Jeddah Blog

Discover the best of Jeddah!

Saudiaat exhibition at Rochan Gallery

Rochan Gallery invites you to (SAUDIAAT) exhibition

At Rochan Gallery
Jeddah Tahlia St. opposite Al Remal Sands Hotel .
From 7th-17th April 2012

For any inquiries

A State of Lemonade

Strawberries and cream. Apple and cinnamon. Macaroni and cheese. We all know that these are all spectacular combinations, and we now present to you another potentially awesome collaboration; Sotra and Lace.

Sotra boutique is holding a collaborative event with local talent Lace Events and they enthusiastically promise an evening of fun and lemonade. We challenge you to resist this particular temptation!

The Summer Fest titled ‘A State of Lemonade’ will be held on Sunday, 25th March 2012 from 6pm-11pm at Sotra boutique in the Ana Special Mall, aka Ana Ghair. Among an ambience of modern vintage with a touch of feminine elegance, visitors will sample some tasty summer treats, drink lemonade and be able to browse through the latest Sotra collection. To top it all, each visitor will go home with Peony flowers from Lace and lace bow-tie brooches with pastel coloured trims by Sotra as gifts.

In a nutshell:

Event: A State of Lemonade (RSVP at their facebook event page)
Date: Sunday, 25th March 2012
Time: 6pm-11pm
Location: Ana Special Mall, Prince Sultan St.
Contact: 6915082, 05069710559

- Sabaa Ali

Chocolate Delight at The Lounge, Park Hyatt

A week-long chocolate fantasy at Park Hyatt. Starting tomorrow.

Chocolate Delight at Park Hyatt
The Lounge - 24th to 30th March 2012
4:00 pm – 11:00 pm

Picture from Park Hyatt’s website



Indulge in your sweetest fantasy with Felchlin chocolate and enjoy this finest experience of art to savor your fantasy with top chocolate experts from Switzerland, our pastry chefs and hundreds of chocolate lovers.
Felchlin chocolate dessert and one hot drink of your choice – SAR 65 net per person
Please call +966 2 263 9666 for more information

Park Hyatt Jeddah, Corniche Road
P.O.Box 5863, Jeddah 21432, Saudi Arabia
T: +966 2 263 9666

Interlude – a solo show by Raouf Rifai at Athr

The energetic Young Saudi Artists II closes and gives way to a solo show by a seasoned Lebanese artist, Raouf Rifai.

Raouf Rifai, a Lebanese artist born in 1954 has managed over the years to distinguish himself as one of the leading contemporary painters of today. He paints canvases that are born out of a compelling combination of figuration and abstraction that he achieves by saturating his canvases with colour and formal simplification. Instead of brush strokes, Rifai drips and rolls his paint, layering saturated surfaces with grids of wavering lines, creating compositions that tend toward the definition of a new visual language.

Like many artists, Rifai finds inspiration in his surroundings, but specifically, by the many issues that surround his community; “My art is always orientated towards humanity, it’s a natural response against the cruel circumstances of my society where I witness this reality on a daily basis”.

His work shifts between the worlds of reality and fantasy and are guided by emotion; “I like to work quickly, impulsively. My work is about emotions and the moment. Oil takes too long to dry. It makes me lose the feeling. So I work with acrylic”.

His solo exhibition ‘Interlude..’ includes works from Rifai’s two series Circus of Life and Darawish. Both series convey sarcasm, irony and surreal vision whilst using figures from Lebanese popular culture – Caracoz, Bahloul, Jeha, the Darwish and Akhwat Shanai; “My art is about my own perception of what’s occurring around me and my Middle Eastern community. The Middle East in its reality resembles a cricus, or a theatrical play, you have your heroes and villains, monsters and angels, as we as the brave and the coward”.

Darawichleaves us wondering whether he is commenting on the spiritual Sufi dervish or the darwish; the country peasant who time has left behind. The two series interact with each other as the darwish acts as the innocent observer, caught unawares by the dramatic happenings of the circus that the Middle East has become – with its animals, macho men and real-life clowns in all their variations – the sad, the weak and the cowardly.

