingly fascinated with hypnotherapy, she tried it herself as a client to help get rid the 20-odd kilos she had been carrying since the first of her three pregnancies. With the help of hypnosis she applied it to herself and succeded in reaching her ideal body weight. She trained as a fully qualified hypnotherapist in Thailand and is registered with the UK National Guild of Hypnotists. “It is amazing, the power of our own minds and the positive changes we can make by harnessing that power through hypnotherapy. I trained as a hypnotherapist and then master hypnotist and now see clients for a variety of issues and changes they

would like to make. I love the work that I do, from the initial hypnosis exercises when clients suddenly realise what they can accomplish, and then to see them moving on in their lives, effectively and confidently making changes,” says Gabrielle.

Parent as a hypnotist

The Business of Wellbeing Over the course of 13 years in Bangkok, she had an opportunity to pursue different passions – “all of them linked to women’s health and wellbeing,” she stresses. “The first was to launch a lingerie company, SmoochieSmoochie, aiming specifically at the Western women who were not able to buy their sizes in Bangkok and who were left feeling frustrated and huge (having very different figures than the petite Thai ladies!) We ran a very popular company and had fun putting on fashion shows which included one at our launch party with over 600 guests! “At the same time I followed my passion for supporting women in having positive, empowering birth experiences, training and working as a doula spe-

“People come to me to solve their problem. But I am just a guide, the solution lies within them.” cialising in hypnosis for birth. This meant amazing experience after amazing experience as I witnessed and supported women in the most personal and moving moments of their lives.” (see box) Gabrielle sees hypnotherapy as a form of focussed attention, and says it’s as much about stopping people from hypnotising themselves with negative suggestions, as it is about positive suggestion.

Negative vs Positive suggestions “We repeat in our heads a lot of negative suggestions, and a lot of my work is reversing that. Nearly everybody has experienced hypnosis. For instance, it's like arriving at our destination without remembering the journey. It’s about how we choose to see certain aspects in us or others, and choose to ignore other aspects. We are conditioning our mind...” She stresses that our very first hypnotists are our parents. What they suggest is what influences us all our lives. A stern reminder as parents to watch what

Our every chide and encouragement, every word and action, has an impact on our children. And while communicating with our kids, we need to remember three hypnotic powers. Coming from a mother of three daughters (ages 17, 15 and 9), Gabrielle’s take on successfully using each hypnotic power with our child is not to be taken lightly. She refers to thoughts from the book Three Hypnotic Powers: A Guide for Parents by Jennifer Norris, who visits Doha this June.


Words: We are all at our most suggestible as we are falling asleep or in our drowsy waking moments. Use this time to plant positive thoughts in your child’s mind about themselves, , the day to come, or even changes that you would like them to make. For example: “Tomorrow you are going to wake up in your lovely, dry bed.” (if bedwetting is an issue)


Perceptions and Feelings: Hypnosis is all about the use of concentrated focus, so using the idea ‘where the focus goes it grows’, change the focus from the behaviour you don’t want to what you do want. If you would like your child to greet people with a “hello”, have fun together spotting other children who already model that behaviour.


Imagination: Listening to stories engages the imaginations which is one of the fastest ways to the subconscious mind. While reading to your child, plant suggestions in their mind which associate positive qualities in the story's character with those of your child which you would like to encourage, eg "Cinderella worked hard and always saw the best in people just like you."

2011 June




“I am on a high after a session. When you aid somebody in making a long term change, especially to do with health, it is highly satisfying. I also do a lot of self-hypnosis.”

change, especially to do with health, it is highly satisfying. I also do a lot of self-hypnosis.” When she is working on mental health problems, she always refers back to her supervisor. The first session with Gabrielle lasts about 90 minutes. You are introduced to hypnotherapy, after which she sets out to explore what the client wishes to achieve or change. Depending on what the issue in hand is, the number of sessions is determined: On an average, between 1 and 3 sessions to give up smoking, 4-6 sessions for weight loss, six for birthing and so on.

What is the hypnotic state?

Gabrielle, with her mother, before she used the power of her mind to come to grips with her food issues and lose the extra weight she had been carrying around.

Natural birth at its best

In hypnosis for birth, parents can work through their fears about labour and birth – which enables them to approach birth in a relaxed and calm way. It gives them confidence in themselves to overcome any social conditioning and negative suggestions which they may have experienced from others. It allows the mother to be in a state of deep relaxation which ensures that her body will function at its optimum level, releasing the endorphins which are our natural anaesthesia. Hypnosis also acts as a natural form of anaesthesia and allows the mother to alter her perception of any discomfort she may experience from the surges of energy with which she works in harmony.


June 2011

we say and do, and pay even more attention to what we emphasise as parents (see box). As a hypnotherapist, the most common issues Gabrielle works on are: confidence, fears, low self esteem, weight loss, addictions, living with chronic pain, anger management, dealing with grief. “People come to me to solve their problem. But I am just a guide, the solution lies within them.”

Forgive In terms of anger management, Gabrielle says a lot of the work is about forgiveness. “By forgiving you are letting go of anger, guilt or fear, and you are gaining back control. You don’t have to vocally or publicly forgive, you just need to do it in your mind. She shares the rules of forgiveness that she discusses with her clients: You don’t have to tell the person that you forgive them. You don’t have to like or condone what that person has done. You don’t have to forget. By holding onto anger and hate you are only hurting yourself. Forgiveness is the erasure of anger, hate and fear. All the energy that you have been giving will be released for you to have a great life. By not forgiving, you allow someone else to control your emotions and actions.

Energised, not drained Dealing with our issues is burden enough, but how much more taxing must it be to listen and guide others through their festering problems? Gabrielle seems strangely energised and calm after sessions, and I’ve seen her in the moments between back to back consultations. “I am on a high after a session. When you aid somebody in making a long term

Though I was worried that I would embarrass myself in a state of deep hypnotism, I soon realised what we see on television are shows, and demand that kind of drama. But in an actual session, you are in a deep state of relaxation, fully aware of self and following the therapist’s suggestions. Your mind wanders, and there are some who have even taken a cat nap, but Gabrielle assures me that our subconscious is very much awake and alert. She does not force the men (mainly for addictions and anger management) and women (weight loss and stress) who seek her expertise to open up. She needs them to share just enough so that she can decide her next step. “I free them up to do their own work. Some people are very self conscious...” Though details of my session are beyond the realm of this story, suffice it to say predictable reactions stop at the tip of your tongue, past evidence falls apart, and you sense an unconscious change in attitude – the only deliberate action being the drive to her house in Al Waab, and taking the seat in her therapy room. Like most alternative therapy that has no million dollar research backing, this too has to be embraced more on trust than evidence. "Though it must be said that hypnotherapy has received more acceptance than the rest from mainstream medicine. What's not understood is how or why it works. There is so much about our minds that we don't understand," says Gabrielle. It may be tough to decide to seek the services of a hypnotherapist, given that you may have to have between three and five sessions a month. So what will probably get you to take the first step would be a combination of desperation and frustration because all else has failed. Following up with more sessions will definitely be because of trust in the crinkly eyed, smiling Gabrielle, whose voice (both soft and deep) wields an incredibly soothing power



Enlivening the Canvas

Sue Pownall is a nomad who has travelled to more than 37 countries for work and inspiration, and now calls Doha home to her easel and palette, writes Pragati Shukla.


very time Sue Pownall used to walk down the staircase at her home back in UK, her eyes would fall on the old pen and ink painting of her grandma’s farmhouse, and she would say to herself: “I will make a painting like this someday.” And today she reckons that it is because of that painting that she has become an artist. Since childhood, Sue’s been passionate about drawing and painting, as a result of which most of the gifts she received would be drawing pads, colours and other instruments required to hone her skill. After completing her schooling, she studied art and design for four years at the North Essex School of Art from where she obtained a Diploma in Art & Design. She also studied graphic design at Plymouth College of Art & Design, UK, which landed her a job in a graphic designing firm where she worked for over seven years. Sue’s interest in art led her to develop another interest: travel-


June 2011

RapidFire Hobbies Drawing, Painting, Hiking

Feering Manor. Pen & ink 300x200mm ©Sue Pownall. A drawing of someone’s English home, which was commissioned as a wedding anniversary gift. ling. She is a nomad who has travelled to more than 37 countries for work and inspiration. She portrays the essence of her surroundings in realistic pen and ink drawings. Her nomadic trait brought her to Khartoum, Sudan. Inspired by the beauty, peacefulness and the people of Khartoum, Sue started sketching each and every aspect of the place. These sketches then took the form of a book called Khartoum, which was launched recently on the self publishing site Blurb. “I went to Khartoum on a temporary contract of four months and I fell in love with the people and the place. Away from the hustle bustle of city life, Khartoum is a quiet and relaxing city. During those four months I did a lot of drawings and also clicked some photographs to capture the essence of the city,” she says.

“The book came up as a suggestion from a friend who encouraged me to collect all the work I did and publish it as a book,” she adds. After she completed her contract in Khartoum, Sue moved to Oman, where she was invited to exhibit her work during a show to celebrate the Sultan’s 40th anniversary. The exhibition served as a connection between Africa and Oman. “I was invited there because I had done a few drawings of Khartoum and other African countries and have also painted Oman a bit. I developed the pieces that I sketched during my visit to Khartoum, Africa and other places, and showcased them in the exhibition along with the pieces I made in Oman,” says Sue, who received rave reviews for her artwork. Her constant search for places that could inspire her brought her to Qatar, where she started working

Have you drawn any famous personality Not yet. If given a pen and a paper what would be the first thing you draw? A person. Is there something unique you have done through your art? I am a member of Urban Sketcher community and we gathered a group of artists in Doha for a sketching session. These sketches would then be used to raise some funds for Japan. Being a woman is the greatest gift god gave us. Art is Amazing, Inspirational Beauty is different things for different people. Travelling is Something that everyone should have an opportunity to do. Freedom is Something everybody should have.

as an English teacher at Qatar Petroleum. “One reason I came to Qatar is because I thought I would get enough time to work on my art. I have also approached a few companies and recently met a CEO of an architectural firm who is interested in commissioning two or three art pieces of Doha for his office. I will be making a few paintings for him.” Recently Sue was invited to exhibit her work at the Trans-Siberian Arts Centre (T-SAC), which is an inaugural project for the non-profit artists-run initiative Kitchen. Travelling widely with no fixed address, Kitchen promotes a varying range of artistic projects using a pop-up ethos. From 26th April – 2nd May 2011, T-SAC presented a series of free performances, exhibitions and new works by over 180 emerging international artists from Moscow to Beijing aboard the Trans-Siberian train. 2011 June




Message for aspiring artists

“Practise,” Sue says firmly. “Practise as much as you can. Just take a sketch board and a pencil and start drawing whatever surrounds you.”

