The Land of Cream & Pastry

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The gourmet side of Paris.


When we were invited by the organizers of the Cream of Europe program in the Middle East to celebrate French cream and its a unique place in pastry and culinary art, we knew they would have to bring us to Paris, famous for its delectable variety of desserts and pastries. We were not disappointed.

Here are some of the places where we discovered firsthand the excellence and versatility of French cream, as prepared by the masters. If you’re ever in town, you know where to go!

img_4033-copyAFTERNOON-TEA AT RITZ PARIS

Living up to its luxurious name, Ritz Paris, helmed by the icon Chef François Perret, is a jewel of high-end hospitality. The renowned chef skillfully recreates the classic French desserts of his childhood: marble cake, madeleines, and rice pudding, among many others.

Location: 15 Place Vendôme, Paris, France
Instagram: francoisperretpatisserie // ritzparis

img_3983-copyCOCO RESTAURANT

The two-story diner located in the magical location of Opéra Garnier is the playground of the French pastry world’s rising star Chef Kevin Lacote, who not only serves a menu of premium cuts and distinctive French dishes but also offers dessert workshops to share his love for the art of pastry production.

Location: Palais Garnier, 1 Place Jacques Rouché, Paris
Instagram: coco_palaisgarnier , kevin_lacote

d882ece3-8449-4e4b-ac7e-a36fe48a981f-copyBO & MIE

A creative bakery that offers bread made with love (try the Viennoiseries!) and an array of tantalizing pastries. Try here the much-lauded pastry Kouignamann, which literally means butter cake.

Location: 18 Rue de Turbigo, Paris
Instagram: boetmie

img_3967-copyPRINTEMPS DU GOÛT

Take a break from your shopping at the French department store Printemps and dip into this food hall that has one of the most breathtaking views of Paris. Get your caffeine fix and pair it off with anyone (or three) of Chef Christophe Michalak’s pastry and dessert creations for complete retail therapy treatment.

Location: 59 Rue de Caumartin, Paris, France
Instagram: christophe_michalak // Printempsdugout

img_3991-copyWORKSHOP WITH CHEF PHILIPPE CONTICINI

The famous Chef Philippe Conticini is known for not only his heavenly pastry creations made in the tradition of high French pastry-making but also for his charisma and passion for poetry, which you get to witness as he shares his work process and presents his delicacies in these workshops.

Instagram: Philippe_conticini

img_6038-1-copyLAITERIE DE LA CHAPELLE

This artisanal cheese production the factory manufactures and refines 100% Ile-de-France raw milk cheeses, and also offers fun, easy-to-follow classes that teach you how to properly whip butter and cream. Definitely the place to go to for a handson experience.

Location: 72 Rue Philippe de Girard, Paris
Web: laiterielachapelle.com
Instagram: laiterielachapelle

1aaa6159-efa2-42f4-8fba-fa5d598380fb-copyTOUT UN FROMAGE

A cheese grocery creamery off the beaten track owned by Ludovic Bisot, here the cheese piles up in artful displays. Fun fact: Bisot has lived in Riyadh and first met his wife here! Upon his return to France, he acquired a small dairy farm in Rambouillet and began his dream of becoming a cheesemaker, researching the ancient cheese-making process of Chablis and bringing it back to the market.

Location: 87 Rue du Général de Gaulle, 78120 Rambouillet, France
Instagram: tout1fromage

img_3816-copyBERGERIE NATIONALE

And perhaps you want something a little different during your French cream and pastry tour in Paris. Here’s your chance to get a little adventurous: spend the day with grazing herds and a full equestrian center for beginner and experienced riders at the Bergerie Nationale. There’s also a host of workshops for everything, from how to milk cows and goats, to shearing sheep!

Location: Parc du Château, Rambouillet, France
Instagram: bergerie_nationale

img_4275-1-copyELLE & VIRE LA MAISON DE LA CRÈME

A creative hub dedicated to teaching, this Maison welcomes both French and international professionals to learn from the expertise of executive pastry chef Nicolas Boussin, the Meilleur Ouvrier de France’s Best Pastry Craftsman of 2000.

Location: 91 Rue Joseph Bertrand, 78220 Viroflay, France
Web: elle-et-vire.com
Instagram: elleetvirepro , nicolasboussin
Facebook: elleviresa
Products are available in Saudi.

img_3698-1-copyTHE 7TH ARRONDISSEMENT OF PARIS

Take a tour around some of Paris’s finest patisseries and chocolate shops on the 7th arrondissement of Paris with the neighborhood’s iconic Eiffel Tower in the background, and sample from a grand assortment of the rich pastries, cakes, and chocolates. Tastings are included in the price of the tour.