The works are parodies that suggest that the Middle East has become a stage, replete with performers and audience, and that the unfolding events are nothing but a tragically amusing farcical interlude…

Picture and text reproduced from Athr Gallery’s invitation and copyrighted to them.

Monday 2nd of April

From 7.30pm to 9.30pm

Athr Gallery

What’s your art attitude in Jeddah?

Have you found your art groove in Jeddah yet? Now is as good a time as any to start thinking about it.

We all have a certain attitude towards art. We all live the experience of art in some way or the other and to some degree or the other. Some of us seek it by walking all the way to a gallery and regularly frequenting places designated for art. Some of us are convinced that we’re not ‘into art’ but have a good eye for color and aesthetics in general, and that might show in the way we do up our house, or the flair with which we attend to detail or naturally make an arrangement, be it with flowers, fabric or quite simply, a child’s lunchbox.  Whether we are conscious of it or not, a sense of beauty is inherent in us. We recognize and appreciate it despite ourselves, and we don’t need a certificate from the Slade School of Fine Art to know that we can enjoy art.

At this point in time, in the city of Jeddah, a variety of art forms and art experiences are available to those who’re interested. With the way this year started for Jeddah art-wise, this just might be the year and the moment to discover your art attitude. How much do you like to take in, and in what forms? It changes with every place we live in, and is fashioned by specifics of that place. In some cities, art is literally all around you, or places where you might find it are well-known and readily accessible. In some places, like Jeddah, the accessibility of art is uneven. There is public art on a scale and of a range which is uncommon to the rest of the world, round almost every bend. However, until very recently, specialized spaces for art were scanty and information about art events was not openly or timely diffused. This has changed, and art as an experience is on its way to becoming a part of popular culture. The sway of things calls for you to discover your art attitude.  I’m sharing mine here, and hope it’ll help you find yours in some way.

Read more…

Young Saudi Artists

Last two days of the exhibition. Drop by if you haven’t, and think about your art attitude while you’re at it.

What are young creative minds in Saudi Arabia thinking about? How different and how similar are they to young people from other countries? What does it mean to be a young Saudi today? Young Saudi Artists, in its second year this February, might show you the way towards an answer.

It was a year ago when I walked out of Young Saudi Artists 1 with the ‘feeling of having witnessed something that might change forever the way this region will come to be talked about’. I have learnt to trust my instinct since.  2012 might have started with echoes of foreboding and fear of endings for some, but for contemporary Saudi art, the year was literally a year of birth. Not so much a birth, perhaps, but a striking and unforgettable appearance on the scene. An entry with a bang.

Read more…

Bait Nasseef

Several of our readers took a stroll through Balad guided by some young Hejazi volunteers. It was a perfect Thursday afternoon, and the colourful group with people from different corners of the world snaked through the old heart of the city with their cameras. The visit ended with a climb up to the rooftop of Bait Nasseef, where the group settled down to rest their limbs and to exchange informal introductions. Some pictures of this last stop.

One of the seating areas on the way up. The windows look out on the city, and the warm sun and cool breeze both pour in abundantly.

Some views of the interior.



- Asif Mahmud

Eastern Culture Bazaar

An “EASTERN CULTURE BAZAAR” is being organized on Wednesday, 14th of March at the Sari Palms Compound, Jeddah from 4pm to 10:30pm for ladies only.

There will be stalls for dresses, jewelry, cosmetics, mehndi (henna) and a food court, ice cream and popcorn.

Tea and light refreshments will be served free of charge. There is no entry fee, and the organizers promise ‘surprising gifts’ to entrants.

Bring your children along (boys until 13 years) as there will be games and a play area.

For vendor bookings, please contact Afreem or Fariha on 0561455512 or 0560054905. Stalls are limited and reservations will be made on a first come first served basis.

Afreem and Fariha look forward to your participation in order to make this event a huge success.

