Healthy Living, Online Magazine, Wellness

A Beginner’s Guide to Urban Gardening


You’ll be snipping fresh herbs and edible plants in your kitchen in no time!

In a concrete desert like Riyadh, a big chunk of the population live in apartments that don’t provide much access to Mother Nature. Here are simple ways to add greens to your otherwise beige existence in the city:

1. Pot ’em up

Before you begin, choose your pot wisely. If the pot is too small, your herbs won’t like it; too big, and it won’t fit the space at home. If you like, choose colorful containers with drainage holes and set them up for a pretty effect.

Make sure you have a saucer under the pots so you don’t ruin your windowsill or furniture.Buy pots from Ikea, Saco or Abyat.

Tip: There are nurseries around the city, you don’t have to go as far as Al Khozama District, just head on out to Murooj.pot-saucer

2. No backyard? No problem!

You can create your own little garden in just a sliver of space. All you need is a sunny windowsill or pop a planter anywhere in your house. If you don’t have a reliably sun-lit window, you will need to provide some type of plant lighting. Lack of sunshine will leave you with spindly, stressed plants, having little flavor.

3. Use potting soil

Use potting soil instead of regular soil from the ground. Potting soil is lighter and well draining. You can buy the potting soil from your local nursery and also ask the gardeners there how much soil each plant needs.urban-gardening-tamimi-november-health-2017-jp6

Tip: If the soil falls out of the draining holes, you can cover them with pieces of small coffee filters.

3. Add herbs

Most herbs are very easy to grow. You can either buy your favorite seedlings from a nursery or buy planting seeds from local supermarkets.

Buy seedlings from: Tamimi Markets, Lulu (Riyadh)slow_release_nitrogen

4. Try a little sunshine

You have to be careful about this bit. Do your research and learn whether your plant likes sun or shade. Vegetables and herbs require a little healthy dose of sunshine.

5. Feed them right

If your plants look like they are struggling, feed them every other month with a fertilizer labeled for use on edible plants. Herbs have more concentrated flavor if they are grown without a lot of fertilizer. Adjust the amount of the fertilizer according to your plant’s needs.urban-gardening-tamimi-november-health-2017-jp1

6. Monitor plants

It takes the plants a while to grow, so, you need to have a bit of patience. Expect the plants to adjust during the first few weeks. Water them when the soil feels dry to the depth of one inch. Since the humidity level is low in Riyadh, make sure you mist the air around plants once a week to boost the humidity level.


Green Living, Healthy Living, Online Magazine

Urban Gardening


You’ll be snipping fresh herbs and edible plants in your kitchen in no time.

Living in apartments doesn’t provide much access to Mother Nature. Here are a few tips to green-ify your apartment:

Pot ‘em up


Size matters when it comes to pots, so be sure that your plants have plenty of room to grow. Add some colorful pots to brighten up the place.

No backyard? No problem!


Line your plants along a window sill for a prettier effect. If there is no access to enough natural light, make sure to provide plant lighting.

Feed them right

Plants are similar to children, they need to be fed. Adjust the fertilizer according to your plant’s needs.

Use potting soil

Potting soil is better than regular, ground soil. Consult a professional on how much is needed based on plant.

Add herbs


Herbs are very easy to grow. Seedlings can be found at nurseries or your local supermarket.

*Buy seedlings from Tamimi and Lulu Supermarkets.

Try a little sunshine

Not all plants require the same amount of sunlight. Research your plants’ needs in order for them to grow and flourish.

Monitor plants

Patience, patience, and patience is what you have to learn. Plants take their time growing. Water your plants when needed only. In Riyadh’s humidity, you’ll need to mist the air around the plants to boost humidity level.



Gorge in Moderation


Gatherings are all about family and fun, but it’s also largely about food. Without a doubt, sharing a meal is one of the ways we bond as people.

