Help Find Bella!

Abodi & Bella

Bella, Abodi’s service dog, was allegedly dognapped in Al-Nahdah district in Jeddah on the 11th of March at around 8pm. She was seen being taken into a car that drove off and was not wearing a collar at the time.

Abodi has developmental problems and Bella was his best friend, helper, and one of the sources of his happiness. “Dogs are family, we hope that at least she is being taken good care of. Our hearts break over her loss and Abodi has been depressed since the incident,” Abodi’s sister explained to us.



Help bring back the joy into this family’s heart. If you have seen Bella around in your neighborhood, on any social media accounts, or on any website that is selling dogs, be a good Samaritan and contact them. The family are offering prize money for whoever finds and returns her.

Instagram: find.bella
Mob: +966-555655658 


Suite Spot


The Merchant House Hotel: Coveted Hospitality in Bahrain.

There are times when it becomes a necessity that you escape to a cozy, tranquil getaway free of pressing responsibilities. Relationship goals then translate into rejoicing in the pleasant company of a flavorful, fulfilling meal. Warm feelings of nights spent alone sipping on “gahwa” rekindle, and daydreams of slumbers uninterrupted by pesky morning alarms bring you tremendous comfort. Seek remedy at The Merchant House Hotel in Bahrain, and on the spur of the moment, file for that leave!rooftop-pool-copy

This award-winning 5-star luxury boutique hotel, part of Campbell Gray Hotels’ line-up, is curated with great sophistication. Over 200 original contemporary pieces ornament the reception area, corridors, and rooms. The all-suite accommodation also features bespoke furniture, with fabric design and internal decor that blends eloquently with the overall aesthetic. Suites have an open-plan kitchenette and sitting area, a king or super king bed you literally sink in, and a bathroom.the-library-1-copy

“If you have a garden and a library, you have all you need.” A statement quoted by Marcus Cicero, embraced by Gordon Campbell Gray, and embodied within The Merchant House Hotel. Indigo, the hotel’s rooftop restaurant with a garden terrace and bar, serves à la carte breakfast, Friday brunch, lunch, and dinner. Delicious dishes inspired by the Mediterranean and Asian cuisines will please your palate. Overlooking the lobby on the mezzanine floor is a stunning library that features around 1,000 especially curated books. Located right next to Bab Al Bahrain, downtown Manama and nearby the financial harbor, this is a great accommodation whether the intent is business or leisure. So book for your next visit there today and enjoy your stay!

Instagram:  themerchanthousebahrain
Instagram:  indigo.manama

Why we think The Merchant House Hotel would be worth your two cents:

1. En-suite freezer and ice cubes. N-ice
2. Books available in all suites for your leisure.
3. Use of paper straws and recyclable packaging for bathroom toiletries following a no-single-use plastic product policy that’s environmentally friendly. De-GREAT-able
4. Use of chemical-free and herbal toiletries.
5. Bedside electronic console that conveniently allows you to control the AC and lights in all parts of the suite. There’s a nice option allowing for night lights too for those of you who don’t like to sleep in total darkness.
6. The English Afternoon Tea served in the library on weekends includes recipes inspired by Gordon Campbell Gray’s grandmother and delicious freshly baked scones!
7. You can book an art tour with your afternoon tea for a well-rounded experience. Ar-TEA


Dance to The Beat of Folklore

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A colorful and enchanting heritage.

Saudi folklore arts (known as alfunun-alsha’beyah) are diverse and are greatly influenced by a combination of Beduin practices, Islamic beliefs, and other cultures making their mark through trade. They vary by region and city where individual traditions are called lawn, meaning color in Arabic. Most arts include the chanting of poetry by a leader along with group dancing to a rhythm set by clapping, percussion, wind, or string instruments. Daggers, swords, and long guns are often seen worn or handled by performers as many of these dances were once war dances. Today, these arts can be witnessed during weddings, cultural heritage festivals, and in celebration of major events. Without further ado, we leave you with a list of some intriguing Saudi folk arts:

Al Dahhah

Region: Northern
City where it’s most famous: Tabouk
History: Used to be a battle dance aimed at intimidating the opponent by giving a false impression that there is a larger number of warriors than there actually is. Also, used to be performed in celebration of victory or to heighten warrior’s spirits.
How it’s performed: One or two rows of opposing men sing echoing roaring sounds, or less commonly poetry verses after a leader who is usually in the center of one of the rows. Synchronised claps set the beat and the tempo starts slow then accelerates and becomes louder. A “Hashy” is a person who stands in between the rows of men swinging his coat called “Mishlah” or sword to further excite the performers and add to the energy.