Where: Sari Palms Compound, Sari St (near the Corniche)
When: 14th March 2012, from 4pm-10:30pm

See the location map for directions.

- Sabaa Ali

Quilt Show & Artisans Fair

The Quilting Arts Studio will be holding their annual Quilt Show on the 14th of March. Beautiful quilts will be on display, and for sale. Other features of the show will be:


Vendors with handmade items
A Cafe with home-baked goodies
Mini Quilt Tombola
Many prizes and a Raffle Quilt made by The Quilting Bees of Jeddah

What: Quilt Show & Artisans Fair
When: Wednesday, 14 March 2012
Where: The Quilting Arts Studio
Time: 11:00 A.M. – 8:00 P.M.

*Ladies Only*

- Sabaa Ali

Walking tour of Al-Balad

Our friend Alicia Ali invites you on a stroll through the historical quarter of Al-Balad.

Thursday, 15th March, 2012

At 1.30

It’s a free event, and is great for families. Children are welcome. It’s hosted by some young volunteers, and attempts to educate people about Hejazi heritage. Great occasion for photography enthusiasts to take pictures at leisure. Parents, great hands-on local culture education for kids.

Volunteer contact numbers


Details on facebook group here.


It’s the start of a brand new working week, and we present to you a review of recently opened Yogette sent in to us by Shamama, a fellow blogger and keen follower of Jeddah Blog. Shamama is an LSE graduate and has been teaching business related courses at various institutes of higher education for the past seven years. She is a long-time resident of Jeddah. Shamama says, “I’m really happy to be a part of the Jeddah Blog community. The updates on events are really interesting.”

Yogette is one of the latest frozen yoghurt cafes to make an appearance in Jeddah and Shamama was one of the first to visit the cafe and report back.

We were at Park Hyatt to see the Edge of Arabia art exhibition and decided to drop by Yogette, which is having their soft opening these days. Yogette emphasises that it uses all natural non-fat yoghurt. We decided to order a mango flavoured fro-yo but were told that they’d just run out, so went we went for plain fro-yo, with a topping of fresh raspberries, blueberries, and chunks of Cadbury’s Flake. (I will always associate Flake with ice cream, I’ve had my fair share of soft ice cream with a stick of Flake in London).

The fro-yo was just the right consistency, and not too sweet. The fresh fruit and chocolate added an interesting addition to texture and flavour. You are free to choose your own toppings. The number of toppings depends on the size of the fro-yo; the smallest size has four toppings to go with it. There are nuts, chocolates, and my favourite fresh berries and fruit to choose from. It is rare to find fresh raspberries or even blueberries, or blackberries here.

I ordered a blueberry flavoured bubble tea, and my Mum ordered a pineapple flavoured bubble tea. We were later informed that they had run out of pineapple. So we replaced it with kiwi flavoured bubble tea which was thankfully available.

The Blueberry Bubble Tea

We chose to sit outside as there was a wonderful breeze blowing, and the Jeddah Marina looked particularly serene from the terrace. The décor inside was white with a splash of neon colours and interactive tabletops. Seems like a tech-savvy teenager’s dream.

The Kiwi Bubble Tea

The bubble tea arrived. Mine was garnished with a blueberry and Mum’s with slice of kiwi respectively.  Bubble teas are of Far East Asian origin and can be chosen from a choice of black or green tea and additional fruit flavours. It is a type of iced tea and the term ‘bubble’ refers to the tapioca pearl balls that are at the bottom of the drink, and which provide a chewy contrast to the sweetness and texture of the drink.

The drink was served accompanied by an oversized straw to enable the tapioca pearl balls to fit in your straw. The tapioca balls are soft and unexpectedly squishy and chewy. The tea was just the right sweetness and had a great fresh tangy flavour. I suggest that everyone try Yogette’s bubble tea at least once, as it is a new experience when it comes to drinks in Jeddah, but you may want to wait until their soft opening is over, in order to be able to enjoy the full variety of flavours.

- Sabaa Ali

Flavour Me !