However, if left unchecked, we are prone to overindulgence and overeating, often times to the point of waste. This leads to exactly what we have been warned about:

“…eat and drink, but be not excessive. Indeed, He likes not those who commit excess.” [Qur’an, al-A’raf 7:31]

Apart from our spiritual well-being, practicing moderation also benefits our physical health. Food has a dramatic effect on the performance of the body as well as the brain. Over-eating leaves a person feeling tired and bloated, a state that leads to laziness.

What a Muslim must do in this regard is to maintain the one-third rule in eating. All of us have probably heard and read the following hadith a million times but we tend to forget it during meal times.

The Prophet (PBUH) said: “A man does not fill any vessel worse than his stomach. It is sufficient for the son of Adam to eat enough to keep him alive. But if he must do that, then one-third for his food, one-third for his drink and one-third for his air.” (Tirmidhi).

No one is asking you to stop eating, we prepared a food issue because we know it is one of life’s joys. Obviously we need to eat in order to function. Eat but in moderation and a nutritious, balanced meal that is sufficient in suppressing your hunger.

Cook or order the food as much as you can eat and handle the leftovers safely, if any. Pack it and consume it later or just give it to the needy. There are many food banks and organizations in the region who collect leftovers from individuals, restaurants and private functions and distribute them to people who need it.


Here are some of the food banks that you can reach out to:

  • Eta’am Saudi food bank 


Tel: 920008110 

Facebook/Instagram: Saudifoodbank

  • Khiyrat 

Mob: +966-537777266
Tel: +966-11-4422220
Snapchat/Instagram/twitter: Khiyrat

  • Your Local Food bank 

Many places in Riyadh have fridges filled with food donated by locals. Placed outside Masajid, residences and malls, these are a great source of food for the needy. The only condition for those who wish to donate food is to make sure that the food is carefully preserved to avoid possible health problems.

Some of the forgotten Sunnahs of eating:

1. Saying ‘bismillah’ before eating and if one forgets then, ‘Bismillaahi awwalahu wa aakhirah’. (Tirmidhi)

2. Eating with the right hand (Muslim)

3. Not criticizing the food (Bukhari)

This is part of good manners, because a person may not like food that others like, but there is nothing wrong with eating anything that is permitted in Islam.

4. Interacting with others

It is arecommended sunnah to talk while eating, so as to put diners at ease and also eat less (Sharh Saheeh Muslim 14/7)

5. Whoever finishes eating and says, ‘Al-hamdu Lillaahi at’amani haadha wa razaqnihi min ghayri hawlin minni wa laa quwwata (Praise be to Allah Who has fed me this and provided me with it with no power or strength on my part),’ his previous sins will be forgiven.” (Tirmidhi, 3458)



Muharram To-dos


With the beginning of the new year, we have entered Muharram.

Let’s get in the zone, perfecting our focus and weeding out any mistakes to get some ajr in the bank.

Fasting on the day of Ashoora

The big day to prepare for is next Saturday – ‘ Ashoora ‘ the 10th of Muharram – which is rewarded with the expiation of one’s sins for the previous year.

“…fasting on the day of ‘Ashoora’, I hope Allah will expiate (the sins) for the year that came before it.” [Narrated by Muslim, 1162]

It is also the Sunnah to fast the 9th of Muharram along with the 10th. (Source)

Fast as much as you can

This is a month of fasting; in fact, it is the best month to fast after Ramadan. So, try to fast as much of it as possible.

“The best fasting after Ramadan, is the month of Allah: Muharram…” (Narrated by Muslim, 1163)

The month of Muharram is also an awesome time to make up your missed Ramadan fasts.

Whoever fasts the day of ‘Ashoora’ and also combines the intention to make up for a missed Ramadan fast, he will have two rewards: the reward for the day of ‘Ashoora’ along with the reward for making up the missed fast. [Sh. Ibn ‘Uthaymeen said in Fataawa al-Siyaam(438)]

Be extra careful about sins this month

Due to its sacredness, any bad deeds done during the sacred months are worse than in other months. So be extra careful and watch those eyes, ears and limbs. Guard that tongue and protect yourself from all wrongdoing.