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Local Sentiments

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Top-selling perfumes by local perfumers.


Perfumery is becoming a flourishing business nowadays. Local perfumers import essential oils, mix and match till the recipe is created, then send it to Saudi factories for bottling and packaging. Once they’ve received the oils and recipe, factories facilitate approval from the Saudi Food and Drug Administration (FDA) ensuring the safety of use. From whiffs of nostalgia to lingering aromas in memory, perfumes are timeless and personal. Here is a list of top-selling local perfumes.

s4s1_perfume-copyS1

Part of the S1 collection, this Eau de perfume is a mix of oud, lavender, and saffron. The notes of oud are tamed within this blend and don’t present themselves straight off the bat. When you first spray it on, you can tell the predominance of saffron. Then, when the scent off over time, trails of lavender linger behind.

WHERE TO PURCHASE:

PRICE: SR 400
JEDDAH
Grey Collective
RIYADH
Stitch, Onze, Personage, Mosha Art
Instagram: s1_perfume

3ainab_-perfumes-copy3AIN

This newest edition to the collection appeals to the public due to its light nature. A mixture of main musk, bukhoor, and oud, it brings about floral accents and feels like a celebration of the end of winter and the breezy beginning of spring. The value for the price is great too as it comes in a 75ml hefty container.

WHERE TO PURCHASE:

JEDDAH
PRICE: SR 150
Ruf Concept Store, Makeen Space, Zmakan
Instagram: ab_.perfumes

patchoulithebaseperfumes-copyPATCHOULI

Sweet and spicy, this perfume is best appreciated when it’s left to settle. A combo of radiant leather, distinct cinnamon, and lasting patchouli, this scent is unique and paints a picture of fall in the forest. It comes in a 50 ml bottle and is an Eau de parfum.

WHERE TO PURCHASE:

PRICE: SR 230
JEDDAH
Grey Collective, Crate
RIYADH
Stitch Concept Store, Personage, Number Nine, Perfume Hall, We Cre8
Instagram: thebaseperfumes

puffde_nada_by_nada-copyPUFF

Puff is one of those soft, smooth scents that exude freshness and cleanliness. It’s dreamy, powdery, and bestows a sense of childhood nostalgia. Perfect for after-shower use and casual daytime outings, Puff is an Eau de perfume that comes in a 100 ml square reflective container.

WHERE TO PURCHASE:

PRICE: SR 300
JEDDAH
Crate
Web: crateksa.com

hend-no-10hendalgheethi-copyHEND NO.10

Hend No. 10 was inspired by the predominant aroma that occupied wedding halls in the past. The notes that make up this perfume is that of cardamom (inspired by Arabic coffee), oud (worn commonly by guests), and sandalwood. Earthy and rustic, this fragrance is perfect for late-night occasions and would appeal more to an old soul. The Eau de parfum comes in 65 ml bottles.

WHERE TO PURCHASE:

PRICE: SR 269
JEDDAH
Zmakan, Makeen Space, Naz Outlet Store, souq.com
Instagram: hendalgheethi

royalmuskellolo-copyROYAL MUSK

The silky-smooth marriage of musk and pearls are the basis behind the creation of Musk El Lolo as a brand. Royal Musk, their signature perfume is a mix of three different kinds of premium musk. Subtle but definitely present, this fragrance is attractive and quiet, just right for indulging in a perfume without it being too overpowering. It comes in a 50 ml container with pearls dancing inside.

WHERE TO PURCHASE:

PRICE: SR 300
JEDDAH
Grey Collective
RIYADH
Papillon
Instagram: muskellolo

cardamomsash-creations-copyCARDAMOM LEATHER

The successor to Cardamom Oud, another hit perfume of the Sash collection, Cardamom Leather became customers’ favorite and therefore the bestseller. Cool and fragrant leather notes caressed by a tad bit of cardamom makes this a citrusy scent good for daily use. It comes in 50 ml bottles and as a hair mist too.

WHERE TO PURCHASE:

PRICE: SR 290
JEDDAH
Homegrown Market Space
RIYADH
Personage & Beau Wow
The Zone
Instagram: Sash.creations

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Spatial Reasons to #STAYHOME

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The designers behind interiors you love.

Admit it, the quarantine has probably had you re-evaluating your living arrangement and sparked a dozen home improvement projects.


