New Faces of Arabia.com

shereen shabnam

Wadih Al Najjar, Shereen Mitwali and Mostafa Kamel at the roundtable I attended.

There are very few people I give my time to in Dubai so when I heard two of the friendliest faces in Dubai (Wadih and Shereen) last week got selected as the faces of Arabia.com, I was delighted for them and went for the roundtable that announced their appointment. I have known Wadih Al Najjar for over eight years and Shereen Mitwali for about two years and both their positive energies always rubs off on me each time I meet with them. They are certainly the perfect choice to be in the forefront for Arabia.com.

Both Shereen and Wadih were presented officially by Mostafa Kamel, Managing Director of LINKonLINE. Below are snippets of his speech from the event:

I would like to welcome you all to the Arabia.com Press Conference to share with you our latest activities and achievements, particularly since we revamped our pages and restructured our website, as well as imminent plans in early 2014.

Arabia went through major changes throughout 2013, as I’m sure you’ve all noticed. We rebranded, redesigned our site, and refocused our attentions.

As part of always offering the latest and the best, Arabia.com reinvented itself to give you more of the things you’ve always loved about it in a better package. With the re-launch of Arabia.com as a touch friendly, highly socially integrated page, there’s more to the whole experience and the new look and feel comes with a host of additional features we’re sure our visitors will love.

Since the revamp, our numbers have shot up: from an average of 5 million page views a month in the first quarter of 2013 to an average of over 12 million in the second quarter, increasing substantially every month. With almost 1 million unique visitors monthly, increasing at an average of almost 20% a month, and with a bounce rate of lower than -5%, we’re on the right track, socially and regionally.

We were the first in the region to launch a new gamification-based loyalty program, where users can win gifts by simply being on our website. This gave our users more incentive to engage with our content, participate in competitions, and spend time on the website, also building stronger relationships with them, with continuous connectivity between us.

We also came up with a brand new initiative you will not find on any other website in the region, for our users to see what is happening around us. Galleries and photographs are a huge slice of what Internet users browse in their free time. For the longest time, our main gallery images were collated and compiled by us, but we found that we could give our users a system that was more real-time, more personal, and more diverse. So we came up with something completely different: we decided to let the people you wanted to see tell you what they’re doing instead.

We created a system that wraps around your favourite people’s Instagram accounts, with hashtag search abilities, as well as user accounts. This brings the greatest bits of leisurely entertainment right to every page of Arabia.com, since we have made Arabia Now accessible holistically, and therefore you’re always in touch with what’s happening, with real-time updates, comprehensive diversity, and a very personal insight into what’s happening and where.

We didn’t just bring the celebrities’ Instagrams to our pages, we brought some of the celebrities too: we asked highly renowned icon Shereen Mitwali and celebrity photographer and socialite Wadih El Najjar to join us and give us their take on the world through our Faces of Arabia section. Both Shereen and Wadih have a remarkable track record of being closely in tune with the heartbeat of Arab society, so they will not only be the faces but the voices and minds of Arabia.

They will bring the very best of the Arab world to the rest of the globe, while helping our regional audience to discover fascinating gems of our ever-evolving lifestyles. As a highly proactive and responsive portal, the contributors will regularly respond to readers’ feedback while creating eye-opening and mind-opening articles that inspire the Arab world to see itself with new eyes. They’re more than just a face, to us: they’re part of our family and we came together with them to help improve the work we do in terms of our content.

Basically, we’ve redesigned based on what we know matters to our users.

This personal engagement has clearly been the right thing to do. Our Facebook fans attest to it. Over a short period of time, we’ve built a large online following of users in the region, reaching close to 600,000 fans, we’ve created a talking and meeting point out of our blue and white page.

With 450,000 likes from the GCC alone ranking it as one of the pages with the largest concentration of regional users, Arabia.com is a fast growing presence on Facebook. These users share and interact with our content, giving it a reach of almost 4 million users in the GCC countries. Arabia.com’s Facebook page is ranked in the top ten in the region. This degree of social interaction is unprecedented in our region, and we work hard to maintain the relationships we build with our readers: we pay attention to what they say, and we act on it.

From over 100 million Google searches per day in the region, 54% of them are in Arabic, so there clearly is a huge market out there that is looking for content in their native language. It is our job to provide them with this material and ensure that we design for an Arabic readership, not with the Arabic readership as an afterthought.

From the gamification systems that we’ve put into place to the various touch points and the refreshed design, and especially our social integration, we plan on branching out to give our visitors access to everything they need and truly become their news and information portal online.

We’ll be doing even more in 2014: developing our Sports channel, especially with the upcoming World Cup; growing our Women channel, giving entertainment, fashion, beauty, and lifestyle more depth and richness than ever before; remaking our Automotive channel, from the ground up, not just cosmetically; building on our Travel channel, to add more usability, flexibility, and deals to it all.

