Art Exhibition: I paint what I feel, I feel what I paint

Exceptional artist, brilliant mind and dearest friend Stella Stylianou paints what she feels and feels what she paints. The result: a world full of emotions, feminine and strong at the same time, a circle of beauties with seductive eyes, enwrapped in alluring mysteries waiting to be explored. If you happen to be in Cyprus this weekend you have to visit Stella’s exhibition and let your heart be charmed by her wonderful paintings.  Friday 8th to Sunday 10th of April at MS Viewpoint Studios in Nicosia. (Check below last picture for details on venue and timings). Continue reading “Art Exhibition: I paint what I feel, I feel what I paint”

VIVA icflix !!!

Do you enjoy watching movies? Do you have a favorite show which you wouldn’t miss at any cost? Are you a  Bollywood fan or a Jazwood enthusiast? Well, I have good news for all of you!

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VIVA Bahrain, the Kingdom’s most innovative telecom provider, has partnered with icflix, the Middle East and North Africa’s leading online streaming service, to bring us the ultimate digital experience: access to unlimited premium movies, TV shows, cartoons and documentaries, from literally ANYWHERE and for only 3 BD per month!
Yes, you read right. 3 BD per month! That’s even less than the cost of ONE ticket to cinema! Plus, with your icflix subscription you can be granted access on up to FIVE different devices! mmm.. that means like getting… five tickets for the price of one for as many movies, shows, cartoons you wish in a month!
If you are a VIVA user like myself, here’s how you can grab this amazing offer:
You’re all set!
Once your subscription is activated, you will be granted immediate access to a wide selection of Jazwood, Hollywood and Bollywood content as well as to kids’ award winning programs which can be played on up to five assigned devices, so you can watch your favorite movies or shows from your smartphone, tablet, computer or smart TV anytime, anywhere. Arabic, French and English audio or subtitles are available on option so you can get the most out of your  icflix  subscription. The 3 BD fee is charged directly on your post-paid bill or prepaid credit with VIVA so you can enjoy watching without worrying about anything, plus your first month is FREE!!
So what are you waiting for? Go for it as I did! My kids already watch their favorite show from their iPads and they love it!
VIVA icflix!

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#ootd: Geometry Patterns

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In the mood for celebrating our friend’s birthday. I even sang “Happy birthday mr. President” for the birthday boy 🙂

And since I received tons of questions about my outfit, here it is: Dress by Juicy Couture. Showstopper heels by Taylor Says. Rose gold bracelet made by me and my fitness tracker (I will be writing about in another post): Misfit Shine.

As for the amazing Taylor Says heels for which I have written in the past, here’s some of my favorite pairs out of her new collection:

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Fire Cracker – $179.99
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Jubilee – $119.99
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Decklan – $149.99

With their buy one, get one 50% off offer and free international shipping I dare you to just walk away!

I’m sure you won’t let this chance… walk by.

Operation: Clean Closet

This morning I decided it was about time. Having been away from home for more than three months my closet was seriously messy. I felt embarrassed by just looking at it especially since quite often I am asked to organize other people’s closets. But usually this is what happens: you do other people’s closets and you finally end up not having the time to organize your own..

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This is just one fourth of my wardrobe, mainly everyday clothes. But still a lot of these clothes have not been worn and their tags are just hanging screaming: “Wear Me! Wear Me!” What a shame…
So I was sitting and watching all these labels and decided I should do something about it. I should start wearing these clothes, don’t you think? And even though I believe there exist more than enough OOTD columns out there, I thought I could be doing something useful to my readers: offer them some inspiration.
But first I will have to give this wardrobe a good shuffle.
Now, if you want to make over your closets visit Real Simple and get the inspiration you need to help you kickstart your project. Or you could simply call me in to help!
So there you go, soon I will be posting photos of my outfits. Pay attention!!!

Lilliputians vs Giants

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Families lined up in front of the check-in counters, waiting – not so patiently – for their tickets; it seems that the flight will be full… of kids. “Here are your boarding passes sir” says the lady behind the desk, in the Emirates uniform; “you may now proceed to the security control”. -“Dad, can I hold mine?” a little boy asks… Yes, we are on our way for a trip unlike any others; a trip to a place where children’s creativity is about to unfold and tested in real life situations.