As we spend more time indoors, we’re all inspired to reinvent our spaces to make more room or simply give it a new flair. Need an interior design consult? We’re bringing the masters of space to you:

Small areas lend themselves very well  o bold colors, prints and textures, just as long as you mix in some neutrals so that you don’t overwhelm the room - Eng. Mahmoud  hunaim

Small areas lend themselves very well o bold colors, prints, and textures, just as long as you mix in some neutrals so that you don’t overwhelm the room – Eng. Mahmoud hunaim

A.D DESIGNER

A.D Designer is a well-rounded design and architectural office located in Riyadh that designs commercial offices, homes, hospitals, and hotels. “Whenever I work with a small space, I like to go bold. Small areas lend themselves very well to bold colors, prints, and textures, just as long as you mix in some neutrals so that you don’t overwhelm the room,” shares Eng. Mahmoud Ghunaim from A.D Designer.

Having the right lighting also gives a small room a vast view. Mahmoud recommends taking advantage of vertical space in a house or office, as they are perfect for creating resourceful storage units that keep the house decluttered and fill unusable areas. Decorating your house with large and colorful rugs is another way to give a grand feel to any room. Mahmoud added, “It’s smart to look for multi-purpose and/or folding furniture. It will save you both space and money.”

Sourced Photo

Sourced Photo

We’ve all fallen under the same cluttering issues, and we have come to believe that cluttering is indeed inevitable. According to Mahmoud, there are some ways we can ‘keep’ our mess while maintaining a tidy home. Storage beds and mudroom benches, for instance, are great solutions to hide away some of our objects.

Creative bath cabinets, storage ottomans, and wall-hung TV cabinets are other examples of creative inventory solutions that A.D Designer recommends. As for Mahmoud’s top 2020 color choices, the following 6 paint colors can magnify your room and make it look bigger: stark white, soft black, light taupe, blush pink and dark navy. Add light colors with the darker options to balance it out.

Location: King Abdullah Rd, Riyadh
Tel: 920028838
Email: info@addesigner.com.sa
Instagram: addesignersa

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It’s all in the details of your home accessories and furniture – the ‘soul’ of your space. – Deema Al Jaafari

TEAKWOOD WORK STORE AND PIECES
by Deema Al Jaafari

With Teakwood located in Khobar and Pieces Store in Riyadh, founder Deema Al Jaafari’s top design picks for 2020 caters to all different tastes.

“Add a lot of nature in your home to make your space a breathable area. Plants and flowers are beautiful and very easy on the eyes. Create a lot of storage space so your house is always tidy and decluttered. When a house is messy, it eats up all the space.”

The first solution to creating a breathable space is to declutter. As hard as this sounds, the first trick to decluttering is getting rid of unnecessary objects. If you haven’t used something for more than 3 months, it’s a goner.

A smart way to make your house roomy is by using lots of mirrors. “They will reflect natural and artificial lighting and make the room look so much brighter. If your space is small, make sure you hang one large painting or wall art instead of small groups of paintings or frames.” She also recommends matching some furniture to the wall paint as it will make the house look a bit vaster.

Pieces
Location: Prince Turki Ibn Abdulaziz Al Awwal Rd, Riyadh
Mob: +966-500166215
Web: pieces-sa.com
Instagram: pieces_sa

Teakwood Work
Location: Ibn Sina, Al Khobar
Mob: +966-50993399
Instagram: teak.woodwork

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Nün Academy and the Next Generation of Leaders

TAMARA ENANI

Nün Academy believes that each student is a unique individual whose academic, social, and emotional development is of paramount importance. The Academy’s vision and mission are to provide a school culture that supports and nurtures students to reach their full potential within the context of their own culture and heritage.


The school’s educational philosophy centres on teaching a values-based, rigorous, and academic international curriculum in tandem with a bilingual learning environment which promotes self-regulated and independent learning. Students develop a well-grounded understanding of their linguistic, religious, and cultural heritage.lulua-copy

The students at Nün Academy are the future leaders of the Kingdom, are part of the generation to fulfill the aims of Vision 2030; and our ambition for them is that they will lead their nation to take its place on the global stage. With that in mind, Nün Academy hosted an open discussion with students from Years 4 to 6 on how they are learning to take on their future roles.

During this open discussion, the students highlighted that they were learning and practicing life-long skills that prepare them for leadership. One of the strategies the school uses to develop these skills is through our Positive Discipline programme. With the focus on character, values, personal and interpersonal skills development, students are being prepared to become future leaders who will lead to positive change for all citizens of the country. In this endeavor, the school believes that the entire school community has an important role, students, parents, teachers, and the administration.