Modern Day Dance Performers’ Instagram: nasem_alshamal1


Al Ta’sheer (AKA Fire Dance)

Region: Western (Hijaz)
City where it’s most famous: Taif
How it’s performed: A highly skilled and trained performer(s) holds “Al Muqama”, a kind of long gun filled with locally made blank ammunition. He aims it to the ground and fires under his feet as he jumps in midair. Performers in the background recite poems with lyrics that instill pride.
Modern Day Dance Performers’ Instagram: 7iuoma

Al Khatwa (AKA The Step)

Region: Southern
City where it is most famous: Assir
How it’s performed: A row, or two opposing rows of men step to the rhythm of drums. The arrangement of steps varies but is usually close to the following formation: right step forward, then left step forward, left step backward, then right step backward with bending of the knees as if stomping the ground in harmony with the beat.
Main Instruments: “Al Zalfa”, a type of frame drum, and “ Al Zir”, a type of kettledrum.
Modern Day Dance Performers’ Instagram: maalievent

Sourced photo from

Sourced photo from

Al Liwa

Region: Eastern
History: Originally an African dance that saw its way into the arabian peninsula through Oman. There has been no consensus as to what the word means. Some say it has been created specifically to describe the associated dance, others say it means an invitation to drink.
How it is performed: Performers step sideways and forward in a counterclock manner, encircling a band that consists of drummers and a main Surnay player called “Al Fondi” while chanting cultural songs.
Main Instrument: Surnay, also known as “mizmar” or lettish horn.
Modern Day Dance Performers’ Instagram: alrayahteam

Al Arda Al Najdia (AKA Sword Dance)

Region: Central (Najd)
City where it’s most famous: Riyadh
History: It used to be a war dance aimed at raising morale before battle and demonstrating a tribe’s strength and fearlessness. Today, it’s performed during weddings and national festivals, most notably “Al Janadriyah”. Arda in Arabic means show or parade, denoting a military sort of demonstration. It was included in UNESCO’s Intangible Cultural Heritage of Humanity list in 2015. Several variations exist including Southern Arda.
How it’s performed: Two rows of opposing men called “Al Sabhah” speak poetry and perform slow basic moves while wielding swords to the beat of percussion instruments. Poems usually tackle national issues and speak highly of the Kingdom.
Modern Day Dance Performers’ Instagram: aljazeera

Sourced photo from

Sourced photo from

The Ministry of Culture organized a national folklore competition to revive these arts and preserve heritage. The aim is the documentation of these treasures through video or audio clips in terms of music, dance, or folktales and legends. Registration ends on the 25th of November 2019. For more details, check out their website:


Coach Guidance for Modern Life


Life coaching, as defined by the International Coaching Federation (ICF), is basically partnering with clients in a thought-provoking and creative process that inspires them to maximize their personal and professional potential. It helps coachees move from where they are to where they want to be in life via a multitude of techniques such as guided imagery, neuro-linguistic programming, mindfulness, and visualization.

The concept of coaching can be applied to different aspects of one’s life, including financial, health, and professional. Coaching is more future-oriented, focuses on outer action and results, is more short-term, and doesn’t involve diagnosis. We speak to a couple of notable and certified coaches who continue to empower individuals and organizations through life coaching.