“I was among the 180 artists who were selected to exhibit their work there. In the exhibition I presented my drawing of a Khalifa’s House Gate which was selected by them as a piece they wanted to be exhibited in the show,” says the excited artist. What is the Pen & Ink form of art? “Pen and Ink form of art is a traditional way of drawing and had been in practice even before printing started. It is basically drawing using ink pen while using different techniques. I use pens that are prefilled, though many artists also use traditional fountain pens – it’s very difficult to work with those pens as the ink spreads all over the place, spoiling your drawing and hands,” she explains. “Many of my artist friends think that pen and ink is one of the most difficult techniques one can use, but I personally don’t find it difficult. It is something you have to learn the basics of and practise as much as you can.”

Nomadic Instinct Sue Pownall loves to explore new places and tries to draw everything that impresses her during her journey. Her best companions are her sketch book and the pen that she always keeps in her bag, and whenever she sees anything beautiful and inspiring she starts sketching it. “It is my style of working. I usually draw things on the spot. I see things around and try to portray their essence through my sketching. For example my sketches in the book Khartoum are all on-the-spot sketches which I developed later on.”

On the cards “This summer I am planning to go to Cuba, where I will be using paints to portray the real spirit of the island. It is a beautiful vibrant place and it would be unfair on my part not to add colours while representing Cuba. I am hoping to go for a two to three weeks trip and just paint for a while,” says Sue. “I am currently working on a series of Urban Decay, of which, the trip to Cuba is an essential part. I like the Urban Decay form of art, when the things are slightly away from perfect and start to crumble. I have a whole series of pictures that seem to be developing over urban decay, and Cuba could be slot in nicely with them because it has got these old Spanish-style beautiful buildings which have not been looked after for so long. I am also working on some ideas on series of Doha.”

Scope in Qatar

Khalifa’s House Gate, Omdurman


June 2011

“There is definitely scope for this form of art in Qatar. People here are bored of seeing the same things. Art galleries and the other abstracts are very traditional paintings. One of the things that I noticed while exhibiting in Muscat is that my work stood out because it is different and new for people, and I think because of this uniqueness it will give me a market in Doha too.” Sue takes her inspiration from the minute details of life and how it keeps changing its face time after time. Sue doesn’t just look at the outer beauty of something but through her sketches tries to bring out the inner beauty of everything she draws. Her art portrays the general way humans behave and how they develop and adapt things

Is this true?

“A vacation is like love - anticipated with pleasure, experienced with discomfort and remembered with nostalgia.”

Is there a Hoffman in you?

“I envy people who can just look at a sunset. I wonder how you can shoot it. There is nothing more grotesque to me than a vacation.” Dustin Hoffman, actor

Remind you of anyone you know? A boss, perhaps?

“The ant is knowing and wise, but he doesn’t know enough to take a vacation.” Clarence Day, author

What’s on your packing list?

“I was very pleased, obviously, to have outsold such great writers. But I’m not insane - I do realise that I am a popular writer who people buy to take on vacation.” Maeve Binchy, writer

If only we were all that lucky:

“On vacation, I totally unplug. I don’t bring a laptop with me.” Will Wright, video game designer

If you are stuck in Doha, remember: “Laughter is an instant vacation.” Milton Berle, actor

Time to pamper Mum?

“A vacation frequently means that the family goes away for a rest, accompanied by a mother who sees that the others get it.” Marcelene Cox, humourist

2011 June



Bin the


Dealing with a wired vacation In spite of a suggested ‘loosening up' for healthy living, rising aspirations and target-oriented work profiles are definitely casting their shadow on our vacations, writes Shalinee Bharadwaj.


he mere thought of a vacation spent hooked to your laptop is the last thing on anyoneís wishlist. And yet, it is not uncommon with the working genre to be sunbathing at a beach resort while still calculating targets achieved and pending in their seemingly relaxed state of mind. Is it the desire to excel in their work arena that overpowers their promise to spend quality time with family and kids? Or is it the race against time to cut down on their inbox overload when they return? Whatever the reason, the corporate community is unequivocally counting on its Blackberries and iPads as vacation essentials! Call it the need of the hour or the bane of technology; gone are the days when once on vacation you could cut yourself off from the world under the excuse of 'network unreachable'. Welcome to the


June 2011

world of technologies that is striving hard to finesse an all-time-connectivity down to our phone! Balancing work/vacation is an art, and a few tips can make all the difference before you take the big plunge.

Starters To start with, it makes good sense to ponder the efficacy of working on a vacation before deciding and embarking upon the idea. Ask yourself these questions: Do you really need to work on your vacation? What is the benefit against the cost? If you don’t work at all, will things back at the office fall apart without you? What is it costing you in terms of lost fun and family time? If there is some special reason to work – a proj-

ect is due, or your department is short-handed? Could better scheduling of your vacation head off these problems in the future? What strategies can you employ (working ahead, finding a replacement, etc.) to prevent leaving unfinished jobs at the office? Could better time management all the year through prevent problems at vacation time? How will it affect your family? Remember this isn’t just your vacation. Your working on vacation can mean more work for your spouse and less fun for the kids. How well can you manage it? If working means spending your days at an Internet cafe, when everyone else is at the beach, it may not be worth it. But if you can take care of a few things while everyone is sleeping or handle things by phone, working on vacation may be a viable option.

Vacations: Stress-busters "Vacations are seen as an antidote to work. They are medicine, a remedy for counteracting the effects of labor. Vacations allow us to be away from the job, to change the patterns of our day, to alter our routine, to reconfigure our actions and habits, to rediscover ourselves." Al Gini, The Importance of Being Lazy

Planning work on vacation Before leaving on your much awaited break, it is a responsible gesture to hand over your tasks to the people back at the office in an organised manner. Preparing and making sure things will keep running smoothly in your absence should be taken as part of planning your trip. This may be done by maintaining a journal, listing your daily activities and responsibilities, so that the people charged with filling in for you know what to expect and how to handle any tasks that come their way. If working on vacation is inevitable, planning ahead will take a load off your mind and you will be able to enjoy your vacation better with your family. Follow the three Ss to make your working vacation more enjoyable: Spell out the rules: Chalk out in advance how

much and when you’ll work. If you try to slip in a little work here and there, it may seem to your family that you’re always working. Instead, set aside a specific time and let the family know when you will and won’t be working. Stick to your plan: Once you have decided how much to work on your vacation, follow your plan as much as possible. For self-employed people, there is no one else to watch the shop while they go on vacation and more often than not, working on vacation is a necessity for them. But self-employment should not become an excuse for overworking on holidays. Spend plenty of time with kids and family: A vacation is an opportunity for the entire family to interact freely and experience the feel of togetherness which is otherwise sparse in the busy life schedule. Try not to cut from their fun time

In addition to rewarding us with the joy of discovering new sights, landscapes and cultures, vacations free of the routine hassles of daily life bring about a sense of peace and relaxation. A change of pace, an unwiring, is essential to balance the multiple demands of your role as a parent and an employee. A vacation is seen by psychologists and health experts as equivalent to a stress busting elixir. Vacations strengthen family bonds and help families to tide over the stresses of difficult times. Vacations promote well being. You return not only physically charged but also mentally rejuvenated after spending time away from daily stresses. Vacations stave off ‘burnouts’ and promotes creativity.

opinion Do you completely switch off from work during your holidays? no


56% 44% woman today online poll

2011 June



Child on board When travelling with kids, it is always wise to plan and prepare to make your travel enjoyable, safe and tear-free, says Dr Rajka Milanovic Galbraith.


t is that time of year again, when the majority of residents, expats and nationals, will leave Doha to escape the heat. While most mums look forward to travel, many of us know that travelling alone especially with children, can be challenging – some children travel easily while others do not. I used to think that I had earned a certain rite of passage when I travelled literally around the world with my son when he was a toddler. Of course it was a lot of work but it was manageable because of the kind of child he was, able to sit in one place for prolonged periods of time. I could not imagine the same for our daughter, who just cannot sit still for long.

Planning The most important thing to consider is how many places you will be visiting. The younger your child, the less tolerant they are to change. A maximum of two locations is suitable for the toddler age. Another thing to consider is the timing of the flight. For many parents, a night flight is a blessing while for others it is a curse. Think about how your child sleeps. Will he go to sleep in unknown places? If you are not buying a seat for your child he will have to sleep in your lap or the bassinet, which is not suitable for infants over 8 months of age despite what they may tell you. Once your destination is set and your flights are booked, it is important to check if there are any immunisations needed. An excellent source for travel immuni-


June 2011

sations is the website: http://wwwnc.cdc.gov/travel/ destinations/list.htm. Here you can click on a country to review vaccines needed. The CDC also has a travel vaccination checklist here: http://wwwnc.cdc.gov/ travel/page/vaccinations.htm. In Qatar, you can go to the Supreme Council of Health’s Vaccination Department in Abu Hamour for most vaccines. They do not however stock Hepatitis A vaccine, but this can be found at the private hospitals. Don’t forget to pack your prescribed medications in your carryon along with medications for pain, fever, and motion sickness. It is wise to bring along a small first aid kit to include Band-Aids and a topical antibacterial cream.

Activities and Distractions The hardest part of travel is getting your child to sit still when they are supposed to; this is where activities and snacks come in. One mum I polled bought a new small toy that she gift wrapped for an hour of flight. Another mum decorated brown bags with curly ribbons and stickers that carried a small snack and a small inexpensive toy each (think Al Rawnaq variety). She packed 3-4 of these brown bags and brought out a new one each time her child acted up. Ensure you have enough food, as hunger and fatigue are the two biggest causes of meltdowns. Favourite snacks amongst mums are: pretzels, Goldfish, raisins, crackers, biscuits, suckers and M&Ms. One

askthedoc 1. How long before I travel should I have my immunisations?