FROM LEFT TO RIGHT LAILA LINJAWI AND SALMA HAFIZ

FROM LEFT TO RIGHT
LAILA LINJAWI AND SALMA HAFIZ

Salma Hafiz, year 6, shares, “We are learning ethics and values, and how to respect others as well as to help people in need. We are learning communication skills, and that all people are different and equals – it’s our school motto.”

Ziad Baarma, year 4, adds, “Even if we are different and from different countries, we can still get along and take care of each other. Respecting others and learning how to deal with our differences is important to shape a better future.”

FROM LEFT TO RIGHT BADR ALABBASI, YOUSOF BIN AHFOUZ, MOHAMMED BASYONI AND YOUSOF TAIYEB

FROM LEFT TO RIGHT
BADR ALABBASI, YOUSOF BIN AHFOUZ, MOHAMMED BASYONI, AND YOUSOF TAIYEB

Mohamed Basyouni, Year 4 as well as Yousef Bin Mahfouz shared their feelings about how much they have changed since joining Nün and finding that teachers were more supportive to them in giving them strategies and support when they faced challenges. “I learned about self-regulation, because sometimes when I get mad, I get out of control. And self-regulation taught me to breathe in and out when I get mad or I cry to help me calm down.”

“We learn from our mistakes” added Yousef Al Tayeb Year 4.

SALMA JAMJOOM

SALMA JAMJOOM

Through the school’s positive culture, all students learn that making mistakes is an opportunity for learning and the students reflect on their experiences so that, next time, they are even better equipped intellectually, socially, and emotionally to deal with challenging situations which are part of life. An integral component of the school’s culture and learning process is supporting the students to set goals and create concrete and creative strategies to achieve them.

Nün Academy also prepares its students to never give up and motivates them to always overcome and triumph over their errors.

TAMARA ENANI

TAMARA ENANI

“When you try, don’t give up. If you’re a leader, then you need to keep trying until you succeed.” Tamara Enani, year 4, said, “In my school, they always give you chances to try again.”

At Nün Academy, it is our privilege to have students who are the generation of the future: we pride ourselves on our ambition to support these young people who will shape our country and the world because, with them, anything is possible.

LANA ABU LHAMAYEL

LANA ABU LHAMAYEL

Location: AZ Zahra District, Abdallah Bin Seedan, Jeddah 23522
Mob: +966-509939702
Tel: +966-12-6223056
Instagram: nunacademy

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Eco Initiatives: Voting for a Better Earth

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With climate change rapidly affecting our day-to-day lives, companies – including small businesses and non-profit organizations – have been taking drastic measures to reform their means of production and take steps to keep the global crisis from growing. Here are some new-age initiatives taking a stand against climate change through their products and services.


COYARD

Community and guilt-free coffee

Ghanem Binyousef, the founder of Coyard coffee shop in Riyadh, is looking to change the game for the Kingdom’s caffeine addicts by taking an all-time Saudi favorite chill spot and turning it into an eco-friendly hub. Coyard does not provide plastic straws or bottled waters – there is a water fountain with clean glasses for drinking – and it sells 100% organic tote bags and high-quality, reusable, to-go coffee cups. img_8130-copy

With all the precautions Ghanem is taking towards running a sustainable business, he is still having trouble when it comes to replacing single-use plastic cups. “We are researching cost-effective ways to replace them. This will be the coffee shop’s next step; we are serious about this initiative.”

Coyard has started multiple campaigns; the most famous one was Make A Difference, which encourages customers to bring their own reusable to-go cups by discounting their drinks. “We love educating people through our campaigns by getting them involved and excited about the process,” Ghanem says. b4506d3d-fbf7-4c89-b520-6db9cc87c68d-copy

Ghanem hopes to see many more conscious businesses and advises everyone to do their research before starting, as there are plenty of resources available to run a sustainable business.

Location: King Abdul Aziz Branch Rd., King Abdul Aziz Dist., Riyadh
Instagram: coyardco

AMUSED

Upcycling luxury closets

NSara and Mansoor are Saudi- British couple introducing an improved method of buying luxury items in the Kingdom. The couple started Amused, an Instagram retail buy-and-sell page with valuable luxury pieces, from YSL shoes to Hermès handbags. The idea began when Sara started selling her items online and realized that there is a market for selling second-hand items in Saudi.gucci

“We found that Saudi Arabia has the second-highest closet value in the world after Italy,” Sara says, noting that pieces coming from people in the Kingdom are often in great condition. “However, the fashion industry is also the world’s second-highest contributor to environmental pollution, and some of the best-known fashion labels burn past season merchandise so they are not discounted and resold.” This is the main reason the couple strives to purchase good quality items and find them a new home, where they won’t contribute to the growing landfills.hermes-2

With Amused, people can buy and sell their luxury items with ultimate transparency. “We are selective about our inventory, taking time to authenticate every item with layers of verification offered for our customers’ protection.”