I admit it, I was really nervous before getting on board and not because I have aerophobia, my “fear” had to do with our destination. Being a mother of two who loves her kids and enjoys spending time with them but at the same time hates in-door kids’ play parks where children shout and make a fuss, I thought that entering this kids’ paradise and staying with them for a couple of hours, would be living my hell… Well this time it wasn’t the case.

Kidzania, a kids’ indoor role-playing park, situated in Dubai mall is a two-storey micrograph of a town, a city designed and built on a small scale, which has nothing to envy from a grown-ups town. Its residents, the Kidzanians, have their own government, their own facilities, their own shopping outlets and of course their own currency.

Passing the security control off we get in. Our first stop: HSBC bank where kids can cash in their cheques in the town’s official currency: the kidzos. Adults can escort the younger children but are not supposed to enter the little shops and organizations, which left me and my husband like many other parents drooling outside the glass windows of the toy-size premises trying to sneak on the kids’ facial expressions to feel the same level of excitement that they did while they were engaged in the activities.

Since we got our money (or was it their money?), it was time for some earning or spending! Whereas boys are putting up their sleeves to get their hands busy on their first jobs (for which they are paid for), the girls are much more prone into spending their money in the Beauty Salon, buying groceries from Waitrose or making their own bracelets in the Jewellery Shop (typical women’s behavior a man could admit).

Being dragged by my kids towards the Flight Simulator Center we stop and stand aside on the pavement hearing the sound of sirens: the fire truck full of fire(little)men are on their mission to put off a fire close to town’s main square. Next to us a little fellow holding a TNT package is looking at his watch worrying he might be late for the package delivery.

After successfully completing his flight simulator course and being assigned his first flight, my son moves on to his new adventure: He wants to participate in a car race at Kidzania’s racing track, but to do so, first he needs to go to the Ministry of Transportation to issue his driving license and complete his driving skills’ test.

Meanwhile, on the other side of the town, my daughter is hired as a fashion model and after all the dress and make up she’s ready to strike a pose on camera. As for the fashion show that is scheduled for later in the day, she will have to learn how to walk as a model on the catwalk.

The clock strikes twelve and happy songs are heard from the Theater’s auditorium – balcony: Young performers freshly graduated from the Acting Academy are singing and dancing in front of the Kidzania’s Eternal Spirit Monument. The show is broadcasted live on the Kidzania television station and reporters are after the spectators for a statement on their impressions. The show was the lead story on Kidzania’s newspaper too as a major event.

Up and down, in and out we spent more than four hours in the amazing little town until the kids started feeling exhausted. Eventually they worked really hard: in these four hours they became pilots, television presenters, radio broadcasters, doctors, policemen, firemen, fashion models, construction workers, teachers, shoppers, cooks and still they hadn’t visited all of the places in the town. But the best part was that even we, their parents, despite the fact that we weren’t actively participating, we had an amazing time with our kids so that we didn’t feel the time fly by.

With the no-kids-zone movement on the rise in many parts of the world, Kidzania might the answer to all those who encourage the “brat ban”. Malaysia Airlines has banned babies from many of their first class cabins urging other major airlines to do the same. Restaurants, hotel resorts, movie theaters, and even outdoor areas in compounds are turning into child-free zones. Whereas I don’t believe kids should necessarily follow their parents everywhere, this new type of racism towards the Lilliputian citizens of the world if given bigger dimensions, could actually point straight to their parents isolating them and classifying them as lower class citizens.

I will never forget my experience at Tilly’s (not a pub, not a first class restaurant, but a simple coffee-shop in the Jawad Dome Bahrain) one very hot summer noon few years ago, when having to wait in the area for an hour with my then two and a half years old, I stopped by for us to get a refreshment. Even if the coffee shop was completely empty and my daughter is a sweet well-behaved little girl, we were kicked out by the waitress who claimed their no-kids-zone policy. Needless to say I never visited the shop ever since as a matter of principle. But I admit, it was a huge relief for me when, as a retaliation, I threw a coin in the Kidzania’s Independence Fountain….

Dubai: “What do you want to be today”?