It takes two weeks for your body to build up antibodies (an immunity) to the vaccine given. So allow a minimum of two weeks before travel for receiving the vaccines. Plan to seek the vaccines 1 month in advance.

2. Do I need to take any special medicines along just in case traveller’s diarrhoea (TD) hits?

If you are travelling to areas where the risk of developing TD is high – Asia (with the exception of Singapore), Africa (outside of South Africa), South and Central America, and Mexico – then ask your doctor about taking along antibiotics for you and your child. Ciprofloxacin dosed at 500 mg twice daily for 1-2 days is sufficient in adults while Azithromycin is used for children. The latter is dosed according to the weight of the child.

3. Should I buy travel insurance?

Travel insurance for medical evacuation purposes and in order to receive treatment is invaluable and affordable. The more remote the country, the more strongly I would recommend travel insurance if you don’t have one in that country.

Gear When packing gear, think about the logistics of travel, and the ages of your children. How independent are they? While many parents like to have a small bag pack for each child, they may have to carry everything they bring if the child is too young or simply, too tired. Often your stroller is checked through to your final destination, rendering it unavailable for a connection. While many airports provide strollers (eg: Dubai) some do not. And when they do, they often run out. When I travelled with two children under the age of 6, I strapped one child on the front in a Bjorn, a backpack on the back and had a diaper bag slung over my shoulder. It was helpful to be able to manage all on my own. You can move up to the wheelie bag once the kids are old enough to walk at your connections. Always remember to keep spare clothes (plus swim suit if it is a beach destination) for yourself and children in a Ziploc bag in your carryon.

mother gave the M&Ms only on descent to keep her child seated and from crying. Chewing helps equalise ear pressure. If you do bring books and DVDs to use in flight, then make sure they are ones you have put aside a few weeks prior to the trip so they seem new. And even when all doesn’t go to plan, remind yourself that eventually you will reach your destination even if at the end you have a “worst” travel story to tell

Parenting Travel Tips

1 2 3

Label all your passports on the front and back. It will make going through passport control much easier. Once your child is old enough to read, have your child lead you. That way he will learn to travel alone when he is old enough. Use Ziploc bags to separate a change of clothes in your carryon for all your children and YOU. If you do have to change because of wet clothes then you can put the wet clothes back into the same bag after you have changed.

4 5

For children who are potty training, bring along a portable potty like Pottette available on www. pottette.com Pack your check-in luggage in differently coloured duffel bags for each family member. The duffels pack more easily in rental cars and carry more when you have a weight restriction. Try http://www. campmor.com/outdoor/gear/Product___79928


Reduce the gear you have to pack by investing in an inflatable car seat good for age 4 and up: http:// easycarseat.com/

Dr Rajka Milanovic Galbraith is an American Board certified family physician, a mother of two and a wife who has resided in Doha for the past 6 years. She has over 14 years of clinical experience and is regarded highly by her patients, colleagues and staff. Recently she launched a website: www.expatdoctormom.com which provides up-to-date information in a wide variety of areas including: healthcare, parenting, travel, and entrepreneurship. Dr Rajka writes a regular column covering subjects from women and family health to parenting issues. If you have questions you wish answered, please write to wtoday@omsqatar.com, subject line ‘Ask the Doc’. 2011 June



holiday planner By Cassey Oliveira & Pragati Shukla

Woman Today helps you chart an ideal itinerary for the summer break... 26 things to do before you die!

A Adventure

If adventure means fun for you, jump into your trekking gear and head to Nepal - home to the world’s largest mountain peak - Mount Everest. You can explore the mighty Himalayan range in a number of ways, the Annapurna Base Camp being most popular. You might end up discovering a new route!


June 2011

C Casinos


Enjoy a steaming cup of coffee with your sweetheart at a cottage on one of the most beautiful beaches in the world – around the Las Islas Cies Archipelago. Get swamped in love while diving under the turquoise waters on the coastline of Galicia in Spain.


If you want to splurge, and have a way with cards, why not hit the casinos? The Casino de Monte-Carlo in Monaco is one of the most notable gambling facilities and also houses the Grand Theatre de Monte Carlo, an opera and ballet house. Citizens are barred from entering gaming rooms, but as a visitor you get to try your luck!

How often do you find elephants strolling up and down the streets? Chances are never. Spend a day learning about these powerful pachyderms at the Elephant Nature Park in Thailand. You can bathe them, feed them, or be an overnight helper; it’s a moment you don’t want to miss!


d Disneyland

A family vacation is a big investment. So go for a place that members of every age-group can enjoy. The newly opened Disneyland in Shanghai is the best place for a family holiday where elders get to relive their childhood while kids go crazy playing with a bunch of the most famous cartoon characters. Picture with Mickey, anyone?


There’s a fashion buff in all of us. Why not head to trendy New York to catch up with the latest fashion trends? Big brands, hot summer looks and dazzling jewellery – be ready to burn a hole in your pocket! Also while in New York, don’t miss Macy’s department store in Herald Square – the world’s largest shopping complex.

2011 June


g Gondolas

Just mention the word and you are already imagining yourself sitting cosily with your sweetheart in one of these elegant black boats, gliding through the canals of Venice. A standard gondola ride is 40 minutes – and it's only you and him, and of course the gondolier. How romantic!


Ice Hotel

We know the heat in Qatar is killing you, so why not stay in the world’s largest ice hotel? Located in Sweden, the ice hotel gives visitors a first – hand experience of how Eskimos live in igloos. The best part is that the hotel is redesigned every year – visit it the next year, and you will be welcomed to a new ice hotel! And don’t forget your sweater!

Jewel cave


Satiate your love for jewels by exploring Western Australia’s largest cave – Jewel Cave, home to one of the longest straw stalactites that hangs delicately 5.4 metres from the ceiling of the cave. Let your imagination run wild as each crystal formation takes the shape of your favourite jewellery piece – only you can’t buy them.


June 2011


It’s definitely been ages since your last honeymoon. Rekindle the passion once again on the romantic islands of Seychelles. Explore the world’s smallest capital city, Victoria, try some deep sea fishing or just relax on the beach enjoying the most beautiful sunset scene with him. Prince William and Princess Kate had their honeymoon there too!

k Kites

Relive your childhood days of kite flying during the Kite Festival held every July in Bali. Traditional Bali kites are known for their massive size, and just one person is not enough to fly one. So jump in, catch the reel, and watch the kite soar high in the colourful sky!





We usually go on vacations to get lost in the beauty and tranquillity of an exotic destination. This time try something different: get lost within the mysterious walls of the Pineapple Garden Maze, the world’s largest maze, at the Dole Plantation in Hawaii. Be ready to catch up with your kids!


Madame Tussauds

The only place that lets you hug/kiss Brad Pitt without being shoved by security – Madame Tussauds. The wax museum is a major tourist attraction in 12 countries, but you could visit the one in London – the first to be built. Get up close and personal with A-list celebrities, sporting legends, political heavyweights and historical icons – it has to be pictured on fb!


Away from head-banging music, enjoy the dramatic yet soulful operas in Berlin’s world-class opera houses. Deutsche Staatsoper is regarded as the most glamorous among the three houses in the country, attracting better singers for its shows. Book a seat and let the magical performance drift you into another world!

p Palaces

Feeling grand? Why not stay in a palace hotel in Rajasthan? Spend a night at the Raj Palace in Jaipur, which has been acknowledged as the world’s best heritage hotel. Indulge in a luxurious experience with true Indian flavour in this elegant and sumptuous palace.


June 2011




Movies often show forests in the most terrifying way, but it isn’t that way at all. In fact the Amazon Rainforest in South America gives you an exceptional opportunity to come closer to nature. You might encounter rare and beautiful species of flora and fauna that prevail only in this part of the world. But keep safe – it’s a forest after all.

How is it to live a Queen’s life? Visiting her palace might help you. Windsor Castle in UK – the official residence of The Queen – is the largest occupied castle in the world. Many parts of the castle are open to public – chances of bumping into your Prince Charming seem high!

r Romance

Let romance add a little zing to your holidays. The bank of the River Nile is the perfect romantic escape. Cruise along the world’s longest river in Egypt in a traditional sailboat (dahabeeya) and relive the romantic escapades of Cleopatra and Julius Caesar.

s Safari

Wilderness at its best - spot a playful pride of lions, a herd of zebras grazing, or a few crocodiles lazing around - this time for Africa! Be sure to take an experienced guide along for your safari. You don’t want to be lost alone!


June 2011

Turkish Baths

Enclose yourself in clouds of steam in the famous hammams (baths) of Turkey. Immerse yourself in the warm water and pamper yourself with a relaxing massage while the giggles and gossip of other women in the hammam keep you distracted.

u Underwater

Now you can dive into deep waters without getting wet! Situated on Sentosa Island of Singapore, Underwater World is a unique and well-known oceanarium showcasing some 2500 specimens of marine life. You also get to swim with pink dolphins or sharks – the choice is yours!


Ever fancied sipping rich red wine? Explore the real world of wine-making as you pass through the vineyards of the picturesque towns of Alsace. The Alsace wine route is a famous wine trail among all wine lovers. Don’t forget to stop at the various tasting cellars on the way. Cheers!



Now you don’t have to wait till December to hear the bells jingle. The Philippines celebrates the world’s longest Christmas season, with Christmas carols heard as early as September. Enjoy the season’s decor in Manila or take part in the annual lantern parade at the University of Phillipines or visit Jojo’s Christmas Cottage in the Visayas on the island of Panay, where Christmas is celebrated 365 days a year.



Since you will be enjoying a pleasant break from routine, take a step further and indulge in relaxing yoga sessions. Kerala offers you several yoga ashrams that train you to meditate. The scenic beauty in and around these ashrams will further heal your mind and soul.


A holiday tour is never complete without sighting a waterfall! Take in the splendour of the world’s largest waterfall - Victoria Falls - located between Zambia and Zimbabwe. A famous feature is a naturally formed pool, the Devil’s Pool. You can swim close to the edge of the falls within the pool without falling into the gorge thanks to a natural rock wall just below the water. But precaution is a must!