A fun competition for children and adults too, from Lay’s Saudi Arabia brought to our attention by ardent Jeddah Blog reader, Haris Ali, a Year 8 student at Jeddah Prep and Grammar School.

Lay’s is on the hunt for a new flavour and are giving away SR 1,000 every week.

Simply visit their site and enter your chosen flavour up to 3 times a day for a chance to be a winner. Winners are announced every week.

Good Luck !!!

- Sabaa Ali

Photography exhibition at the French Consulate

The  Cultural  Center of the French Consulate General in Jeddah is pleased  to invite you to  the opening of the exhibition of the photographer  Ayman Alwan

On Tuesday, February 28, 2012
At  07 : 00 pm  

Venue:  Cultural Department – Consulate General of France – Jeddah

Information :  0545040013

Ask Bee: What NOT to do While Shopping for Make-up in Jeddah

For the fairer sex, make-up shopping can be a bit of a dilemma in Jeddah for several reasons. There are no female sales persons, there isn’t a culture of giving out make-up samples, and generally customer service isn’t top notch. Add a ‘yet’ to all that. All these factors could lead to a situation where you end up deciding against your better judgment.  Our last query for Ask Bee was about make-up shopping. We told you that randomness isn’t a problem with Bee, and she’s tried her hand at everything from belly-dancing to website designing and everything in between. Turns out she has been struggling with make-up and make-up shopping issues herself.  In her dictionary, for this chapter, the pitfalls to avoid are more important than the rules to follow.  She is happy to share her list here, so that you can learn from her mistakes, and avoid walking around like the bride of Frankenstein like she did.

If you have any questions for Bee, send us a message at with the title Ask Bee.

About Bee

Bee is a 30 something mother, wife, corporate consultant and a bona fide prodigy in the art of shelling out unnecessary, unsolicited and often useless advice. The kind people at her office actually pay her for doing this on an hourly daily basis and she returns the kindness by making them lose sleep over random pointless issues. She currently lives in Jeddah, Saudi Arabia with her very sane husband (he takes after his mother) and her two not very sane children (they too take after their mother). Her own personal hell would be to have nothing to do with no-one paying her for pretending to have nothing to do. 

“Now my next frustration is about make-up. I still haven’t got it in my system to apply make-up except for special occasions. Now that I am in my early 30′s and I am applying for work, I would like to have a decent make-up kit (& more or less learn how to use it.. haha). In my home country, you just need to go to the department store and ask for a demo or consultation so you’ll know which ones works for you. Here there are no girls to do that for you and you just rely on samples dabbed on your hand. :(
Do you know of make-up stores which have this service? Or has an all female staff here in Jeddah?”
  Make-up Newbie

Even though I consider myself a veritable authority in all things Jeddah (or life in general), makeup is one area where till about one year ago I was ermm…not quite an authority. So what did I do? Did I go around looking like the bride of Frankenstein? Yes, and no. According to my last estimate, I have spent about 2,500 riyals on a total of 17 useless make-up products. I still have half-used bottles with me if anyone is interested. What these products gave me was a mix of pimples, burn marks (true story) and a lot of unnecessary attention from random people on the street. In order to save you from the same nightmare that I went through before I became make-up savvy, I am giving below my list of things NOT to do while shopping for makeup in Jeddah.



Create your own Bible for make-up shopping. once you master the do’s and, more importantly, the don’t’s, the whole experience can turn out to be not just joyful but very productive.

  1. DO NOT listen to the salesman: The last time I did that, he sold me an overpriced bottle of foundation that made me look like a cross between a sunburned transvestite and a plastic surgery victim. The sales man is there to do his job, but you are smart. DO NOT follow him no matter how persuasive he is, and  make your own logical decisions.
  1. DO NOT buy on a whim: sometimes when you enter a store, you see a gorgeous-looking woman staring at you from a poster, beckoning you to buy that magic potion which will make you look as photo-shopped as her. DON’T buy that stuff. She looks so great with a clever mix of graphic, forgiving camera angles, lighting and a dozen other products.