Reem AlJizawi

“Coaching is a journey that starts with uncertainty and ends with clarity. It is the invisible dance that takes place in the session between the coach and the coachee through an intelligent conversation that leads to immense awareness. It is a state of flow that ends with brightening our paths to the final image we always aspire to be and become.” Founder of coReach, a coaching firm and platform based in Riyadh, Reem Al Jizawi is a social & emotional intelligence and executive & team coach. President of the ICF Saudi Chapter, she became a certified professional coach from Erickson Coaching International after her positive transformation experiencing coaching firsthand as a coachee.

Reem explains that a good coach should never offer advice – clients are whole and resourceful, and coaches only help them make their own decisions. She also clarifies that having a coach does not automatically translate into success. You have to be willing to do the majority of the work and apply what is established during coaching sessions to be able to achieve your goals. She highly advises clients to ensure that the coach they hire is accredited, and have a clear understanding of the service contract and all it entails.

Instagram: reemaljizawi / coreachco


Ready, Set, Coach Guidance for Modern Life


Life coaching, as defined by the International Coaching Federation (ICF), is basically partnering with clients in a thought-provoking and creative process that inspires them to maximize their personal and professional potential. It helps coachees move from where they are to where they want to be in life via a multitude of techniques such as guided imagery, neuro-linguistic programming, mindfulness, and visualization.

The concept of coaching can be applied to different aspects of one’s life, including financial, health, and professional. Coaching is more future-oriented, focuses on outer action and results, is more short-term, and doesn’t involve diagnosis. We speak to a couple of notable and certified coaches who continue to empower individuals and organizations through life coaching.

Maggie Aradati

Maggie is a certified holistic life and career & executive coach from the Goal Imagery Institute. She initially majored in political sciences and minored in psychology.

She took a detour into coaching after she had discovered and fallen in love with positive psychology, the scientific study of well-being and optimal human function, which had a lot in common with coaching. From her experience, the majority of clients’ obstacles stem from their belief system. Beliefs drive thoughts that in turn are translated into actions.

“As cliche as it may sound, if you believe you can then you most certainly will,” she explains. Coaching not only allows her to lend a helping hand to others, it also drastically altered her perception of life. She has become more aware of self-limiting thoughts and firmly believes that anything and everything is possible once you set your mind to it.

Instagram: wellbeing_with_maggie


Stop the Stigma


Let’s Start a Conversation on Mental Health.

Mental illness scares us because it is an abstract disease of the mind that is not readily proven to exist unlike physical ailment. We fear what we do not know. To cope with that, it becomes easy to go into denial, or make assumptions about it and avoid people suffering from mental illness. Being unaware of proven facts about mental illness further entangles an already complex situation.

Mental illness has a grand halo of stigma surrounding it, a mark of disgrace associated with a particular circumstance, quality, or person. Sadly, it is considered a disgrace to suffer from mental illness in our society, and that is an added burden for all involved. Like any disease, there is an underlying causative biological imbalance in mental illness; it’s not a choice. It most certainly is something that needs to be addressed.

According to an article published in the World Psychiatry Journal in 2002 titled “Understanding the Impact of Stigma on People with Mental Illness,” stigma can be divided into public stigma (also known as social stigma) and self-stigma. Public stigma is the general population’s (including family and friends) reaction to people suffering from mental illnesses. Self-stigma is the prejudice people with mental illness have against themselves. stigma-darker-sketch-copy

Both kinds of stigma include three elements: stereotypes, prejudice, and discrimination. Stereotypes are perceived negative beliefs, prejudice is an agreement with stereotypes or the development of an emotional reaction (e.g. fear or anger) to them, and discrimination is acting on or responding behaviorally to prejudice.

Common stereotypes held about mental illness in our society include attributing mental illnesses to having weak faith or a weak personality.

Other false beliefs about mental illness revolve around the notion that they are always chronic and all medications used for treatment cause dependence. Discrimination may take the form of withholding help, avoidance, coercive treatment, and segregated institutions, along with physical. emotional, or verbal abuse.