Last year was big. This year is even bigger….

We certainly know that Wadih and Shereen will add loads of additional value to an already successful Arabia.com.

Kid’s Knowledge Event celebrated at the Bahrain Science Centre

BSC SHereen Shabnam

The Bahrain Science Centre, part of the Ministry of Social Development, will host several exciting events organized together with the British Council as part of their ‘Kid’s Knowledge Event’ on 23 and 24 January 2014

A real Red London Bus converted into a children’s library will be parked behind the Science Centre and will host reading and literacy events. A large tent next to the Big Red Bus will host a variety of interactive educational activities including giant puzzles and floor games. 

Inside the Bahrain Science Centre visitors will be able to participate in a Treasure Hunt throughout the exhibition galleries and laboratories of the Science Centre and special interactive storytelling session on the ‘History of Flight’ will be presented in the Auditorium, and guided tours will be offered to all the galleries.

Interested visitors can download the weekly programme on the website www.bahrainsciencecentre.com for more information. The Bahrain Science Centre is located in Building 334, Road 109, Block 801, Riyadh Avenue, Isa Town, Kingdom of Bahrain and can be contacted on 17686466 for booking 

Peppermill opens at Eastern Mangroves, Abu Dhabi

Opening of Peppermill by MA YusuffAli of EMKE Group

Peppermill Restaurant, a colonial Indian dining concept that contemporizes the traditional cuisines of different parts of India for global broad audience appeal is opening its third restaurant at the Eastern Mangroves, Abu Dhabi.

The menu features a feast of the sub continent’s favourite dishes prepared by using fresh ingredients and traditional spices and served in a warm distinctive ambience within a rich, opulent and elegant setting that is ideal for intimate and private gatherings as patrons enjoy light background music.

Ms. Shafeena YusuffAli, the dynamic entrepreneur who is the CEO of Tablez Food Company, said, “Although the Peppermill menu has a myriad of influences, it is firmly and proudly rooted in Indian heritage and its cooking methods. We have successfully achieved our culinary vision by marrying the rich indigenous traditions of the past with the flavours of the present which will be evident to our patrons at the Eastern Mangroves restaurant.”

Peppermill’s quintessentially authentic meals are a delight for the eyes, nose and the palate and can also be enjoyed in private dining rooms. The Peppermill at Eastern Mangroves can accommodate up to 100 patrons at a time.

DIMENTION – Artworks by Ndue Pepa opens in Abu Dhabi

Shereen Shabnam Pepa Ndue

Couple of days ago I was able to meet and chat with well-known Albanian artist, Ndue Pepa during his 3 days visit to UAE. Pepa is represented in the UAE by Artissima Gallery and is showcasing his art collection ‘Dimension’ at the Dusit Thani Abu Dhabi until the 20th of February, 2014.

Born in Albania, Ndue Pepa’s art techniques are based on Albanian traditions that he has modernized with his unique artistic style. After exhibiting in Albania and Italy, art enthusiasts in the UAE will get a chance to view his work in Abu Dhabi.

Artissima _Pepa_ Shereen Shabnam

Ndue Pepa practices the philosophy of stylistic deformity through his eye retina photographs, which resembles the circle rotation spiral in a new stage and in a round cycle more advanced in time.

The paintings of artist Ndue Pepa is appreciated in many countries and have become part of art collections by followers of his style of work. The strength of Ndue Pepa lies in the use of rich vibrant colours that are expressive and composed fluidly in dynamic geometric movements that are energetic and celebrates both the creativity of the past and present.

Science for a better life

Bayer exhibition Shereen Shabnam

Couple of days ago I was super lucky to see the award-winning exhibition ‘Bayer: Science For A Better Life’  in Dubai, as part of a world tour celebrating Bayer, the world-class innovation company’s 150th anniversary, offering a hands-on interactive exhibition.

Held at The Dubai Mall’s Star Atrium, ‘Bayer: Science For A Better Life’ provides visitors with a chance to discover, interact, and engage with the latest innovations in healthcare, agriculture, and high-performance materials that help improve the quality of life of people, animals, and plants worldwide.

The exhibition is educative and entertaining, and features microscopes, thermal imaging cameras, digital games, and more, all specifically designed to be touched and tried out encouraging visitors to learn and have fun. 

The exhibition had 22 approximately two-meter high boxes with capital letters, each of which refers to a Bayer topic, from A for Aspirin to E for Energy-efficient Mobility and R for Rice. Each box contains images and informational text on the scientific background and social aspects of the topic. Numerous interactive elements are available for visitors to test. Together, the boxes spell out Bayer’s mission: ‘Science For A Better Life’.