Wrongdoing during the sacred months is more serious and incurs a greater burden of sin than in other months. (Source)

To Ponder & Reflect

The 10th of Muharram also marks the greatest day, when Allah miraculously saved Musa and his people and split the Red Sea.

Allah saved Musa (a.s) when things looked impossible and opened up the Red Sea to save Him from the greatest tyrant of all time. Ponder upon the story of Musa, his strong faith in Allah and his trust in Him.

All of us are struggling, grieving, trapped in the middle of so many different problems and we need help. To receive this Divine help, we have to make an effort! Strike the staff, use the means you’re blessed with, make an effort and dua.

Certainty in Allah takes you out of your misery and gives you ease in unimaginable ways.


Food, Food News, Foodie Corner

Build Me Up, Butter Cup


Your guide to frosting it ‘till you make it.

Some folks like dressing themselves up, others like dressing up desserts. Our team is a fun mix of both, and so faced with a chance to up our baking and styling game, we couldn’t say no (there may have been a promise of unlimited icing and cream too).

We got invited to an exclusive cupcake decorating workshop by Magnolia Bakery, where the noobs and pros in our team got to unleash their creativity. Here’s what we learned, thanks to their amazing chefs:

1. Buttercream formula

Pulling off a perfect buttercream, gets half your job done. It has to be fluffy, colorful, airy and spreadable.

Buttercreams can be spooned and swirled on to cakes and cupcakes in a number of ways. You can either apply it with an offset spatula or simply use a piping bag.

Tip: If the buttercream is stiff, add a bit of more milk.

2. Whip it till it hurts

It’s all about beating well and incorporating enough air till it becomes fluffy airy and smooth. Your frosting should be like toothpaste. That’s the ideal consistency to easily swoosh the frosting on each cupcake.

3. Let it fall like a teardrop

That’s the case at Magnolia Bakery, where that scooped swirl is so uniquely handcrafted without using a piping bag. 

Use an offset spatula to scoop up some frosting and gracefully dab the frosting onto the cupcake, rotating the cake as you dab it. Coordinate your dab and cupcake turns. The buttercream will slide off the spatula in a teardrop-like shape and it will form a plateau of icing on top as you turn the cupcake

4. Twist it like Beckham

Dab the frosting from the top smooth it out. Using your spatula’s end, press down starting on the outside edge and applying even pressure while swirling towards the center. This gives the frosting that perfect swooped fancy look at the end. If you are using a piping bag, hold the bag in your hand at the fold – this will give you the best support when you spoon your frosting! Attach your frosting tip of choice and you’re ready to fill your bag with frosting!

5. Sprinkle your sparkle 

When your love of sprinkles equals your love of frosting, use this method. Once you have topped your cupcake with a scoop of icing, all you have to do is sprinkle or dip the whole top into a bowl of your favorite sprinkles

Location: Magnolia Bakery, Fiorenzza Plaza

Instagram: @magnoliabakeryksa


Food, Foodie Corner

Classy Desserts made easy


Who says fancy can’t be easy?

We are keeping it easy and do-able so that you don’t look at a recipe and go like – I can’t make these. Which is why instead of elaborated classic recipes, we are making these fun. Try these out for your Eid celebrations this year!

1. Pineapple soufflé


The combination of juicy, fresh pineapples with delicious whipped cream melts in the mouth. Throw all the ingredients in a blender and whir until mixed. Try this easy peasy summer recipe.

2. Tiramisu


The shortcut version of an otherwise elaborate classic tiramisu recipe. This Easy Tiramisu is a no-bake dessert ready in minutes using just the cream instead of the cooked custard! Simply dip the biscuits fingers in coffee, and layer the cream and chocolate up and enjoy.