Stigma in all its forms has significant and deleterious effects on people with mental illness. It delays the acknowledgement and acceptance of the disease process, delays medical attention, and augments feelings of guilt and shame where self-esteem suffers. The incidence of suicidal ideation, suicidal attempts, substance abuse, and self-medicating practices may increase as well. Eventually, overall outcomes and quality of life significantly diminishes. It’s really time to stop the stigma and start a conversation that offers tangible solutions, and cultivates a culture of understanding.

Signs of possibly having a mental illness include but are not limited to a drastic shift from a person’s baseline attitude, actions, or mood. For those who feel like they may be suffering from a mental disorder, get help. Don’t allow the fear of being labeled hold you back. The faster you are diagnosed, the sooner you embark on a journey towards recovery. There’s absolutely nothing wrong with having a mental illness – don’t fall victim to denial, embrace yourself in its entirety. depression-anxiety-edits-copy

You are not weak, and you don’t need to suffer for long and in silence. Surround yourself with supportive family members and friends you trust. Open up and avert from isolation. Book an appointment with a psychiatrist and explore the various available treatment options.Equip yourself with knowledge about your diagnosis; remember that it doesn’t condemn nor define you. No matter how dark or hopeless the situation may be, never give up on yourself. It will get better.

To everyone else who surrounds those suffering from mental illness (caregivers, family members, friends, employers, colleagues), be part of the change today. Telling people with mental illness to “stop whining” or dismissing the disease altogether sends out a dangerous message despite it coming from a good place. Abstain from such comments, belittling others’ suffering, and being judgemental. Educate yourself on the matter to have a better understanding, and to become active advocates.

For more information on specific disorders, here are some places in the Kingdom to seek medical attention from:

ACT Adult & Child Therapy Center:

A multidisciplinary mental health care private practice. They provide a wide range of services including adult and child psychotherapy, child and adult psychotherapy, coaching, marriage counseling, play and art therapy and more. They also offer regular seminars and workshops.

Location: 233, Mohamed Bin Abdulaziz St. Al Andalous District, Jeddah
Instagram: actcenter

Medicare Clinics:

Established in 1998, these clinics provide home visit services for those unable to attend the clinic, run Wechsler IQ tests and the Minnesota Multiphasic Personality Inventory that assesses personality traits and psychopathology, and provide group therapy along with other services.

Location: Al Madhar Ash Shamali, Takhassusi Street, Al Mathar Ash Shamali, Riyadh
Instagram: medicareclinics

Dr. Ali Alsalamah Medical Center:

A center that specializes in psychiatry, psychology, sociology, guidance and rehabilitation for Autism and ADHD patients.

Location: Street 28, Alanoud district, Dammam


Chef Khalida Al Sulaiman’s Pastry: Cinnamon Milk Pie Recipe


Recipes curated especially for Destination readers by very special local chefs.

Chef Khalida, the co-founder of online bakery Fatafeet Bakehouse, has been obsessed with baking from a very young age – the alluring smell of baked goods fresh out of the oven, and the wonderful aromas of chocolate, vanilla, coffee, and others. She derives inspiration from particular ingredients (usually natural sweeteners) around which she builds recipes, each one with a story behind it. With Fatafeet Bakehouse, she ensures every order is baked fresh, nothing goes to waste, and the recipes are original. “The whole point of baking is to make people happy. Knowing that customers order my pastries to celebrate their special events brings me lots of personal joy,” the Le Cordon Bleu alumnus says.

Instagram: fatafeetbakehouse


Recipe Name: Cinnamon Milk Pie

Chef Khalidah shares this recipe for Cinnamon Milk Pie, a contemporary pastry dish. It looks as amazing as it tastes; in the shape of a rosette, the light custard enveloped within the sheets of filo comes to life when dusted with icing sugar and cinnamon.

Yield: 8-10 Servings
Total Preparation Time: 85  minutes (includes baking)


4   tablespoons (56 grams) of melted butter
8   sheets of filo dough
1/8  teaspoon of cinnamon + more for dusting
1.5  cups (12 oz.) of whole milk
3     eggs
1/2 cup (99grams) of sugar
1/2 teaspoon of vanilla extract
Icing sugar for dusting the pie


– Preheat oven to 175°C.