 

Oros sure does smell nice

Oros.Pour.Femme Shereen Shabnam

Little diva and I are currently trying out a new fragrance from Oros, the high-end French fragrance brand. Oros, which means ‘Gold’ in Spanish, have used natural oils for a long-lasting scent and hand-decorated bottles with Swarovski elements – I have tried it for 2 weeks now and am loving it.

Oros pour femme for women is encased in handcrafted bottles with a dozen crystals that connote persona and sophistication for each month throughout the year, while the Swarovski stud on the cap imparts opulence as it’s the crowning glory.

Oros Pour Femme, is presented in a sleek graceful clear glass bottle. The scent is described as elegant, provocative and free-spirited, full of passion and emotion.

The scent combines floral elements with the glamorous sensuality of an Oros woman. It opens to sparkling notes of bergamot, pear and lily and reveals a sensuous floral combination of ylang-ylang, absolute tuberose and absolute jasmine. The dry-down of the scent combines white musk, patchouli and amber….it’s real nice!

MET Opera – Verdi’s Falstaff

I guess the whole world knows by now that I live with a little diva who is absolutely crazy about MET Opera and gets fully immersed in the story line and emotions that the brilliant actors of MET Opera portray.

The exciting news is that Meydan IMAX Theatre is presenting the MET Opera’s 4th installment: Verdi’s brilliant final masterpiece Falstaff has its first new Met production in nearly 50 years, conducted by James Levine and directed by Robert Carsen.

Ambrogio Maestri sings the iconic basso buffo role of Sir John Falstaff, the boorish, blustery character originally seen in Shakespeare’s Henry IV and Merry Wives of Windsor.Angela Meade is Alice Ford, one of many objects of Falstaff’s affection, and Stephanie Blythe is the sharp-tongued Mistress Quickly in a cast that also includes Lisette Oropesa as Nannetta, Jennifer Johnson Cano as Meg Page, Paolo Fanale in his Met debut as Fenton, and Franco Vassallo as Ford.

The International Herald Tribune praised Carsen’s staging, first seen at the Royal Opera, Covent Garden, as a “production of eye-catching ingenuity.”

Hope to see you there – even though it’s a school night, Little diva is already jumping up and down in preparation of yet another immersive Opera evening at Meydan IMAX.

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Sound of Music workshops in Bahrain

Sound of Music Shereen Shabnam

Bahrain Science Centre continues to amaze the visitors with its Sound of Music workshops which introduces the audience to the basic concepts and science behind sounds and music. The goal is to illustrate, using enjoyable games and experiments, terms such as sound wave, wave length, frequency, and pitch to the audience in a both interactive and comprehensible manner.

By the end of this workshop, participants should be able to differentiate between different forms of sound (i.e. Noise, music) and types of waves. They will also understand how the human ear functions in addition to identifying how different musical instruments produce different sorts of sound waves.

Interested visitors can download the weekly programme on the website www.bahrainsciencecentre.com for more information. The Bahrain Science Centre is located in Building 334, Road 109, Block 801, Riyadh Avenue, Isa Town, Kingdom of Bahrain.

February Offers from The Address Dubai Mall

 Ever since I moved near Downtown Dubai, I’m amazed at the number of places I can indulge in the best food one can find in the region. Apart from walking across to City Walk, another venue close by, The Address Dubai Mall has some awesome offers this February:

Cabana Brunch

KARAT

Karat Tapas Evenings: Soulful and Spirited Sumptuous and Spanish,

Celebrate the Andalusian spirit with tapas and virgin sangria that inspire the palate and lift the soul. Join us every evening at Karat, as we come alive to the sights, sounds and tastes of Spain.

Venue: Karat

Day: Daily

Time: 7 pm to 11 pm

Price: AED 85 with including unlimited homemade virgin Sangria.

For reservations, please contact + 971 4 438 8888 or email dine.dubaimall@theaddress.com

 

CABANA

Mesmerizing Friday Brunch with delectable views.

Experience an Al Fresco BBQ Brunch with breathtaking views of the Burj Khalifa. Our sumptuous Brunch, perfectly styled for sharing with family and friends. Savour our signature dishes from global tapas to freshly grilled seafood and prime cuts, and specially blended tropical beverages to please every taste.

Venue: Cabana

Day: Every Friday

Time: 12.30 pm to 4 pm

Price      AED 225 per person with soft beverages

AED 335 per person with selected beverages

For reservations, please contact + 971 4 888 3444 or email dine@theaddress.com

Savour Latin Passion at Cabana Churrasco Night

Try our fiery Churrasco fiesta feast, serenaded by Latin guitar at this exclusive poolside restaurant, every Thursday night. Sample the unlimited skewers of succulent beef, lamb and poultry, sizzled to perfection and carved ‘rodizio-style’ at your table.