3. Coconut Jelly


Not only do these jellies have that delicate, lightly-sweetened coconut thing going on, but they’re one of the most striking desserts I’ve ever seen. When cooling, the jelly separates into two distinct layers.

4. Cheesecake

This no bake cake can come together in less than 20 minutes. Plus, you can just store it in the fridge ‘till you’re ready to serve.

5. Chocolate Truffles


Prepare to lose all self-control and stuff yourselves!

These chocolate truffles are a deliciously simple and rich bite-sized petit four, requiring simple methods, 2 ingredients and no fancy equipment! Made by heating a creamy mixture of chocolate and cream, the ganache is balled up and dunked into melted chocolate, cocoa or your favorite finely chopped nut.



Protecting Your Children the Sunnah Way


The last thing most mothers want after giving birth are curious eyes hoping for a glimpse of the happy scene. (Ain’t nobody got time for dat).

Many parents go underground right after giving birth and abandon their social life. What they fear is that someone might give their baby an evil eye (aka Ayn) and they want to try and protect him/her from harm. Relax, no one’s asking you to show your adorable little miracle off to the world like Simba in The Lion King.

It’s absolutely okay to be overcautious and protective. But the thing is, you can not keep your children under your 24-hour surveillance. The only 24/7 protection your child has is Allah. You, as a parent may nourish your children but Allah is their Guardian.

Here’s what you should be doing:

1. Seek Refuge

The Prophet (PBUH) used to seek refuge with Allah for his grandsons Hasan and Husayn and he said: “Your father (Ibraaheem) used to seek refuge with (these words) for Ismaa‘eel and Ishaaq by saying:screenshot-2017-08-17-12-00-42A‘oodhu bi kalimaat Illaahi’t-taammah min kulli shaytaanin wa haammah wa min kulli ‘aynin laammah

“I seek refuge in the perfect words of Allah from every devil and every vermin, and from every bad eye” [Bukhari 3371]

Also ringing up your kids with the daily morning/evening supplications is very essential. (See link)

2. Safeguard

It is also recommended to recite Surah al-Ikhlaas and al-Mu‘awwidhatayn (Surah An-Nas and Al-Falaq) over them and to wipe their bodies whilst reciting, or to recite them into one’s hands and blow (spitting lightly) in them, then wipe them over whatever of their body one can reach, or to recite them into water and wipe them or wash them with it.

3. The power of a parent’s prayer


Do you know a parent’s dua is among the three prayers that are undoubtedly answered? [Ibn Maajah 3862].

So make dua for your children and ask Allah to protect them.

4. Saying BarakAllah

There’s this misconception that saying Masha Allah repels evil eye. The Sunnah is that if a person admires something that he has and owns then he should say Masha Allah, just as in the story of the companion of the two gardens (See Surah Al-Kahf, 39)

And If he sees it in other than himself, then the right way according to the Sunnah is to ask Allah to bless the person or object. (Saheeh hadith)

So it’s recommended to say Barakallahu Alaihi (May Allah bless it for him/her), BarakAllahu feek (May Allah bless you) and BarakAllahu feeh (May Allah bless her/him).

5. Keeping children indoors at Maghrib

This is not a myth! OK now don’t freak out also.

The Prophet (PBUH) has actually advised us against letting our young out at sunset and only for a period just after sunset in authentic authoritative narrations.

6. Social media bug


With this latest trend to blur or masking just the face of the child with little hearts or other shapes on social media, I cannot help but ask, why post any photos at all? Your social media contacts can still see you have a baby and that it’s healthy and cute (C’mon, all babies are cute!) and the blurring is not serving anyone any good.

7. After all the above, trust!

We are taught to tie the camel securely and then put our trust in Allah.

Parents are not supposed to blind fold themselves and completely abandon their children’s wellbeing. After taking necessary steps, a person should have firm belief that Allah will take care of their children and the one who places someone in Allah’s protection, they will indeed be protected. We should be conscious of the reality of the evil eye but at the same time we shouldn’t be quick to accuse people of doing it as well.