Sleep! Yes, it is necessary that your body receives sufficient hours of rest. Don’t plan such a tight schedule for your holidays that you end up sacrificing your sleep. It will only make you tired and cranky throughout the day. Try a warm shower before you go to bed.

2011 June



Woman Today provides you with a handbook on the dos and don’ts of travel...

Travel Guide

Women on the move The moment we step out of the door, we are aware of the footsteps behind us Marybeth Bond

author of Gutsy Women: Travel Tips and Wisdom for the Road


June 2011

opinion best part about holidays

Be it for business or simply leisure, travelling alone can give you jitters. Here are a few tips for a safe journey. Research the country you are visiting – its culture, etiquettes and how women dress. You don’t want to upset your hosts.


Learn the language, at least a few important sentences such as: Where is the hotel? How much? Thank you, etc. It not only helps when asking for directions but also breaks the ice.


Carry a map with you all the time to avoid getting lost.


Anticipate the traffic and mode of commute. Leave early from your hotel to be on time for that meeting.



Don’t wear or carry anything that draws unwanted attention – be it your outfit, accessories or expensive gadgets.


Using credit cards is safer than carrying a whole load of cash around. But keep handy your bank’s hotline number and details of their local partner in the place you are visiting.


If you don’t see women out late by themselves, don’t try to break that trend. If it’s urgent, let a hotel staff member accompany you.

exploring new places



lazing by the pool


Listen to your mum and don’t talk to strangers. It’s best to have a genuine guide show you around. If you don’t want one, approach families or storekeepers when you are lost rather than random men on the road who might take advantage of your helplessness.


Ask about tour packages for groups of single ladies. Give your folks back home your itinerary, flight information and hotel information. Update them regarding all the necessary contact numbers for emergencies.


If you have allergies or any medical condition, carry the medical tags on you at all times.


If you don’t want to incur roaming charges, pick up a local prepaid mobile.

with family

woman today online poll



woman today online poll

Choosing hotels

Hotels are not homes, but satisfactory accommodation is a must to enjoy those few days of bliss.

1 2 3

The hotel should be near the tourist sites and attractions. This will save time and transportation costs. Opt for hotels that give you a promotion offer or discount for your stay.

Check if the hotel provides amenities to suit your kids – playgrounds, swimming pools, clubhouse, etc. Kids won’t stay indoors for long.

4 5

Research the hotel well through its website. Read reviews from other visitors.

Thoroughly examine hotel rooms and ask what services they provide. Sometimes what is mentioned on the website may not turn out to be true.

you enjoy travelling



Take a self-defence course. It might come in handy.



shopping for self



Pack clothes based on the duration of your stay. It’s best to travel light.


with friends

60% 35%


Check that the hotel’s vicinity is clear of any construction work, night clubs or suspicious activities to avoid sleepless nights.


Three stars or seven stars – select hotels that suit your budget.

2011 June


Travel Guide


souvenir shopping


Budget Basics


Even if you wish to swipe your way through a holiday, it’s important what you spend is within your means, and that you will be able to pay it off quickly.

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Book tickets well in advance for best deals.

Don’t hesitate to look up friends and crash out at their homes. But be a good guest: be neat, carry a gift and be polite at all times, even if the toast is burnt beyond recognition.

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Tripadvisor.com is a great resource to compare hotel and tour package rates.

While going through an agent is simpler and headache free (almost) ... booking online can often turn out to be much cheaper.

Travel Guide

Home Safe Home


Don’t look only for branded hotels. Many tourist destinations have lovely family-run bed and breakfasts that will work out a lot cheaper than staying in a 4 or 5 star hotel. Not to mention, it will be a far more unique experience.

Leaving your home locked for a few days is a scary thought. A few tips to ease your return...

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Alarms seem pretty foolproof. Install. Activate. Remember to turn on. Trusted people get the pass code while others trigger the blaring. Give a last thorough check to the locks, doors and windows before you leave. An open inlet is a sure invitation to burglary.

Keep all your valuables hidden in a safe place. Keep jewellery and important documents in bank lockers. Ask your neighbour to check the house for you once or twice a week. You may give them a set of keys. If you have plants at home, you could request your neighbour to water them too.

If you have pets, seek either a pet-friendly buddy or a good kennel (eg QAWS) to take care of them. Even if you are a compulsive Facebook or Twitter updater, resist giving out too much information on your travel plans.

If you are on a tight budget, pick up your food from supermarkets while on the move. Treat yourself to a good meal out every now and then, and the rest of the time scrimp on sandwiches and salads from supers or roadside kiosks. You don’t compromise on taste or quality, and probably the only discomfort is eating on your feet.


Resist the urge to buy every curio or trinket you set your eyes on. Make a list of people you need to buy souvenirs for so that you don’t over- or under-buy. The Internet is a true boon. Research flea markets, bargain stores etc. And remember, a great holiday doesn’t have to mean an expensive one!

Leave your curtains the way they are when you are at home. Closed curtains for weeks at a stretch can tip off intruders. Move expensive items from the line of visibility. Unplug your television, computer, toaster, oven and other electrical appliances to protect them from power surges. This will also save on energy. Close all the taps before leaving, otherwise you might end up entering a flooded house on return.


June 2011

opinion you prefer to budget your holidays




woman today online poll

Take off...


Reach the airport well before time. You can never predict last minute chaos – traffic jams, excess luggage, overbooked flights or security checks. Have all your necessary documents to hand. Keep a copy of each in your handbag in case of any emergency. Be prepared for stringent security checks – avoid carrying things, especially metal items, in your luggage that will give rise to that embarrassing loud beep. Don’t place expensive items on the conveyor belts while you are still waiting at the security checkpoint. By the time you go past ahead, someone might have nicked them. Place them simultaneously on the belt as you walk through the checkpoint. Carry-on luggage will invite checking. It’s best to pack items as much as possible in your check-in luggage. Check with your airline about the maximum weight you are allowed to carry. Otherwise be ready to pay. Tag your bags to avoid confusion.

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Wailing kids or chatty co-passengers – cut off excess noise by plugging on your headphones. To look fresh on long-haul flights carry a few makeup essentials in your pouch: moisturising cream, lip balm for hydration and eye gel to prevent puffy eyes. Carry a small snack pack - certain airlines serve food late. The best way of passing your time on flights is to fall asleep only to wake up at your beautiful holiday destination. Failing that, read a book or watch a movie.

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Light backpacks and suitcases make your travel easier and more comfortable.

You may feel like throwing in your entire wardrobe but it’s advisable to pack only a few clothes with a complementary pair. Carry one or two pairs of denims that can go with several blouses. Try reversible clothing!

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you travel light


woman today online poll

If you are going somewhere cold or you are travelling in winter, it’s better to dress in layers rather than carrying bulky sweaters and jackets.

Too many accessories will only make your travel bulkier. A pair of comfortable shoes and sandals should be enough for your outings. You may feel like carrying three shades of mascara and six shades of lipstick but in reality you can do with just one shade of each. Other make-up essentials that you could carry are moisturiser, concealer, foundation, eyeliner, eyeshadow, and blush or bronzer.

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Just carry essential medicines and first aid. Avoid carrying unnecessary electronic items and gadgets such as laptops, video games and iPads. Take a break from technology; your phone (and charger) is enough to stay connected.



There are no two ways about this! Over-packing tops the list of biggest travel mistakes. You actually need very little while travelling. The following tips will help you to travel lighter:

Go for solid colours as they will not get dirty so soon and you won’t have to put them for laundry. Beige, sand and natural earth colours are a good choice!

On board:


Travel light, Travel right!

Travel Guide




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If your itinerary involves camping, don’t forget to carry a torch or flashlight. Credit cards are a better option than carrying cash with you. They not only reduce bulk but are also safer to carry.

2011 June


holidays Woman Today listens to some fascinating holiday tales...

Travel Journals

Heba M Al-Okar Founder of dados beauty and Cugini boutique

A treasure trove of ruins, with an exquisite richness in history, art, culture and hospitality, Damascus is a once-ina-lifetime experience enjoyed only by those who manage to ignore Syria’s intimidating reputation. My trip to Damascus was one of the most inspiring and welcoming travel experiences I have ever had, with a long list of must-visit places:

Spiritual and Pilgrimage Sites Umayyad Mosque in the Old City. The Convent of the First Lady of Saidnaya. The Shrine of Sitt Zainab. Tourist Attractions The City of Palmyra: Located in North East Syria and one of the few remaining Roman cities that still exist. Le Krak Des Chevaliers: Located in the coastal area of Syria and one of the best remaining Crusader castles in the world. Old Damascus: In addition to the Umayyad Mosque, Hanania Church and Saint Paul’s Church are each an important part of the Saint Paul’s journey to Christianity. Boutique Hotels The Art House: Hotel and art gallery featuring upcoming Syrian artists. Talisman Hotel: An old Syrian house renovated into a luxurious hotel located in the Jewish quarter of Old Damascus


June 2011

Art Galleries Ayyam Gallery: Located in West Mezzeh. Rafia Gallery: Located on the Four Seasons Boulevard. Both feature exclusive paintings by famous Syrian artists. Mustafa Ali Gallery: Includes some of the most famous sculptures and artworks of famous Syrian artist Mustafa Ali, located in the Jewish quarter of Old Damascus. Restaurants and Delicacies Restaurants that serve excellent Arab cuisine influenced by the City of Aleppo: Narenj located at the Old City. Al Halabi: At the Four Seasons Hotel. Dishes to try: Cherry kebab and kebbeh with yogurt (kebbeh labaniyyeh) Other must-trys: In the Old Souq: Bakdash traditional Arab ice cream. Refreshing liquorice drink (Sus) offered by traditionally dressed men carrying big copper jugs on their backs. A summer special, cactus fruit (Sabbara), available on the pavements of Rawda Square. Shisha and afternoon tea the Syrian way: Haretna, located at Bab Touma.

Lounges and Night Life: Zee Bar at the Umayyad Hotel. O Lounge in Dummar. After Seven Bar at Bab Sharqi in the Old City. Shopping: Al Khan in the Old City: Luxury brands and artworks from Arab designers. Online boutique www.pursenelle.com: A variety of handmade bags and lots of special pieces with Arabic calligraphy. Souq Al Hamedya: For textiles, spices and handicrafts.

opinion you prefer one long holiday in a year


at least two short ones


Holiday whenever i get the time


woman today online poll

This is a picture of Uluru (Ayers Rock) which is in the Northern Territory, central Australia. The rock changes colour during different times of the day. I love the Northern Territory – there are a lot of beautiful national parks and things to see.