Instagram: amusedksa

Avoid keeping plastic afloat, get yourself a tote and keep the earth clean with reusable products.

Avoid keeping plastic afloat, get yourself a tote and keep the earth clean with reusable products.

NAWAH

Awareness platform turned online retailer

Nouf Bannan started an online eco-awareness Instagram page where she discusses the importance of sustainability, recycling, and reusing, as well as tips on how to lead an efficiently green lifestyle. She would always recommend different reusable products people can buy and realized that many don’t know how or where to shop for such items.

She decided to start distributing reusable products on the same platform, such as bamboo products and washable cotton pads that can easily be delivered to people’s houses. She wanted to encourage people to get their hands on affordable eco-friendly products. “I wanted the price to be as low as possible, so I’m selling it at the same price I purchase the products. My platform is non-profit – the only thing I’m gaining is that people are finally using sustainable products.”

Nouf also created her own product – reusable tote bags with interesting local designs. A popular one has an Arabic recipe for Shakshuka printed on the bag. “Ever since starting this business, I realized how much people want to be sustainable and how much they are actually excited for these products.”

Instagram: nawah.sa

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Eco Initiatives: Voting for a Better Earth

dsc_5271-copy

With climate change rapidly affecting our day-to-day lives, companies – including small businesses and non-profit organizations – have been taking drastic measures to reform their means of production and take steps to keep the global crisis from growing. Here are some new-age initiatives taking a stand against climate change through their products and services.


1h7a2217-2-copyGREEN EARTH LAUNDRY

Sustainable laundry

Green Earth Laundry developed three years ago when founder, Ridwan Akhter, was tired of often receiving his laundry damaged. The idea to start his own laundry store came to him when he was in Europe and stumbled upon an eco-friendly laundry concept. He was fascinated by their sustainable operation and their use of biodegradable detergents, which actually helped maintain the quality of their items.

1h7a0979-edit-copySoon enough, Ridwan signed a contract to train with them for about a year and a half in order to launch Green Earth Laundry in Jeddah. “We trained operational managers in different sections to equip them for the business. The training took place for a year and a half,” Ridwan stated. He then added that they had finally started their operations, where they wash clothes in sustainable chemicals that don’t cause allergies or skin sensitivities.

“We also know how to differentiate and handle the more expensive garments with better care through our lux-service.”1h7a0986-copy

This business is the first of its kind in the Kingdom. Other than using biodegradable chemicals, they also wash and dry their clothes at low temperatures (30- 40 degrees), which is the ideal temperature to use on garments. Green Earth has many unique attributes such as recycling their hangers, where they give their customers who do so a discount to help promote the idea. They also have an in-house tailor as an added service for their customers.

Ridwan’s advice for people aspiring to enter the sustainable business field is that “you should always consider your carbon impact when providing a good or service.”

Location: Arid Ibn Mahshi Rd., Al Zahra Dist., Jeddah.
Instagram: greeneartchlux

hermes1

Amused saves your favorite pieces from ending up in landfils.

AMUSED

Upcycling luxury closets

NSara and Mansoor are a Saudi- British couple introducing an improved method of buying luxury items in the Kingdom. The couple started Amused, an Instagram retail buy-and-sell page with valuable luxury pieces, from YSL shoes to Hermès handbags. The idea began when Sara started selling her items online and realized that there is a market for selling second-hand items in Saudi.gucci

“We found that Saudi Arabia has the second-highest closet value in the world after Italy,” Sara says, noting that pieces coming from people in the Kingdom are often in great condition. “However, the fashion industry is also the world’s second-highest contributor towards environmental pollution, and some of the best-known fashion labels burn past season merchandise so they are not discounted and resold.” This is the main reason the couple strives to purchase good quality items and find them a new home, where they won’t contribute to the growing landfills.hermes-2

With Amused, people can buy and sell their luxury items with ultimate transparency. “We are selective about our inventory, taking time to authenticate every item with layers of verification offered for our customers’ protection.”

Instagram: amusedksa

dsc_5306-copyHEJAZ PLOGGERS

Running for a Better Earth

Hejaz Ploggers started in June 2018 when founder Taha Boksmati was looking for a new eco-initiative to start in Saudi. Taha was part of a running group and loved staying active. Around the same time, he came across plogging – a mass ‘cleanup sport’ where volunteers go for a run around a designated area picking up trash to send to recycling streams in the city. It is an eco-friendly and healthy activity that was founded in Sweden.