Busybook For Busy Bees


Give yourself the gift of quiet time while helping your little one build skills at home and on-the-go.

If you thought interruption free alone time without your little one at your feet was an impossible mission — let us introduce you to Nabiha Ismail Wangde.

Nabiha’s Treasures and Treats began when she wanted to curate her daughter’s experience by customizing her own book.

Where did you get the idea to make busy books? How did it all start?

My daughter was born in 2009. When she was 6 months old, I came across a book ‘ Creative Play for your baby’ which had inspiration for creating handmade toys for your little ones. I sewed a felt hen by hand for my daughter using the pattern from that book and wanted to sew a chick for it too. A search on the Internet opened up a mesmerizing new world of handmade toys and activities for kids, including busy books. I made my first 2 busy books for my daughter, which would totally keep her occupied for hours on end.

Whoever saw them loved them and asked where I got them from, from friends and relatives to flight attendants during our travels! I soon made several more personalized busy books for my sister and friends. At the same time I also started making busy bags & Montessori-inspired activities for my daughter. When I realized that this was a niche that had not been tapped in Riyadh or even KSA for that matter, I decided to test out a few products as a trial. The response was very encouraging and that led to me starting my page on Facebook- ‘Nabiha’s Treasures & Treats’

Can you explain the process of creating one of these busy books?

I offer custom orders for those who want to personalize their busy books with their child’s names and also with activities that are suited to their child’s fine motor skills and what they like in terms of themes. Customers usually either tell me the exact pages that they want e.g. tying shoelaces, buttoning apples onto a tree, zipping a handbag etc. and I make and assemble them all together, or they tell me about the kinds of activities they want e.g. zipping, Velcro, buckle and what their child’s passions are like cars, dinosaurs, rainbows etc and then I incorporate them all into activities for the different pages.

Are the books and materials child-friendly?

The busy books are mainly made of good quality acrylic felt that does not pill or rip easily and sometimes even wool felt. I ensure that all the pieces, especially buttons, are sewn on very firmly. However, as with any other toy, I always advise parents to supervise and guide the child at all times while they are interacting with the busy books.

The busy books are a representation of a kid’s childhood that they’ll appreciate later on, in addition to being an incredibly distracting tool during road trips.

Facebook: /NabihaTreasuresTreats

Instagram: nabihas_treasures_and_treats


Food, Online Magazine, Showdown

Love is in the Air (fryer)


It’s time to trick your sambosas and fries.

Major confession time – we are HUGE fried food addicts. Put us in front of some hot fries, a plate of sambosas, fried chicken and you’ll make us weak at the knees.

So we got an air fryer, a unique kitchen gadget that enables you to indulge your taste buds without wrecking your diet. The Air-fryer combines fast circulating hot air with a grill that cooks the food with a little bit of oil.

Just a little oil and you are good to go.

  1. Good Ol’ Fries

Best tasting fries with just a teaspoon of oil? Oh boy, that’s a very lofty claim to make! So yes, I was very skeptical about the results… That is, until I actually made it.

They turned out to be delicious and crispy. Enjoy!

Tip: Store-bought frozen fries can be thrown straight into the Airfryer or you can make them from scratch.
DR tip: Add a little spice and gorgeous color to the fries! Toss ‘em in a delicious spicy mix: Paprika, garlic powder, cornstarch, salt and pepper.

  1. Spicy Chicken Drumsticks

These drumsticks were done in 30 minutes, from start to finish.

I was extremely impressed with how evenly the chicken was fried, and how effortless it was.

Tip: Marinate the chicken before hand.
DR tip: Dunk these in guacamole for more flavor.

  1. Sambosas and Spring Rolls

These are supposedly a must on every iftar table. But keeping the oil control in mind, we decided to go for the air-fried goodness.

They are quick and crispy without all the fat from oil. This low-fat snack is sure to satisfy your craving.