Tanya Sakzewski, Doha Debates

This photo from a recent vacation I took in Italy is of a beautiful town called Sperlonga, about two hours away from Rome. Helene Theros, Qatar Foundation International

opinion you plan every last detail of the holiday


just the basics and play it by the ear


woman today online poll

nothing. buy the ticket online hours before


2011 June


holidays I have to admit at the outset, I am not much of a wildlife person. But it was impossible to get away from the persistent nagging of other volunteers I lived with in Tanzania about how a trip to Africa is incomplete without a safari. I was on a volunteer assignment in Arusha where I had been teaching at a local school for about two months. And so, there I was, in the middle of the Serengeti National Park with room mates huddled under a clear starry sky in the midst of all that wilderness. We’d sighted giraffes, zebras, leopards and hippos in the day and were told we’d be seeing some lions next morning. Being my first camping experience, I’d prepared myself for sleeping in tents, long walks, days without showering, and letting nature be my toilet. So as the group prepared to pee Vallath Krishnan in the bushes before zipping ourselves up in Hill & Knowlton the tent, we held hands and torches as we made our way into the darkness. It was my turn and, unable to let go of good grooming, I’d taken off my shoes and socks and laid them out neatly before crouching in the grass. In about five seconds I heard the hungry roar of the lion. In typical girly fashion, much screaming ensued (not from me) and the panicked group ran to their tent. Me? In the darkness I had to choose between being possibly eaten by a lion or losing my socks to the night. No guesses which one made it to the tent.

It was a feeling of pride to be one of the 4000 Bentley employees during my six-day training in Crewe, UK, a few years back. Every minute I spent there was a fulfilment of who I am here in Bentley, Doha. The thrill of being alone – visiting Buckingham Palace, Westminster Cathedral, the London Eye, the Tower of London and Big Ben while munching fish and chips was quite an experience but had also its drawbacks. For one, there was nobody to click a picture of me at these places. The weather too for some was quite a hassle, but as Asians we are already accustomed to having a few hours of rain and then all sunshine. i Wished I could explore the beauty of the UK further, but my business trip was too short.

opinion before visiting a foreign country, you research it's culture and traditions? Yes, you are prepared


No, you like surprises


woman today online poll


June 2011

Shiela Dalumpines Bentley Doha

By Cassey Oliveira


Summer Stunner

Not all of us will be flying off to exotic destinations. Those planning to stay back in Qatar, brace yourselves for the sweltering heat. Woman Today offers you 10 simple ways to cool off...


Get Sporty

Despite the weather being humid and itchy, you can still look stunning. Refurbish your wardrobe with the summer essentials - sexy shorts, flared skirts, floral print tops and any loose, layered and light-coloured cotton tunic. Tip: Light colours on garments reflect sunlight while cotton clothes evaporate sweat faster. Your hair can undergo a mini makeover too. Go extreme - get a bob. Think Victoria Beckham. It’s cute, sassy and chic and more importantly doesn’t make you feel sweaty. If you’re a Rapunzel fan, try out trendy ways to tie your hair up – ballerina bun, elegant chignon or a smart ponytail bent half and tucked into the elastic band.

Being a peninsula, Qatar offers ample opportunities on its shores for water sports such as jet-skiing, water-skiing, diving and sailing. A few places that provide water sport activities are Doha Sub Aqua Club (for diving and snorkelling), Qatar Sailing and Rowing Federation, The Pearl-Qatar and Diplomatic Club. Tip: Keep the action for evenings, when the temperature is slightly lower.


Merry malls

Thankfully the temperature inside every mall in Qatar is so cool you need a cardigan. On a hot weekend morning visit a mall. While you enjoy shopping, your kids can be busy in the gaming zone. Plus there’s a food court and a cinema for added recreation. While you are in, you'll never realise how sunny it is outside. Tip: To avoid walking in the sun, search for parking closest to the mall. If not, carry an umbrella.


Ice, ice baby

Think ice and you feel cool. Head to City Center or Villaggio and get your blades on. Test your ice skating skills. Tip: Don’t fear losing your balance: even the feel of cold, hard ice on your derriere would be a relief!


June 2011


Pool Party


Theme party

Call in your friends for a summer theme party, dress code white. Decorate your house with fresh flowers. Prepare a variety of fresh salads and tasty sea foods that are considered more cooling than meat. Avoid oily food as it leads to acidity and indigestion in summers. Don’t forget to keep a pitcher of a refreshing summer drink in your fridge. Recipe: Try out watermelon slush 4 cups cubed seedless watermelon 10 ice cubes 1/3 cup fresh lime juice Sugar and salt to taste Place watermelon and ice into a blender. Pour in lime juice, sugar, and salt. Blend until smooth. Serve chilled. Slurp!

If your place has a pool, it’s great! Otherwise rope in a friend who has one. Together plan a pool party, invite a bunch of other close pals, change into your beachwear, and take the plunge. Splash! Tip: You also get inflatable pools in the market that come in various sizes so that you and your family can enjoy a few dips.

Located on Salwa Road, Aqua Park is the country’s first water-themed park. There’s a pirate-themed Children’s Activity Pool that will keep your kids intrigued. You too can catch a few cool dips in the Wave Pool. The park opens only after 2pm, so you don’t have to worry about the heat. Tip: Since it’s open to the public, dress modestly. Tuesdays are reserved for ladies and Fridays for families.

Tip: Cool water is the best thirst quencher.


Walk the coast


Beach Bounty

There’s nothing like dipping your legs in water during the summer. Drive away to Al-Khor, Wakrah, Mesaieed or Dukhan beach for a calm, peaceful and wet evening. For a rather crazy evening, you could head to Katara beach or the private beaches at any of the five-star hotels that generally buzz with activities. Tip: Public beaches don’t provide any amenities so carry essential stuff with you.


Aqua Park

Walking on the Corniche is not a bad idea during the evening. The breeze from the Arabian Sea provides some relief to a humid day. You can later hop into a traditional dhow to view the stunning skyline of Doha’s West Bay by night. Tip: There are quite a few parks in the vicinity; plan a family picnic.


Camp Call

Deserts get cooler by night. Great, then – plan an overnight stay at the dunes. There are several beaches that offer great camping spots such as Fuwairit beach, Zikreet beach, the Inland Sea, etc. Set up tents, start a barbecue, sing songs and spend the night under a star-lit sky while the breeze from the dunes keeps you cool. Tip: When you drive down the dunes, listen carefully. You can hear them sing!

2011 June




By Shalinee Bharadwaj

Cord Blood Banking Saving lives through umbilical cord stem cell therapy Utilising stem cells from the umbilical cord (regarded as a medical waste and discarded after delivery) to treat genetic diseases and disorders may sound straight out of a Robin Cook thriller. But the fact remains, umbilical cord stem cell therapy, currently in its incipient stage of research, holds great potential for regenerative medicine in the future.


June 2011

Dec 1998 Keone Penn of Snellville, Georgia looks like a typical 12-year-old. But he has a severe case of sickle cell anaemia, an inherited disorder where red blood cells are abnormally shaped. “He had a stroke when he was five and has been getting chronic blood transfusions ever since he had the stroke,” says his mother, Leslie Penn. But blood transfusions no longer help and Keone lives with constant pain and the risk of dying from another stroke. Keone’s sister, a possible bone marrow donor, failed to match and no other donor match was found. Keone’s doctor, Andrew Yeager decided to try transplantation with cord blood from an unrelated donor, the first time this had been tried for sickle cell disease. On December 11, 1998, Keone’s doctor transplanted him with a matching cord blood unit that had been previously donated to the New York Blood Centre’s National Cord Blood Programme. His recovery was long and at times, extremely difficult. He developed complications that eventually subsided. Keone’s new stem cells now produce normal red blood cells with normal haemoglobin. On the one-year anniversary of his transplant, Keone’s doctor pronounced him cured. Keone celebrated his eight-year post-

transplant anniversary in December, 2006. He graduated from high school in 2004 with plans to train as a chef in culinary school. Feb 2002 UK's Human Fertilisation and Embryology Authority (HFEA) agrees to allow Shahana and Raj Hashmi to pick an embryo which does not have the thalessaemia gene but is otherwise a genetic match to Zain, their elder son who suffers from beta thalassemia, a rare blood condition. Zain needs regular blood transfusions, without which he can’t survive. When the brother or sister is born the umbilical cord will be used for a stem cell transplant. May 2011 Muna Khaled Al-Ali knew about the benefits of cord blood banking at the VHB facility due to her employment at QSTP. The 26-year-old had already made her decision before she got pregnant with her first child. “We want to preserve the cord blood of our baby to ensure his good health. I pray to God and Inshallah, it may never be used; but it’s a health insurance for our child and I believe that even if the technology is currently in an experimental stage, umbilical cord blood can be the key to future medicine.”

rewarding act, as the donor is bringing about benefit to those who are in need. Cord blood banking provides a ray of hope for those who need it, and is an insurance for safeguarding your family’s health in future. Though still an infant in its scientific journey, stem cell transplantation from cord blood may fast emerge as the therapeutic technology of future medicine.