Not only do the Hejaz Ploggers visit neighborhoods in Jeddah, but they also team up with local hiking groups to leave no trace when visiting popular hiking locations like Eagle Rock and Moon Mountain. The ploggers also collaborated with #breakfreefromplastic to get 12 different schools, colleges, and universities to raise awareness on plastic consumption and its dangers to the marine environment.

Keep the earth wealthy while keeping your body healthy.

Keep the earth wealthy while keeping your body healthy.

They host ‘plogging marathons’, too, encouraging participants to find recycled materials through fun activities. Taha stresses on the importance of reusing to build better environmental habits, stating that, “there is a lot of uncertainty attached to recycling nowadays because of the amount of energy lost during the process.”

Taha hopes to keep the same momentum running and is planning to expand and open up a team in Riyadh soon.

Instagram: hejazploggers

Avoid keeping plastic afloat, get yourself a tote and keep the earth clean with reusable products.

Avoid keeping plastic afloat, get yourself a tote and keep the earth clean with reusable products.

NAWAH

Awareness platform turned online retailer

Nouf Bannan started an online eco-awareness Instagram page where she discusses the importance of sustainability, recycling, and reusing, as well as tips on how to lead an efficiently green lifestyle. She would always recommend different reusable products people can buy and realized that many don’t know how or where to shop for such items.

She decided to start distributing reusable products on the same platform, such as bamboo products and washable cotton pads that can easily be delivered to people’s houses. She wanted to encourage people to get their hands on affordable eco-friendly products. “I wanted the price to be as low as possible, so I’m selling it at the same price I purchase the products. My platform is non-profit – the only thing I’m gaining is that people are finally using sustainable products.”

Nouf also created her own product – reusable tote bags with interesting local designs. A popular one has an Arabic recipe for Shakshuka printed on the bag. “Ever since starting this business, I realized how much people want to be sustainable and how much they are actually excited about these products.”

Instagram: nawah.sa

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Awesome Twosome: Siblings Brunch & Coffee

From Left to Right: Haneen, Tarek, Talal, Ibrahim, & Farah Naaman

Find out how these family units rock the business world A strong family relationship provides a building block for a home. Imagine what that can do in a business?


Relation: Siblings
Names: Tarek, Ibrahim, Farah, Haneen, and Talal Naaman
Business: Siblings Brunch & Coffee

With a background in finance, Tarek Naaman, came back from his studies abroad and observed the Saudi market for a while. Brunch being the family’s favorite meal, he saw an investment in opening up a cafe. Down the road, he needed assistance with interior design, menu curation, and management. He believed there would be no better crew to bring on board than his own brothers and sisters. They came to call their little place on Ahmed Al Attas street, Siblings Brunch and Coffee.

Ibrahim, & Farah

Ibrahim, & Farah

The name taken after the owners’ blood relationship lays emphasis on culturally celebrated and revered family ties. The place provides a cozy setting, encouraging Jeddawis to mend and strengthen bonds with relatives and friends alike. This idea behind the brand’s persona received public laudation, and the cafe has become a fun, new casual hangout. Tarek and his brother Ibrahim handled management and overall project supervision. The sisters Farah and Haneen collaborated on interior design. Talal, the youngest of the bunch and a foodie, worked with Haneen, the healthy sibling, on deciding what goes on the menu.

Haneen, Tarek, Talal

Haneen, Tarek, Talal

“The best thing about working with family is that we’re all equally invested in this project,” Tarek clarified. “It’s also great that the business is the result of our individual strengths combined, achieving a well-rounded top-notch experience. Getting compliments on our work as a family too is very rewarding. The whole journey brought us closer than ever and brought us joy throughout,” added Farah.

Like any business, conflicts arise. The way this unit deals with it? “Assigning clear tasks from the very beginning, and holding everyone accountable for their actions,” Tarek explained. At the end of the day, the mutual respect and loyalty they hold for each other is what cements holes and paved the way to their shared goal.

Location: Ahmed Al Attas st., Az Zahra Dist., Jeddah
Instagram: siblings.sa

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Awesome Twosome: UCCL (United Constructors Contracting Co.)

Left: Nawaf Droubi
Right: Alaa Husseini

Find out how this family units rock the business world A strong family relationship provides a building block for a home. Imagine what that can do in a business?