– Brush a 10-inch or 9-inch springform cake pan with butter, then set aside.

– Get a sheet of filo, scrunch up into a cylinder, then into a circle. Place in the center of the pan, and repeat till the rest of the pan is covered.

– Using a pastry brush, brush the filo with remaining butter. Sprinkle cinnamon on top. Bake for about 25-30 minutes till pastry is golden.

– While the pie bakes, make a custard filling. Heat the milk until it comes to a boil.

– Meanwhile, in a bowl, whisk sugar and eggs.

– Slowly add the hot milk to the sugar and egg mix, whisking as you go. Then add vanilla.

– Spoon the custard mix into the pie, and re-bake for another 25-30 minutes.

– Let the pie cool for 5 minutes, dust the top with cinnamon and powdered sugar.

– It’s best eaten warm, and you can store leftovers in the fridge to prevent the custard from going bad.dsc_6536-copy


Chef Nawal Al Khalawi’s Healthy Treat: Beetroot Samboosa Recipe


Recipes curated especially for Destination readers by very special local chefs.

There is a general misconception that candy, sweets, and junk food bring happiness to children. Chef Nawal stands strongly against this ideation and is a passionate health advocate. She majored in special education and used to notice how childrens’ lunch boxes were full of refined carbohydrates and had few vegetables and fiber. Feeling a responsibility towards the matter, she created the Instagram account Food Evolution, and then later The Super Child Project, which hosts health camps (some taking place during Ramadan) for kids, in collaboration with various gyms. She also became a health life coach, helping clients adopt a more holistic approach to a healthy lifestyle. To put all the bits and pieces of the puzzle together, Chef Nawal attended Le Cordon Bleu in France later and studied gastronomy as well, mastering the science and art of food.

Instagram: food.evolution / thesuperchildproject

_dbx2361-copyRecipe Name: Beetroot Samboosa

Beetroot Samboosa is a healthy, light alternative to your usual fried samboosa. Indulge in this easy-to-make contemporary delicacy by Chef Nawal this Ramadan for a different experience.

Yield: 12 Servings
Total Preparation Time: 60 minutes


2  large beetroots
4  pitted and and finely chopped dates
2  tablespoons (30 ml) of Greek yoghurt
1  tablespoon (15 ml) of lemon juice
1/8 cup (50 grams) of Gorgonzola cheese or feta cheese
1/4 cup (60 ml) of toasted pumpkin seeds
A handful of freshly chopped cilantro for garnish


– In a large pot of salted water, boil the beets until tender; depending on the size of the beets, it will take around 45 minutes.

– While beets are cooking, combine remaining ingredients (minus the garnish) and stir to combine; set aside or refrigerate until it is ready to start assembling.

– Remove beets from heat, rinse with cold water and peel when cool enough to handle. Using a mandolin or a sharp knife, cut them into very thin, ⅛th of an inch slices, and place on paper towels to absorb excess moisture.

– Scoop a heaping teaspoon of the filling onto half of the circumference of the beet slice and fold the other half over it (just like a samboosa!)

– Secure with toothpick if they don’t remain closed on their own, garnish to taste and enjoy!


Chef Areej Al Shareef’s 30-Minute Recipe: Aubergine Fattah Recipe


Recipes curated especially for Destination readers by very special local chefs.

Top Chef season 3 participant Chef Areej surprisingly never fancied cooking until the age of 17. She used to bribe her way out of cooking chores in the household where she grew up. To get away with it though, she had to remain in the kitchen during meal preps to convince her family that she was the one actually doing all the cooking for the day. Curiosity inevitably stemmed from her periods of observation, and at some point decided to just go ahead and try cooking. With some encouragement from her parents, she ended up finding her true passion in life, quitting her day job to pursue being a chef full-time. She aspires to one day open a culinary school in Jeddah in support of Saudi talents who are interested in creating a name for themselves in the culinary world.