Two experts from Hamad Medical Corporation (HMC) help Woman Today understand this development. “Stem cells may be regarded as the master cells of the body that are responsible for the development, growth, replacement and repair of body tissue. They have the capacity to proliferate and develop into other types of cells in the recipient. It is this potential that forms the basis of stem cell treatments. As of now, using cord blood as a source of stem cells is still under research and is expensive, though cases of successful transplants have been reported. This is compared to the bone marrow transplant that is a proven technology for treating blood malignancies,” says Dr Ibrahim Al-Hijji, MD FRCP, Consultant Haematologist & Stem Cell Therapist, Al Amal Hospital, HMC. “But yes, there is great potential in it.” “Particularly with reference to Qatar, stem cell therapy may prove beneficial in treating diabetes, neural cell disease, Alzheimer's, Parkinson’s, blood cancers and other inherited diseases that show a higher prevalence due to marriages between close relatives,” he adds. Dr Halima Al-Tamimi, Chairperson (Obstetrics and Gynaecology), Women’s Hospital, HMC, takes a positive approach to cord blood banking and suggests its application on a wider scale. “The role of the doctor is to ensure that an adequate amount (80-120 ml) of sterile cord blood is collected in the collection bag provided in the kit. Also to provide sample of the mother’s blood to see that she is not infected. The

Bank of life: Virgin Health Bank Qatar’s health sector now has another futuristic technology to talk about-the cord blood banking facilitated by the VHB at Qatar Science and Technology Park (QSTP), Doha. This private cord blood bank planned by Sir Richard Branson might help to ensure that the evolving science of regenerative medicine will also be able to find applications quickly in the Middle East. Dr Halima Al-Tamimi Chairperson (Obstetrics and Gynaecology), Women’s Hospital, HMC

simple technique of collection is not stressful for the mother and child, whose health and well being are always the priority,” she says. Cord blood banking at Virgin Health Bank (VHB) has a supporting fatwa to its credit. This states that "the Islamic law (Shariah) adheres to incurring benefits and interests for mankind". In which case, donating cells to the bank for storage to be used in the future for allogeneic transplantations may even be a

Andrew Glen, Commercial Director, VHB, explains how the Bank is run.

How do you ensure maintaining a good sample quality during storage? A significant amount of testing is done on the cord blood sample to determine the number of stem cells it contains and their viability. It is vital that surgeons are able to understand the characteristics of the unit they plan to use for a transplant, which is why VHB has invested so much in this testing regime. The facility also uses state-of-the-art cryo-preservation technology, including controlled-rate freezers that minimise 2011 June




Storing cells...

VHB is built over 500 square metres within the QSTP in a secure environment that is patrolled and monitored 24/7. VHB uses the ISBT 128 standard bar coding system to identify individual cord blood units, reducing human data entry to a “one off” event when the cord blood arrives at the facility. That “one off” manual data entry is independently verified by another member of the team. All client data is isolated from external communication means i.e. client data is stored and backed up on VHB systems that have no external connections e.g. to the Internet. The facility has been designed to have a storage capacity of 50,000 stem cell units and is capable of further expansion in the future. It comprises grade C clean rooms (200,000 particulates per m3 of air), a grade B clean room (20,000 particulates per m3 of air and cleaner than an operating theatre), and grade A hoods under which there are no particulates in the air. Operating standards are strictly monitored.

should have the choice of whether to participate in family banking (store the cells for their family) or to donate to a public bank, but there is no public bank in Qatar yet. Based on our current knowledge it is estimated that cord blood could be stored indefinitely, or at least for one human lifetime. Institutions that monitor the storage of biological material (FDA, EMEA) have not published any restrictions on the usable life of stored cord blood.

How many patients can be treated per sample? Does sample size pose a limitation? With current technology only one transplant can be undertaken from each stem cell unit, however if that means treating a life-threatening condition that’s a good thing! It’s anticipated that technology may become available that can expand the number of cells in a stem cell unit. VHB has designed its storage system such that the storage bag is split into two parts, either of which can be retrieved and thawed independent of the other.

Andrew Glen Commercial Director Virgin Health Bank

the formation of water crystals, an overwrap that provides additional protection for the stem cell unit during transportation and thawing, and continuous real-time monitoring of all systems and equipment.

how long can the sample be stored without affecting its viability?

Currently the oldest sample still viable on thawing was 23 years old; this study was undertaken by Hal Broxmeyer in 2010. We therefore use a 20 to 25-year time horizon as a prudent length of time for the initial agreement with our clients. However the technology that is used to store the stem cells will permit much longer storage periods. Just before the end of the agreement we will contact the child (because as they are now adults the cells are legally theirs) and discuss their options with them. We believe that families


June 2011

How do you counsel families about choosing this option? We have a team of specially trained bilingual clinical advisors who are available in hospital clinics and the community to provide parents with accurate and honest information, empowering them to make a truly informed choice about storing their baby’s cord blood stem cells.

what has been the response from the Qatari population? The response has been excellent and encouraging. Awareness amongst families expecting babies has grown significantly since we started our work here in Qatar and the support of the medical communities and health authorities has been invaluable to us. In January 2011 The Supreme Council of Health granted VHB the

first, and to date only, licence to operate a cord blood bank in Qatar, and we’re very proud that the Supreme Council recognises our commitment to delivering quality services in an ethical manner. We’re also licensed by the UK’s Human Tissue Authority (HTA).

How do you educate about this important development in medical science? We work in partnership with all of Qatar’s maternity hospitals, providing training and education in cord blood stem cell banking for their clinicians. We also have an agreement with the Primary Health Care organisation through which we’re able to provide mothers-to-be with educational information early in their pregnancies. VHB also has a dedicated contact number (+974 4405 1414) which is operational 24/7, through which families can contact our clinical advisors. Arabic and English language websites are available at www.virginhealthbank.com.qa and we also run regular outreach activities at Qatar’s major shopping malls and are developing educational programmes for the staff of Qatar’s major employers.

Any plan of merging such banks in the Gulf region? The current lack of availability of genetically suitable stem cell treatment units for members of Arab communities is a significant issue and limits the availability of treatments for conditions such as beta thalassaemia, sickle cell anaemia and cancers of the blood such as leukaemias. In America, Europe and other parts of the world, stem cells are made available to the community through family banking programmes where families store the cells of their new baby, and also through programmes in which cord blood units are donated to a public bank from which transplant physicians can request them for their patients. To provide access to stem cells for transplants for the Arab community similar programmes will need to be established, and our family banking service in Qatar is the first step towards that

City Center - opposite to Carrefour Tel. 448 34535



Moon and Me By Valerie Jeremijenko

Supported Butterfly pose: Practice this pose a day before and during menstruation to release cramps and anxiety. Bring the feet together in a butterfly pose. Find a firm pillow and lie back on it. The head and chin should be above the chest so find another pillow if you need to. Turn your palms up to the ceiling and allow yourself to relax. Let the hips open, the abdomen release and the back ease into the pillow. Breathe.


June 2011


ur body contains about 60 to 70 percent water and in yoga we believe that this connects us to the cycles of nature, especially to the moon. As largely liquid beings, we respond to the waxing and the waning of the moon just like the tides of the ocean, with energies rising and lowering at different times of the month. Our tidal nature affects us in many different ways. Throughout recorded history, lunacy or acting crazy has been associated with the full moon. Our energies run extremely high at this time of the month, and it is for this reason that in most yoga traditions, especially those that emphasise a physically challenging practice, we are told to rest and not to practise when the moon is full. Like swimming in a king tide or surfing on a tsunami, it is foolhardy to try to bring patience and intelligence to unwieldy forces, and we end up putting ourselves at risk of injury when we try. Likewise, yoga recommends quiet and reflection on the new moon. The new moon is a time of rebirth and renewal. The gravitational forces working on us tend to make us feel more calm and stable, but at the same time we may feel physically weaker and not inclined to physical activity. According to the Farmers Almanac, the new moon is the time to plant, and so we see it as a time of setting new intentions. We also equate the new moon with the end of the exhalation, the pause before we start to inhale, and as such it is that moment of emptiness after we have expelled what is old and before we process what is new. This in itself is a moment to reflect on, and so we traditionally spend more time with breathing and observation exercises at this time of the month. As women, our tidal being is even more accentuated by our monthly cycle. Again in yoga we treat this as an opportunity to reflect on and respect our connection to nature and to stay quiet with our practices. In Ayurveda they say: "Let what must come out, come out." So we recommend a gentle practice of long supported poses that can help to alleviate cramps, ease lower back discomfort and open the hips and abdomen. Living in the modern world it is easy to feel disconnected from the cycles of nature, but yoga and the reflection it invites can start to get you connected again. Intelligent rest, necessary withdrawal, gentle openings – the moon can invite them all, if only we listen and respond Valerie Jeremijenko is Director of the Doha-based Yama Yoga Studios, which offers over 25 yoga classes a week. For more information see www. yamayogastudios.com



Mango makeover

Salsa’s the way From the innovative jeanswear brand Salsa comes an equally innovative top for every occasion. ‘Feel by Salsa’ is a top that you can transform to create different shapes – asymmetrical, tube top, sexy, relaxed, with or without sleeves, among others. It could be used as a dress too. The top is available in five colours – black, red, pink, blue and purple, and each moulds perfectly to the feminine silhouette for a comfortable and sensual feel. ‘Feel by Salsa’ is your must-have this summer!


June 2011

Mango reopened its store at Doha’s Landmark Mall amidst fun, fashion and culinary delight for its customers and guests. The leading clothing brand revamped its store according to the Japanese ‘wabi’ concept of integrating nature and simplicity to suit the brand’s ‘pure and fresh’ direction. Customers were offered live fashion shows every 45 minutes, with four models exhibiting the new spring/summer 2011 collection. Mango’s trained fashion advisers and make-up artists were on hand to give customers advice on choosing the best looks. Free makeovers were also offered by the beauty store Faces. Oksana Ammar from Almana, the exclusive agents of Mango in Qatar, said the new-look store reflected the energy and youthfulness of the brand. “This is the first Mango store in the Gulf area and Middle East to feature the new design which makes the outlet both welcoming and a great place to shop. Hailing from Barcelona, Mango’s designs are renowned for their European take on timeless yet fashionforward pieces. Mango is a favourite in Qatar amongst women looking for quality, style and value for money.”


Summer Scorchers

The latest summer collection from H&M promises to please the entire family. The range comprises bright summer colours and prints for men, women and kids in fabrics that are perfect for the scorching summer. Stay cool, stay stylish!

J.Lo - New face of TOUS

Tous is excited about its spring 2011jewellery advertising campaign and so are we: Jennifer Lopez is all set to be the sizzling face of the whimsical spring collection. The hot actress and singer will be shot by Ellen Von Unwerth in a fun and feminine approach to the jewellery collections designed by Rosa Tous and husband Salvador Tous. “This is my favourite bear. You know, all girls love diamonds,” says Lopez.

Bottega Verde: Beauty treat

Not just you, but your kids too would be pampered by Bottega Verde’s new skin care line – Naturalmente Bimbi. Each product is formulated with organic plant extracts, without parabens, dyes or allergens, thus making it safe, gentle and suitable for your kid's skin. The line comprises Goodnight Bath and Shower, liquid soap, soothing protective cream and delicate Shampoo and Shower. In addition, for babies and pregnant women there is a protective and soothing cream, bedtime bath foam and elasticity and firming cream. Complete package!