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Written on the Kidzania’s (a children’s role-play park in Dubai Mall) map and leaflet, this simple question “What do you want to be today?” reflecting hospitality could be asked not only to the minor guests of the specific kids’ place but to all who visit Dubai. Well, Dubai is actually a big play park for adults.

Every time, in every visit, Dubai looks and feels different, the result of an allegro paced growth that seems untouched by the financial crisis that hit the Emirate not that long ago. They might have appeared losers in the short run and they might have been accused by their adversaries for being foolishly pride or taking hasty steps; but it seems that they are now cashing in their well developed plans: tourists from all over the world pour in to experience this blend of European cosmopolitan air with Middle Eastern exotic scent; a man-made paradise which smells like the interior of a brand new luxury car. Visitors can find literally everything and “play” according to their moods or tastes changing from one day to the other, as Dubai offers a variety of activities that satisfy even the most demanding guests.

Turning a “dry” land into a touristic “oasis”

Glazing Dubai from high above, while the airplane is about to land, it is amazing how beautiful it looks, with the imposing Burj Khalifa, the world’ s tallest building in its center, so tall one might fear the aircraft’s belly will scratch its top during descend. This unique panoramic view is the result of a simple vision.

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Dubai’s ruler had a vision and a vision is just a bet. Actually it is even worse than a bet, as quite often visions are against winning odds, something which in the eyes of the common mortal makes the visionary look like a big gambler. So where did this gamble lead the once upon a time dry place? To the creation of not just a superficial show-off city but to the foundation and settlement of an infrastructure to support the glowing image, thus the amazing airport (one of the busiest in the world), the introduction of a complete scheme of public transportation including the new metro rail, road and water buses and taxis, the establishment of Media City, amazing hotels and huge shopping malls (among them the world’s 7th biggest Dubai Mall), all making the experience of visiting Dubai very pleasant. It is not called “Paris of the Middle East” for nothing.

On the other side, the elevated Jumeirah Palm monorail, reportedly the first of its kind in the Middle East, connect Dubai’s Gate towers to Atlantis hotel resort and Aquaventure Park, another architectural wonderland for adults and kids. With guestrooms literally submerged in the huge aquarium situated in the center, and a reception hall where people are delighted in the view of a simulation of the ocean, the resort is an example of a great antithesis: the serenity of the deep sea contrary to the excitement offered in the aqua-park.

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But the aquatic experience doesn’t stop in Atlantis. One of the world’s largest aquarium tanks is situated in the heart of Dubai Mall featuring the world’s largest viewing panel. The visitors line up to get tickets in between their shopping frenzy breaks to see up close more than 85 species in the underwater zoo.

Dubai’s marvels include the first in-door ski resort in the Middle East: Ski Dubai in the Mall of the Emirates is yet another proof that nothing is impossible for a visionary: a snow park in the heart of a desert.

Opposed to such up growth of a “futuristic” nature goes the speculation that Emirati nationals might lose their identity. With more foreigners visiting and living in Dubai the mixing of cultures might threat the core elements that synthesize the Emirati’s values and beliefs system. The initiative by Ali Alsaloom, an Emirati entrepreneur and communicator tends to bridge the gap between the Middle East and the wider world. His website www.askali.com is a valuable source of information both for visitors and expats living in the UAE.

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Ali had realized there was not sufficient or accurate information on the web about Emirati culture when he envisioned his now successful website. He initially drew on a piece of paper his action plan. Today he’s thought to act as a cultural ambassador; he’s celebrity starring in a television series, hosting radio shows, publishing his Ask-Ali Guide books that disappear from the bookstore shelves, with the only aim to educate people of the customs and ethics of the UAE tradition.

Ali’s vision came into light the same way that Dubai’s vision did: with strategic planning and years of hard work to achieve and complete the picture that only started as an idea in a visionary’s mind. Dubai conception for the future might have been a one night’s dream but turning this dream into a reality was nor easy or quick, even if since the 1990’s I was hearing stories of family and friends who had visited the all sandy place that would turn into miles of concrete by the very next morning, to their amazement.

“Hellooo! Bahrain, wake-up, I’m calling you, What do you want to be tomorrow?”