  1. Fish Fingers

Perk these up with some garlic, spices and just a little brushing of oil. The fingers turn out crispy and can be enjoyed with your favorite dip.

  1. Quick Mixed Vegetable Tempura

This no-fuss treat is great for nibbles and is a delicious twist (fake, ahem!) on traditional tempura.

Use whatever seasonal vegetables you have. I have tried it with zucchini, carrots, bean and cauliflower and it turned out to be a great tummy pleaser.

Tip: Just flip over once if needed.



Mafi Malum No More!


“Malesh, ana mafi ma3lum 3rabi,” (Sorry, I don’t know Arabic) is the most common phrase used by the non-Arabs/expats when someone tries to converse with them in Arabic. 

The difference in language is the most obvious barrier for communication between locals and expats living in Saudi and not speaking Arabic can result in hysterical and frustrating miscommunication stories. Not to forget that Arabic is the most praised and singled out languages of the world in Islam. Learning the language is also the starting point of a life long journey with the Qur’an so that you understand, implement and live by it without being dependent on the translation.

Allah says,

“We have sent it down as an Arabic Qur’an, in order that you may gain understanding.” (Quran, 12:2).

Umar (may God be pleased with him) said, “Learn Arabic for it is a part of your deen.” (Iqtidaa’ al-Siraat al-Mustaqeem, 2/207)

Here are the institutes/centers in Riyadh where you can take Arabic language classes from

1. King Saud University’s – Arabic Linguistics Institute (ALI)

This intensive language program is for both male and female non-Arab students. The program targets scholarship students and gives them a diploma upon successfully completing the intensive Arabic program. Their objective is to develop students’ writing and speaking abilities at the advanced level.

Fees: Free

FB: /ArabicLinguisticsInstitute

Twitter: @ALIKSU

2. Imam Saud University’s – The Institute of Teaching Arabic 

The Institute of Teaching Arabic in Riyadh at Al Imam Mohammad Ibn Saud Islamic University welcomes learners from different nationalities to study Arabic language courses in two sessions for male and female students each during the day. The morning program is for women while the evening program is or men.


Male: SR 400, for each semester.

Females: SR 300, for each semester.

No Age Limit (Adults only)

Location: Gate 12, Building 322 @ Imam Saud University

FB: The Institute Of Teaching Arabic In Riyadh

Twitter: ImamArabic

3. Princess Noura University
PNU is one of the largest women-only universities of the world and has been providing education to both Arabs and non-Arabs.

PNU has the vision to become an international leader in teaching Arabic to non-Arabic speakers. The 6-week course offers academic, training, and research programs to non-Arabic speakers. The institute offers a higher diploma in Arabic language and its graduates will be qualified to join any other course at PNU except faculties of health.


Test Fee: SR 100

Course Fee: SR 1500

Age limit: Some of the programs have age limit and some don’t

Location: From station A10 – Building #260


Twitter: @arabicteaching

4. Yanabee’a al Jinan Institution 

Yanabee’a Al Jinan is a growing community center set up to infuse the beautiful teachings of Islam into the lives of people individually and in society as a whole. Among the various Islamic courses offered, Arabic is also one of them.

A special program to learn Arabic grammar has been recently introduced this year. Classes every Thursday.

Fees: SR 100 for Arabic course only. One day per week.

No Age Limit (Adults only)

Location: Ibn Abi Al Afiyah st., Rawdah

FB: /yanabeealjinan

IG: @ yanabee_aljinan_riversofjannah 

5. Dar Adh Dhikr

This women-only institute teaches classical Arabic along with memorization and understanding of the Qur’an. Some basic Islamic studies classes are also taught to learn the pillars of Islam properly according to Quran and Sunnah.

It’s a 4-month course, which usually starts from the mid of Shawwal, and then mostly from February to June. Dar also has short Summer classes during June/July.


SR 200 per term

No age limit (Adults only)

Location:  Qays Ibn Al Mulawwah, Sulimaniyah