BoConcept: Super Sofas

Makers of modern design furniture, BoConcept have launched a new multifunctional sofa for the urban lifestyle. The new Melo sofa has two seats that work independently from each other, so you are able to relax in individual positions whether you are alone or sharing with someone else. You can sit up straight or lean back and rest your feet, or turn it into a bed for a power nap or an extra bed for guests. Coming in two different fabrics, Melo gives a new definition to comfortable living.

2011 June




Nurses fight Zombies online


n the occasion of International Nurses Day on May 12, the University of Calgary - Qatar (UCQ) Nursing Programme launched an online video game, Nurses Against Zombieism, as a fun tribute to the profession. With a twist to the traditional zombie mythology, this unique game requires nurses to save the world from a zombie apocalypse by healing zombies instead of eliminating them. UCQ’s Project Leader, Jenny Conway Fisher said: “Creating nurse-hero characters that fight evil by healing instead of killing is a genuinely new idea, and one that we hope increases interest in the nursing profession both in Qatar and around the world.” “The game is meant to be fun and a little silly, yet challenging enough to hint at the real-life skills that nurses possess,” said Dr Carolyn Byrne, Dean and CEO, UCQ. “We want to increase public awareness that nurses are heroic, lightning-fast decision makers as well as caring healers. There are lingering negative stereotypes about nursing that persist all over the world. We are working to combat those stereotypes using fresh and innovative ideas,” she added.

Qatargas holds workshop for working women


atargas launched a three-day workshop –’Women in the Workplace’ – inviting working women from all sectors of local businesses to be guided through ‘what works well’ in the corporate world. Qatargas, Learning and Development Manager and Programme Facilitator, Nicky Rudge, said: “This initiative unlocks the mysteries of organisational politics, and helps women build the many different skills they need, and the confidence to work effectively, in the world of business. The feedback was extremely encouraging and positive.” Among the programme’s participants were representatives from Qatar Petroleum, RasGas, Maersk, Qatar Electricity, and Q-Chem. Participants had the chance to understand the business world and learn how to tackle the ‘glass ceiling effect’; get the right work/life balance and have the ability to plan their professional and business goals.

Wedding wonders at W Bungee jumping at TPQ


ver 160 members of the public participated in Qatar’s first bungee jumping event at The Pearl-Qatar (TPQ) as they jumped from a height of 70 metres over the waters at the Island. The event, organised by Global Events Middle East, was extended to four days due to public demand. A spokesperson at TPQ commented: “We are thrilled at the number of spectators and participants that turned up at the event. TPQ has provided the perfect setting for numerous exciting activities and we hope that this is the beginning of many more similar events in the future.”


June 2011


Doha launched its W Wedding Promotion offering a fabulous deal to lucky couples who registered by the end of May. The promotion included a free suite for the bride and bridegroom to stay the night and a five-day honeymoon at the super deluxe Sheraton Cesme Hotel, Resort and Spa in Turkey, if they booked their wedding for 250 guests or more. Brides would be pampered at Bliss Spa and be provided with a ladies dressing-room to change for the night. W also offered to provide couples with wedding professionals to coordinate their event, in addition to a complimentary menu-tasting for up to four people will be provided too.



Empowering women

(l-r) Raed Chehaib, CEO, IBN; Aisha Alfardan, Vice-President, QBWA; HE Suhair Al-Ali, Senator and former Minister of Planning and International Cooperation and HE Abdullah Bin Hamad Al-Attiyah, Deputy Prime Minister of Qatar and Head of the Emiri Court.


he Qatar International Business Women Forum (QIBWF), which started as a platform to discuss key issues leading towards the economic empowerment of women in the Arab world, has well established its ground as a pathbreaking event in the region. The second chapter of QIBWF, held under the patronage of HH Sheikha Moza Bint Nasser, Chairperson of Qatar Foundation for Education, Science and Community Development and organised by the Qatari Business Women Association (QBWA) in collaboration with the Interactive Business Network (IBN), was successfully staged at the Ritz Carlton, Doha. The forum, which saw huge participation from senior business specialists and officials, discussed


June 2011

a wide agenda. Sessions on the challenges faced by businesswomen in the current times of economic and political uncertainties/changes in the Arab world and internationally; access to capital; strategies for the uplifting of women in small and medium business and concerns faced by women in family business aroused great interest and drawn-out discussions. HE Abdullah Bin Hamad Al-Attiyah, Deputy Prime Minister of Qatar and Head of the Emiri Court, stressed women's participation as an absolute essential to the country’s stable growth and development. “This is a critical phase full of challenges. Arab women have a major role to play in the coming years. Time and again women have proven their role in the

economy, strategic decisions and their implementation. For a truly developed society, cooperation from women is absolutely required.” “Qatar has inspired the world by investing in innovative and pathbreaking projects in education, health, research and development. Today, especially after the 2022 World Cup Bid, Qatar has firmly marked its place as a major player in the world”, noted Aisha Alfardan, Vice President, QBWA. “Women’s role in society is changing. We must be a part of this change, contributing actively in the social, democratic, economic and political development of our country,” she added. Raed Chehaib, CEO, IBN, Doha, in his opening address, brought attention to the importance of wom-

en in maintaining stability and growth. “Due to the changes and developments in our societies, women have important roles to play in the political field, to lay the basis for stability in society to enhance justice and equal opportunities and resolve vital issues in health, education and labour,” he said. RasGas, the strategic sponsor of the forum, has long term programmes in place to build up the full potential of women and encourage them to participate in every sphere of society. Managing Director Hamad Rashid Al-Mohannadi stressed the important commercial role played by women, both in Qatar and internationally, and highlighted the increasingly significant impact businesswomen and female entrepreneurs have on economies in the Arab world.

Qatar National Development Strategy (NDS) 2011-2016 Between 2000 and 2009, Qatar’s economy saw spectacular growth and increasing diversification,

In numbers:

Measured in purchasing power parity, Qatar’s per capita GDP is among the highest in the world with the real GDP growing at an annual average of about 13% from 2000-2009. The total number of workers has increased markedly from 323,000 in 2001 to 1.3 million in 2009. Participation of Qatari women in employment has grown tremendously from 27% in 2001 to 38% in 2010.

leading to increased employment opportunities. Giving an overview of the NDS, Dr Ibrahim AlIbrahim, Secretary General, General Secretariat for Development and Planning, focussed on the various strategies that are being employed to increase the participation of Qatari women in business and

employment. High quality training and educational opportunities at all levels, access to world-class health facilities, removing obstacles to women participation in the labour roles and promoting women as leaders are some of the goals of NDS. Dr Ibrahim stated: “QBWF can play a key role in achieving these goals, particularly by encouraging and helping women to become entrepreneurs and developing cultural and educational programmes to enhance women’s economic, leadership and business awareness.”

Access to Capital: No more a Challenge One interesting session addressed raising capital to start a business and the complications that women face in this process. Shahzad Shahbaz, CEO, QInvest; Maha Ragab, Head of Private Banking and Wealth Management, Ahli Bank; and Huda Hobbi, Senior Assistant General Manager, VIP Service, Commercial Bank Qatar, participated in the discussion, which was moderated by Christian Mouchbahani, Managing Partner, MCG-Merchant Banking. According to Maha, the challenge of accessing capital is similar for both men and women but the road is rougher for women. She went on to say that there is a need for enhanced infrastructure, and women need to invest more in technology for their business. Huda confirmed that bad loan rates are lower for women than for men. She said, “Women are much more careful about money, and when they make commitments, they meet them.” The speakers gave the forum some tips for easier access to capital. “Planning is most important. If you have the right idea, you have to pursue it the right way. Good packaging and presentation of the idea is also a must. Finally, believing in the idea and yourself will go a long way in giving the right impression,” said Shahzad. The forum also saw interesting discussions on how women can maintain a balance in their work/ life. Leading professional and business women shared their experiences in achieving success in their respective fields in the "Is 'having it all' possible for women?" series. The forum has emerged as a powerful link establishing itself as an important networking platform for women. While it attempts to answer many questions, the forum provides immense opportunities to ponder the issues that a woman comes across in her journey towards economic, social, political and cultural ascent. Woman Today was one of the media partners of the event 2011 June




Al Bayan students tour the Island A

Al Bayan School students with UDC’s Samer

On the Riva Yacht

s part of UDC’s Corporate Social Responsibility initiatives, The Pearl-Qatar (TPQ) conducted its 22nd Lifestyle Excursion with 39 girls from the Al Bayan School. The students were welcomed at The Oyster where they were given a model presentation of the Island, followed by a highly interactive session with representatives of UDC. A delicious breakfast awaited them at TPQ’s trendy Alison Nelson's Chocolate Bar NY where five of the students showcased their talents in poetry, drawing, public speaking, and fine art. Later, the girls received a presentation of Ronautica Middle East’s services on the luxurious Riva yacht. “This visit to the Island was a tremendous opportunity to learn about all aspects of the project. We greatly appreciate the enthusiasm and hospitality shown by TPQ team throughout the excursion, giving our students a sense of value and honour. TPQ is one of the most fascinating examples of community partnership in the country,” said Noura Al- Ansari, Social Specialist at Al Bayan School. Samer Kassas from UDC said, “The excursion was a way of supporting the future generation of decision makers and thought leaders in Qatar, by acknowledging and rewarding their exceptional academic standing. These initiatives are part of TPQ’s ongoing programme to encourage and support Qatari students by not only introducing them to one of the largest urban developments in the country but also offering them the opportunity to experience its magnitude.”

A student participating in the talent show at the Alison Nelson's Chocolate Bar NY.

Dana Ayobi, a representative of Ronautica ME hands out the lucky prize to a student.


June 2011

John Reeves, Head of Nautical Activities, Ronautica ME, talks to the girls about the water sports on the marina before taking them on board of the Riva yacht.