Relation: Cousins
Names: Nawaf Droubi & Alaa Husseini
Business: UCCL (United Constructors Contracting Co.)

Nawaf and Alaa are connected by blood and business. The cousins are part of a construction empire founded by Nawaf’s father Tarek Droubi and uncle, Samer Droubi during the late ’80s in Jeddah. It’s responsible for developments such as Vox Cinemas and Rovan Tower.

Nawaf walked us through how he became the main pillar of his family’s legacy. “Growing up, watching my dad at work, and how he was his own boss, and even though it was very stressful at times, with lots of responsibilities, it felt as if he was free from the typical office job. That inspired me to be the same, which is why I decided to be a civil engineer, and then later join the family business. Today, the company is run by the founders, as well as my older brother Ziad, myself, and my cousin Alaa.”

Alaa, however, joined later. After he graduated from University in 2014, he joined the Saudi Binladin Group for a while. The switch to the family business wasn’t as easy as he had anticipated. Alaa commented, “I had imagined that working with family would be easier and more comfortable, only to later find out that it was probably one of the toughest jobs. I remember when first starting, it was extremely confusing having to be professional and formal with a family member who you’ve been extremely comfortable and informal with your whole life.”

Nawaf and Alaa agreed that one of the mutual challenges they face at UCCL is the generation gap. While it’s natural among businesses that are passed on through generations, Nawaf and Alaa shared another angle to their struggle.

Nawaf said, “While the older generation has the expertise and wisdom, the young generation is always trying to challenge practices in place, and the toughest part is conveying the mindset of each generation to come to terms between the two.” Alaa then added, “We’re young and enthusiastic and we think we’re always right, opposing opinions from the old guard sometimes seem like we are being overshadowed or unheard. Later, you come to learn that those decisions they made out of years of experience were on point, so you learn to listen more and sometimes let experience lead.”

The cousins also mentioned that another challenge they faced and had to work on is the family dynamic that occurs. It certainly takes time to disconnect their personal lives from their professional relationships, especially that the cousins live with their parents so it’s difficult to find their alone time and carefully separate relationships.

Alaa explained, “Our family is extremely close and we live together and are very much involved in each other’s lives, so the possibility of falling into groupthink is higher than average. You always need to keep an open mind and try not to fall into what could result in poor decisions.”

The secret ingredient to this family’s success is definitely communication. They’ve learned to speak their opinions and never hold anything back as a team. Nawaf commented by saying, “The reason we are successfully operational in times where many companies like us have already shut down is that we also respect hierarchy, and understand that not everything you want will happen. We must all respect the final decision, whether we agree or not, and acknowledge that we’re bound to make mistakes, as a group. No company is perfect, everyone has their own problems, and we are no different. But at the end of the day, we understand that we all have a common goal and commitment.”

“I was once told by someone that a table with two legs won’t stand, a table with four legs could wobble if its legs are uneven, but a table with three legs will always be stable no matter what. I find it a blessing that I work with my two cousins (and uncles), and I feel like we balance each other a way or another. Each one of us is good at something that completes the other, you know, checks and balances,” Alaa added.

Email: info@uccle-sa.com
Tel: +966-12-6910716
Web: uccl-sa.com
Instagram: uccl_sa

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Awesome Twosome: Grey Collective Store

Left: Solafa Al Maddah 
Right: Hala AL Maddah

Find out how these family units rock the business world A strong family relationship provides a building block for a home.  Imagine what that can do in a business?


A strong management team is something many businessmen and entrepreneurs try to instill within their companies, but having the trust between family members, which comes from their shared history and values makes them work stronger as a unit. Check out how these family businesses thrive better together.

Relation: Sisters
Names: Hala & Solafa Al Maddah
Business: Grey Collective Store

Sisters Hala Almaddah and Solafa Almaddah co-founded Grey Collective Concept Store, located in Jeddah, to set a roof embracing all the creative concepts behind unique minds in one place. This concept store is built in a way to cater to all tastes and mindsets, so their main aim is to make their brand coherent to everyone’s liking.

Solafa came across the idea three years ago, when all the small and mid-sized homeproduced businesses started booming on social media. She was longing for a store that didn’t sell all its items online, so that’s when she decided to launch her very own store.

“As a consumer, I had trouble trusting the online source. What if it only looks good in the picture? What if the quality isn’t as good, and I have to go through the hassle of shipping it back? That’s when I decided to open a concept store that gives designers a chance to sell their diverse items in one location,” Solafa shared. Grey Collective does not deliver online so as to drive their customers to pick their desired selection by hand.