Recipe Name: Aubergine Fattah

dsc_7599-copyHere is Chef Areej’s fulfilling Aubergine Fattah dish that can be put together quickly in 30 minutes. It comes in handy when your day has been long and you find yourself running out of time to make Iftar/suhoor.

Yield: Serves 2
Total Preparation Time: 30 minutes


2   medium Aubergines
2   large potatoes
Arabic bread
Can of hummus
1   Pomegranate

Red Sauce:

3   tablespoons of olive oil
1   minced large onion
4   mashed garlic cloves
1   large tomato cut into cubes
3   tablespoons of tomato paste
1   teaspoon of vinegar
1   teaspoon of cumin
1   teaspoon of paprika
Salt and pepper to taste

Yoghurt Sauce:

2   yoghurt cartons
2   mashed garlic cloves
1   tablespoon of dried mint
Salt and pepper to taste


– Dice the Arabic bread, tomatoes, and aubergines into small equal squares.

– Fry the Arabic bread, potato, and aubergine cubes till they become golden in color.

– In a separate frying pan, add olive oil, onion and garlic cloves till they wilt and become caramelized. Next add in the tomatoes, tomato paste, and the above-mentioned spices to complete the red sauce. Stir until the mixture becomes homogeneous.
In a bowl, mix all the ingredients mentioned above for the yoghurt sauce and set it aside.

– Put everything layered together in a clay pot for serving. From bottom to top, start with a layer of red sauce, then add a layer of potatoes, followed by a layer of aubergines, and conclude with a layer of Arabic bread covered in yoghurt sauce. Repeat the process as many times as necessary.

– Garnish with pomegranate.dsc_7543-copy


Chef Raneen Joudah’s Classic: Mini Bastilah Recipe


Recipes curated especially for Destination readers by very special local chefs.

Raneen’s love for teaching, cooking, and photography made food blogging appealing enough for her to quit her 9-to-5 in investments and asset management. Never regretting her decision, she encourages everyone who has a dream to go grab it by the horns. She has been blogging for three years now, and has managed to connect well with a wide audience, with her meticulous attention to detail, diligent attempts to perfect intricate cooking techniques, and the tips, tricks, and secrets that she shares. She admires Italian cuisine because “a few quality ingredients can make up for an incredible dish,” and French cuisine because “the elaborateness of techniques is brilliant and challenging.” Coming up with constant new content and bringing something new to the table on each and every occasion has been the most challenging thing for her to date.

Instagram: raneens.table


Recipe Name: Mini Bastilah

This Ramadan, she serves up Mini Bastilah, a traditional Moroccan classic with a twist. It’s a savory-sweet dish where chicken filling is beautifully wrapped in crispy filo pastry. The aromatic, savory, and soft interior balances well with the sweet crisp filo shell.

Yield: Serves 4
Total Preparation Time: 90   minutes


Chicken mixture:

2     chicken breasts
2     tablespoons of olive oil
1     chopped onion
1     tablespoon of chopped coriander
1     tablespoon of chopped parsley
1/2 teaspoon of ginger, turmeric, black pepper, salt, and cinnamon
Sprinkle of saffron
1     cup water

Almond mixture:

1/2 cup of roasted ground almonds
1/2 teaspoon Cinnamon powder
2     tablespoons of icing sugar
1     teaspoon rose water
Filo dough
50g melted butter
1     egg


– Place all chicken mixture ingredients into a pot on a stove (except for the water initially), stir for 10 minutes, then pour in the water and let it cook covered for 30 minutes.

– Remove chicken breasts from the stock and stir until most of the liquid evaporates.

– Add the egg to the stock and stir until well combined. Shred the chicken separately.

– In a bowl, mix the almond ingredients.

– Cut the filo pastry in half and place two layers in a small bowl, brushing each with melted butter.

– Fill filo sheets with about 1 tablespoon of the egg mixture, shredded chicken, and ground almonds each.

– Fold the filo pastry from all sides into a round bun, and move it onto a baking tray. Brush the outside with more butter, then bake for 20 minutes at 180°C. Garnish with icing sugar, cinnamon, and parsley, then serve.dsc_8629-copy