Keep your sense of reality intact when buying make-up. That thing on the wall is a poster. It is not real. Repeat that to yourself. A lot more than a simple product purchase went into the dazzling look of the model.  Just because the two things are physically close to each other, it doesn’t mean there is a logical connection between the two. Although they’re trying hard to dupe you into believing so.

  1. DO NOT buy without trying: Since Jeddah is this weird place that does not offer samples of makeup products; I have created a hack to get over this limitation. All you need to do is to leave your inhibitions at home and bring a pill container with you. Yes, those plastic pill containers with days of the week printed on top. These are great for taking small amounts of makeup especially foundation from makeup counters. Instead of squeezing out a drop on your fingertips, put 2 (or 4) in your container and write the brand and shade on the section. You can get at least 7 different samples that you can try at home and decide which one works best with your skin and lifestyle.

Unlikely saviours? Think practical, think effective, and work your way around obstacles. So what if make-up samples don’t exist here (yet)? Why not put empty pill containers to good use?

  1. DO NOT believe the packaging: The packaging is meant to MAKE you buy that uber expensive item. Be smart; don’t fall for this age-old trick.
  1. DO NOT try on your hand:  Makeup of any kind especially foundation, blushers and lipsticks don’t look the same when you put them on your hand. Carry a pack of wipes (to wipe the item and your face after usage) with you and try every item on your face to know how it will work with your complexion. Foundation is best matched when applied on your jaw line toward your chin and cheek. If it blends well there and looks like second skin, that is the right shade for you.

Whatever our mothers and their mothers might have believed about trying make-up on the hand, it’s useless. The face. That’s where the action is going to be, and that’s where you should be trying on your foundation shades. 

  1. DO NOT buy without reading reviews: This is my holy grail of makeup tips. I have made a commitment to myself to not spend a single penny unless I know how other people feel about it. For real people reviews, the following two sites are the best:  Makeup Alley and Makeup and Beauty Blog (mostly MAC product reviews but a great site for newbies too).
  1. DO NOT buy without knowing how to use it: I have a few pots of stuff that have their names in French (or Greek, I don’t really know the difference) and I have no clue what to do with them. I bought them because they looked pretty and I hoped they would make me look pretty too…if only I knew how to use them. Get my drift? Watch these two amazing women that I have learnt a lot from and you will have most of your questions answered. And if these two don’t use it, don’t bother buying it.

Let the gurus guide you: When someone is wiser than you, just concede it. These two women know more about make-up than most of us ever will, so just take their word for it.

If you would like to read past columns of Ask Bee, simply Google her or click on the ‘Ask Bee’ tag in the right-hand column of Jeddah Blog.

Snapshots of Jeddah

Saobia Ahmed is a 24 year old freelance photographer based in Jeddah. An avid reader of Jeddah Blog, she contacted us with some beautiful shots taken of locations in and around Jeddah.

Saobia was born in Karachi, Pakistan but has lived in Jeddah her whole life. She completed her Bachelors in Communication Design in Karachi, and this is where her love for photography started. “It started as a hobby,” Saobia explains, “and turned into a professional business.”

Past clients have been many, small emerging companies, and she was the official photographer for TOUS, the fashion brand for bags and jewellery. She has also covered a number of private events such as weddings and birthday parties.

I asked her what she liked about Jeddah Blog and she enthused, “For me, Jeddah Blog is an amazing way to wrap up the events and life about our beautiful city, Jeddah. It gives us a small tour about what’s happening and when. The people behind Jeddah Blog are doing an amazing job to keep us updated and I thank them personally for this work. I hope you do this for long and keep this blog running for good.”

Saobia can be contacted on

The Park Hyatt in the Al Hamra District, Jeddah.
“The picture was taken on a beautiful evening during the Football season in 2010.” – Soabia

A  typical small shop (baqala) on the Corniche in Jeddah
“Since my childhood I’ve always adored these small circular shops with loads and loads of things.” – Soabia

A random shot of the beach and a ship. Obhur, Jeddah.
- Sabaa Ali

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