After Solafa caught Hala’s interest with the idea, the sisters went on to make it happen, and one step at a time launched their store successfully. When asked the meaning behind the store name, Hala said, “Grey is a color without color. In other terms, it’s a neutral color that doesn’t express any emotion. Thus, it made this color a neutral platform for creative mindsets to define it the way they like. Each designer is trying to convey a story or set awareness for a cause by expressing it with their art. Grey Collective embraces the expressions of an individual or an entity in terms of art in all its different forms.”

One of the challenges they faced together as sisters is their different personality types. Although the co-founders are close in age and were raised together, they still have completely diverse identities. According to Hala, Solafa is more of a carefree person.

She’s very outspoken and likes to take her time focusing on what is on her hands, without any rush. That is when her innovative side comes out. Hala, on the other hand, is more of a straightforward and practical character. However, that is the only way the sisters can complete each other. It’s by learning their differences and understanding each other that they were able to open the Grey Collective and nourish as business partners and sisters.

Email: info@greycollective.store
Mob: +966-555029830

Instagram: greycollective.store

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In Tune

rebab-copy

Classic Musical Instruments of the Middle East.


Musical instruments in the Arab world are incredibly unique in both look and sound. Whether you’re an aficionado or know nothing about Middle Eastern music, there is always so much to learn and listen to! There are so many instruments in the region, but let’s just start with the basics. oud-copy

OUD

Archaeomusicologists– those who study the history of musical instruments–are still debating when to date the oud. Some claim it is 5,000 years old, others just 3,000. Either way, we know the oud to be an ancient stringed instrument commonly played throughout the Islamic world. As the ancestor to the lute and the guitar, the oud is an important historical instrument, with 11 or 13 strings.

The entire Middle East and North African region are full of magnificent oud players, but Saudi Arabia is home to some seriously exceptional talent.

First, we highly recommend checking out some of the classics: Mohammed Abdu, Rabeh Saqer, Abdul Majeed Abdullah, and Abadi Al- Jowhar for starters! But if old-school isn’t your jam, we suggest listening to some of the contemporary Saudi players such as Najam Suhail, Oud Rayan, Ahmed Saleh, and Hatoon Idrees. Hatoon’s playing is especially unique, donning an electric oud and mixing it with digital music.

Instagram: najm_ajaj2017
Instagram: hatoon.idrees

rebab-copyRABABA

At least 1,200 years old, the rebab (rababah) is another classic stringed instrument of the region. Unlike the oud, the  rebab has a small, usually rounded body with one to three strings. It can be played with a bow or plucked. The instrument is quite rare these days, replaced in favor of instruments with more range such as the violin and kemenche.

However, Saudi Arabia is home to many rebab players, most notably Obeid bin Ayesh Al Rusheidi. He believes that the  instrument has significant import in this generation because, as he told Arab News, “It is deeply connected to their  heritage and thus, they feel the need to protect and develop it.”

Musical instruments in the Arab world have a lot of character. With their ornate looks, their incredible histories, and their exotic sound that comes from semitones (extra notes that Western music lacks) adding complexity and creative potential, you should capitalize on any opportunity to see some of these instruments in action.

Although coronavirus seems to be all around us, hopefully, the chance to experience these beautiful sounds in performance will come sooner rather than later. Until then, online it is!

qanun-copyQANUN

The qanun is a flat instrument with 26 strings stretched horizontally across a wooden board and played by plucking the strings. Many musical historians have dated the qanun’s origins to Ancient Greece, or even earlier times between 3000 and 1600 BC. Like the other instruments in the list, the qanun has many regional variants, from more local peripheries in Turkey and Greece to the edges of the Islamic world in Indonesian gamelan music.

In the Arab world, the qanun, with its unique melodramatic sound, is a staple in classical Arabic music as well as more urban and dance ensembles.

If you’re interested in contemporary qanun players, we suggest Mohammed Q and Abdulaziz Hassan.

Instagram: qanun.m
Instagram: abdulazizhassan

shutterstock_613926455-copyNAY

The nay is an ‘end-blown’ flute predominantly featured in Middle Eastern music. The nay is generally restricted to urban settings where it is the only wind instrument of Arab art music.

Incredibly, the nay has been played continually for nearly 5,000 years, making it one of the oldest musical instruments still in use today. Yet despite its simplicity, this flute is one of the most difficult musical instruments to play.

In many Sufi traditions (some dating back to the 11th century via he famous poet Rumi), the nay has been philosophically equated with the human body: both need the breadth of life to become active. According to these mystical beliefs, the sound of the nay is thought to express man’s yearning for union with God.

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