Venue: Cabana

Day: Every Thursday

Time: 7.30 pm to 11 pm

Price      : AED 210 per person with soft beverages

AED 300 per person with selected beverages

For reservations, please contact + 971 4 888 3444 or email dine@theaddress.com

Cabana valentine Shereen Shabnam

THE TASTE OF ROMANCE IN A CABANA

Relish your love story in a private cabana with elegant décor, where you can feast on an exceptional six-course tasting menu. This special experience is a superb choice for Valentine’s Day that combines privacy, a unique setting and wonderful cuisine.

Venue: Cabana

Day: Friday 14th February 2014,

Time: 7.30 pm until 11 pm

For reservations, please contact + 971 4 888 3444 or email dine@theaddress.com

NA3NA3

Enjoy our Stylish Friday Brunch

Indulge yourself every Friday with Arabic and International specialties. Arabic Chef de Cuisine Hanna Dib leads you through a culinary journey where you can explore original recipes of the region as well as International dishes. Experience the vibrancy and excitement of seeing our chefs prepare your dishes at the open plan kitchen in this sophisticated and modern setting.

Venue: Na3Na3

Day: Every Friday

Time: 12.30 pm to 4 pm

Price      AED 210 per person with soft beverages

AED 295 per person with selected beverages

For reservations, please contact + 971 4 888 3444 or email dine@theaddress.com

Na3Na3 Hosts Seafood Nights Every Thursday

Dive into Seafood extravagance at Na3Na3. Delicacies served at the outlet include spicy gazpacho to lobster tail and tiger prawn. This buffet is a lavish start to the weekend.

Venue: Na3Na3

Date: Every Thursday

Time: 7 to 11pm

Price:  AED 210 including soft beverages; AED 265 including selected beverages

For reservations, please dial 8883444 or email dine@theaddress.com

Oriental Taste of Asia Night at Na3Na3

Indulge in the delicious and authentic taste of Asian food with contemporary delicacies that reflect a broad diversity of flavours and cultures. Mark ‘Asia Night’ at Na3Na3 with a buffet boasting live stations, salads, appetisers, and dessert stalls, from Malaysia, Thailand, Singapore, Indonesia, Vietnam, Japan, and India, to complete your dining experience.

Venue: Na3Na3

Date: Every Friday

Time: 7pm to 11pm

Price: AED 210 including soft beverages; AED 265 including selected beverages

For reservations, please dial 8883444 or email dine@theaddress.com

 

MADELEINE

Aprés Midi: The Perfect Time for a Stylish Slice of Café Society at Madeleine Café and Boulangerie

Experience the joie de vivre of France right here in Dubai. Delicious pastries freshly made for you to enjoy with your choice of juice, hot or soft beverages. Now you don’t have to travel far for the fine French patisserie.

Venue: Madeleine Café & Boulangerie

Date: Everyday

Time: 2pm to 6pm

Price: AED 120 for two people with soft beverage

For reservations, please contact 04 438 4335 or email infomadeleinecafe@emaar.ae

Mystic Dreams from THE ONE

THE One Shereen Shabnam

Decidedly dramatic and darkly romantic, THE One’s Mystic Mélange boudoir look is the stuff that dreams are made of. Combining raven black, gorgeous gold and mystical purple hues with rich velvets, mixed patterns and Oriental touches, it oozes gothic glamour….a bit like what I would like my room to be.

To recreate this magically moody bedroom scene, set the stage for drama and romance with deep purple paisley wallpaper, before introducing the star of the show: a stunning gold velvet upholstered bed, dressed to the nines in charcoal, plum and beige. Accessorize with  luxurious satiny bedspreads in old gold and black and a pair of dog cushion covers, for a playful touch. Next up are the supporting acts in the form of strikingly graphic monochrome statement pieces like a handcrafted bone inlay side table and chest of drawers in addition to an upholstered box stool at the foot of the bed.

Finish dressing the set with an eclectic assortment of props ranging from a French Baroque-inspired table chandelier and weathered sunburst mirror, to a jet-black Chinese ginger jar, bejewelled perfume bottles and a gothic candlestick. Throw in an ornate crystal ball and you’re all set to drift off in style. Who knows where your dreams may take you?

The awesome team at THE ONE have put together a list of items you need to recreate the perfect boudoir:

Get the Look:

JAGGER gold velvet bed 180x200cm

DABKA bedspread 230x250cm

THIERRY Poncelet10 cushion cover 45×45

BOX stool 170x40cm

KANOR side table d50cm

KANOR 5-drawer chest

MILANO table lamp h74cm

SCENIC black ginger jar h64cm

FILIGREE picture frame 20X25CM

ROYAL candlestick h49cm

CRYSTAL ball deco h24cm

BURST mirror

Shereen Shabnam KANOR chest