Excursion Sponsors: Ronautica ME and Alison Nelson’s Chocolate Bar NY media partner: Woman Today



Ultimate Japanese delight The trendy New York-based Japanese restaurant which opened its Doha arm in April, 2011 at The Pearl-Qatar has since been cementing its status amongst city slickers as the perfect escape to experience tasty cuisine.


hen my dining partner and I escape the outdoors on a humid Sunday summer evening, we notice how every aspect of MEGU has been carefully created to embody understated luxury and exclusivity – from the lift that whisks us up to the greetings of welcoming, well-polished staff – it all exudes the glamour factor. The decor is tastefully modern and chic – on entry, a suave bar teases for a pre-meal tipple with an assortment of Japanese and world-wide options. The main dining area is divided into two levels and boasts a rather large ceiling; yet despite its size, the dim lighting ensures an intimate atmosphere. The lower dining area consists of tables positioned around a circular area; private bays lining its circumference featuring sake bottled partitions; a sushi station


June 2011

and large glass windows dominating one wall which leads to a balcony offering breathtaking views. The second floor is a relaxing retreat for those desiring a little more privacy - perhaps designed with an elite clientele in mind. We’re escorted to a private alcove by our friendly server. The place is quiet with just a handful of guests; on the plus side-the staff are extra attentive. A no-fuss four-page menu is given to us containing a range of signature dishes, charcoal grill options, salads, soups, meats and sushi and sashimi a la carte. My guest and I decide to each order respectively and share our food; I opt for the Omakase - (QR 600). This seven-course delight comprises a bunch of the eatery’s signature dishes and is worth every buck. Yes seven courses does sound like a mountainous amount for one person, but the chef’s tasting dishes provide great variety – light and small, designed

for sampling. My guest decides on Sauted Scallops with Foie Gras and Teriyaki Sauce for starter (QR110), and Kobe Beef Filet Skewer with Ginger and Black Sesame (QR 100) accompanied with a portion of Garlic Vegetable Fried Rice (QR 35) for main. The first dish from the Omakase – Salmon Tartare, Ikura Sauce with Salmon Caviar accompanied with toast garnished in soy sauce-arrives in quite literally the coolest dish I’ve ever seen; a small glass serving cup containing the fish perched on top of an ice mountain display lit up in a vibrant purple hue. This place certainly woos with exceptional presentation skills. The second Omakase dish is Megu Original Crispy Asparagus, which is asparagus flash fried and battered in okaki rice cracker – and yes, this crunchy dish of culinary excellence really does taste as good as it looks in the pictures! The sauted scallops arrive in sync with the as-

Ratings (out of 5 stars) Food Ambience Service Presentation (Average cost for a meal for two is QR1000)

paragus; never a big fish fan, I bite the bullet and dive into it. The scallops are surprisingly tender and maintain a texture similar to meat-delicious with the sweet garnishing of both foie gras and teriyake. The third round of Omakase is briskly served up in the form of an oriental salad containing madai sashimi with Julienned Vegetables & Nuts-the crisp texture of the salad fuses wonderfully with the Sashami fish to create a fresh and light meal, and the spicy sauce adds a welcoming kick. Next serving in the marathon Omakase is Shrimp Tempura accompanied with Green Tea Salt. These battered shrimp beauties are absolutely divine, smothered in the salt which transforms the flavour with vitality. A thin strip of kobe filet beef is given to my dining partner along with garlic vegetable fried rice. The tender beef coated in ginger and black sesame proved a popular choice with both my guest and me - an explosion of juices and flavour in every bite.

A trip to the ladies room was in order, and oh, what a surprise this turned out to be! Do make sure you take some pampering time out to check out the technology clad toilets. As you close a cubicle door, a seat lifts up electronically and a small control sys-

tem allows you to do things you wouldn’t imagine a toilet capable of doing! When I arrive back at the table, I’m impressed with the waft of smoke and distinct smells arising from thinly sliced pieces of Kobe beef cooking on the River Stone Grill. The stone, placed on a surface of mixed pebbles, slowly cooks the meat in front of you while you get the opportunity to experience its juicy, mouth-watering taste. Round six of the Omakase arrives with a plate of terrifying (to a non fish lover) Sushi and Sashami made up of Unagi (fresh water eel), Botan Ebi (jumbo sweet shrimp), Ikura (salmon caviar) and Sake (king salmon). I was a little hesitant at first, but it wasn’t long before the moreish fresh fish nibbles had disappeared from the table. It is fair to say, at this stage, I was truly stuffed after sampling six dishes along with my guest's order – but one has to satisfy the sweet tooth. The evening was rounded off delightfully with the final dish from the seven-course Omakase compiling an assortment of Mango Sorbet, home-made Green Tea Ice-Cream and Ichigo, a light fluffy sponge dish – the icing on the cake to a wonderful and whimsical journey in Japanese fine-dining Reviewed by Orna Ballout 2011 June




Warm Bamboo & Soothing Lavender...

Stress relief at the Essence Spa


arm bamboo sticks drawing patterns on your back, finding the spots that need a little pressure, skimming over areas that only need a rub. The smooth and warm bamboo tattoos a magic beat on your body, melting away the stress. At the newly opened Essence Spa (in Muaither, beyond the Doha Zoo traffic lights) Ann (Naritpriya Rinkaeo), the trainer, was the one who worked on me. The bamboo pieces are specially imported from


June 2011

Australia. Don’t be fooled by the cheap handheld bamboo massaging tools that are readily available in the market. This one is the real deal. Ann, soft spoken, and with the gentlest hands, works her way through the pressure points, skilfully unknotting the tight rolls of stress around the shoulder and neck using the bamboo sticks as an effective tool. Bamboo massage therapy is an ancient Chinese medicine-inspired type of natural healing medical

treatment by using stalks of bamboo in various sizes and lengths to accommodate the different areas of the body. Bamboo massage therapy aims to release the tension in the muscles by constantly kneading the different muscle group of the body. For each muscle groups, a specific bamboo stick length and size is used to properly address the problems within that area. The use of these sticks is primarily in order to aim for the deep tissue, to prevent the stiffening of the whole body and to relieve chronic body pain. The 90-minute massage is over all too soon. Luckily for me, there was one more treat awaiting me –the Elemis Herbal Lavender Repair facial. Ann chose this treatment for my combination skin. The smell of lavender is intoxicating, and combined with the warmth of the bamboo massage just minutes before, truth be said, I was dead to the world. Lavender has a host of benefits when used in skin care products, but has great value in helping the skin heal itself, stimulating cell growth, reducing inflammation, preventing scarring and balancing the production of oil while at the same time cutting down on localised pain – all perfect when fighting acne and problem skin. It also tones the skin and, coupled with all its other excellent properties, makes this one of the most useful essential oils for all skin types and a great help in sorting out a variety of skin problems. So needless to say, at the end of an hour Ann’s fingers, in combination with lavender’s magic, had me feeling quite good about my skin, sneaking a peek at the mirror at every opportunity. Essence Spa also has an attractive range of nail treatments. To book an appointment, call 44502226 or 44502227 Reviewed by Vee Ess


Before bamboo was developed as a tool for improving the health of humans, it was used as a material capable of being used in 1,500 different ways. It was used as a material for musical instruments, decorations, and many more. Most of the Asian countries also regard it as a symbol of prosperity, fertility, sexuality and long life. Over the course of time, it has been discovered and developed to aid in the healing of our bodies.

2011 June




Compassionate Traveller By Jacki Woodworth


ummer is just around the corner, and with summer comes vacation, fun, leisure and relaxation. Or does it? Travelling can be stressful. There are details to figure, budgets to consider and bookings to be made. Then there’s packing, closing up the house, getting to the airport, queues, customs, delays – let’s face it, travel can spell Stress with a capital S! But it doesn’t have to. There are ways to manage it without losing your cool. How we are affected by events in life is directly related to how we choose to perceive them. As Abraham Lincoln put it: “People are just as happy as they make up their minds to be.” So how can this apply to travel? Taking a compassionate approach to travel can take a lot of steam out of the stress machine. It can actually reduce the amount of stress hormones (ie cortisol) and increase the amount of ‘feel good’ hormones (ie oxytocin), thus encouraging a healthy, balanced self. One way to practise self-compassion is to set reasonable expectations in our plans, making it easier to accept the bumps along the way. If the


June 2011

The idea is to see how intricately we are all connected and that there are so many people all over the world who support us in all that we do. We do not live in isolation, much as we may feel that way sometimes. plan involves making it from West Bay to the airport in 20 minutes, well good luck with that. Run into the inevitable traffic, and we find ourselves stressing over the possibility of being late and missing the flight. Traffic happens (we do live in Doha after all), but if we go into the experience expecting it, we are then much more capable of accepting it. IF by a stroke of good fortune you find yourself through the traffic, queues, check-in and customs with time to spare, BONUS! Now you have time to try some other aspects of compassionate travel. Practising gratitude is another way to be compassionate. Stop for a moment (or more) and acknowledge things you are grateful for: anything from a

pleasant fragrance, a piece of music, the smile of a loved one, or a greeting from a stranger. Try this gratitude practice while waiting in a queue, station, airport, etc. You can do this on your own, but it is even more fun with others – particularly kids because they are so good at it! Start brainstorming, quickly naming all the people who are making your travel possible: ticket agents, taxi drivers, pilots, customs staff, and the guys who load the bags onto the plane. Encourage thinking big and ‘outside the box’. Explore ideas around fuel, food and other commodities that were grown, harvested, processed and shipped. Folks who maintain phone lines, computer systems and the Internet. Air traffic controllers and maintenance crews. The idea is to see how intricately we are all connected and that there are so many people all over the world who support us in all that we do. We do not live in isolation, much as we may feel that way sometimes. We are all in this thing called life together and we need each other. How about one last simple yet powerful compassionate travel practice, most likely used by our grandparents? As you encounter people on your journeys, try greeting them with eye contact, a smile and a salutation. Perhaps even offer to help someone who is struggling with a heavy bag or an awkward load. Are we drifting away from such small acts of human-ness? Perhaps we can revive simple connection and belonging one small act at a time. By practising Gratitude, Reducing Expectations and increasing Acceptance may you Travel well. Have a GREAT holiday!

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Woman Today June 2011  

Holiday... As is my wont, I sent back a single word email in response to a query. With the little wisdomage throws my way, even if it were o...

Woman Today June 2011  

Holiday... As is my wont, I sent back a single word email in response to a query. With the little wisdomage throws my way, even if it were o...

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