Jeddah Blog

Discover the best of Jeddah!

Shahid Afridi in Jeddah!

Sporting fans will be excited to learn that cricket star Shahid Afridi is currently on a visit to Saudi Arabia to spot talent for the Saudi Cricket Center (SCC). We can reveal that the talent selection will be held in four cities across Saudi Arabia from 15th – 21st January 2013 (Jeddah, Yanbu, Riyadh and Dammam) and the talent hunt in Jeddah will be held on the 16th and 17th of January.

Rohail standing next to cricket superstar Shahid Afridi on his current visit to the Kingdom.

Enthuses Shahid Afridi: “I am very glad I will be able to perform an instrumental role in finding out the best cricket talent from all over the Kingdom”.

Rohail Khan, a senior banker with a keen interest in culture and philanthropy, is supporting the cricket talent promotion in consultation with Shahid Afridi as SCC Advisor. Rohail discloses to Jeddah Blog that other cricketing heroes and socialites will be engaged in the future to promote and develop cricket in Saudi Arabia.

“Developing a strong well-trained “Saudi National Cricket Team” will enhance the Kingdom’s international image and would be beneficial for Saudi and expatriate cricket players and cricket lovers,” asserts Rohail.

How To Register

All cricket players (residents of Saudi Arabia), regardless of age or nationality, from all cricket clubs and leagues (whether affiliated with SCC or not) are equally entitled to participate and compete for the selection. If you are interested in participating in the try-outs then register on this dedicated site.

Jeddah Blog wishes all the best to Rohail and the SCC on this excellent initiative, and will continue to keep you all informed on the progress made by the SCC. Be sure to check back with us regularly for updates.

A Tribute to the Father of Urdu

Rohail A. Khan Event Sponsor

Rohail A. Khan – Event Sponsor

Rohail A. Khan, senior banker and finance director, has been living in Saudi Arabia since 1993 and is developing communities through literature, culture and philanthropy. As chief guest of the memorial service of the Father of Urdu, Rohail Khan reports the success and conclusions of the event for Jeddah Blog.

For the first time in Saudi Arabia, a grand event was organized in the memory of Baba-e-Urdu (Father of Urdu), Dr. Moulvi Abdul Haq, to commemorate his 140th birthday and to propagate his message. Jeddah has rarely witnessed such extraordinary enthusiasm and exemplary love for Urdu.

Who was Baba-e-Urdu?

Baba-e-Urdu (1872-1961) was an acclaimed Urdu educator, writer, critic, linguist, lexicographer, editor, compiler, translator, etymologist, biographer and grammarian. He authored more than 20 books on these areas. Having realized the slow demise of the Persian language, Moulvi Abdul Haq devoted his entire life to making Urdu the primary language of the sub-continent and to placing it head-to-head with English and Arabic. He founded and managed Anjuman Taraqqi-e-Urdu, an organization dedicated to the promotion of Urdu language and literature, for 50 years pre-partition. During his migration in 1947, he carried 15,000 rare Urdu books from Delhi to Karachi. He was the moving spirit behind the establishment of the Osmania University in Hyderabad, Deccan, where Urdu is still one of the mediums of instruction. The world’s largest Urdu Translation Centre was established where rare Urdu books and Deccani manuscripts were translated and published. He was also instrumental in setting up the world’s first Islamia College for Women, Lahore in 1939, and Pakistan’s first Urdu College in Karachi (1949). He was the creator of the world’s largest Urdu-English Dictionary (1930) and in 1959 initiated the grand project of compiling a Modern Urdu Dictionary in 22 volumes. This project was completed three years ago under the Urdu Dictionary Board, Pakistan.


The Memorial Event

The memorial event was held at Lasani Restaurant on the evening of 21st November, 2012. The successful event had been organized by the Aalmi Urdu Markaz and welcomed more than 275 guests from all walks of life. Men, women and especially youngsters hailing from assorted nationalities all gathered together to commemorate Baba-e-Urdu’s 140th birthday. Multi-cultural community leaders, social workers, businessmen and literary figures added to the light of the event. The audience were treated to a four-hour literary discussions and poetic recitations and warmly applauded the proceedings.

A very diverse audience commemorating the 140th birthday of the Father of Urdu.

A very diverse audience commemorating the 140th birthday of the Father of Urdu.

The event took off with a short video containing a speech by Baba-e-Urdu and his life story with rare pictures, before the poetry recitals and literary discussions.

On stage from left: V.P. of Aalmi Urdu Markaz, Rohail A. Khan, Hon. Tahseem ul-Haq, President of Aalmi Urdu Markaz and poet Anwar Ansari with the Executive Team from Aalmi Urdu Markaz.

On stage from left: V.P. of Aalmi Urdu Markaz, Rohail A. Khan, Hon. Tahseem ul-Haq, President of Aalmi Urdu Markaz and poet Anwar Ansari with the Executive Team from Aalmi Urdu Markaz.

Chief Guest, Rohail Khan, shared his thoughts on Baba-e-Urdu with the organizers and participants, and offered practical suggestions to promote and protect Urdu.

“Architect and saviour of Urdu language and literature, Baba-e-Urdu, Dr. Moulvi Abdul Haq’s lifetime services to protect and promote Urdu are spread over 75 years. He proved a Prophet of Urdu and his message must be adequately propagated for the benefit of current and future generations. Le us not forget that Urdu, 4th largest language, is spoken by over 100 million people across 5 continents.”

7 Steps to Promote Urdu

Rohail A. Khan suggested seven projects to promote Urdu:

  1. Renew the Anjuman-e-Taraqqi-e-Urdu and propagate its mission across the globe by supporting tertiary local and international Urdu-serving institutions.
  2. Promote the importance of Urdu as a means to enhance our knowledge about Islam.
  3. Build the brand of Urdu world-wide through the proactive use of social media.
  4. Studying Baba-e-Urdu’s works and achievements and spreading his message by establishing Urdu faculties and research chairs at Ivy League Universities for the award of doctorate degrees on Urdu.
  5. Launch new Urdu periodicals, Urdu dictionaries and encyclopaedia.
  6. Identify and promote upcoming Urdu writers and poets.
  7. Launch “Urdu Academy International” as a global think-tank to incubate new ideas and projects to promote and protect Urdu.

The first goal is to launch the cause of making Urdu one of the official languages of Facebook. Rohail Khan can be reached at and on Facebook.

– compiled by Anousha Vakani

Massive Puma Competition – We Have a Winner! Tuesday we ran our exclusive Massive Puma Competition where we promised to give away a coveted Puma Collector’s Item to one lucky reader. We had lots of responses – thank you to all who participated.

This is the question we asked:

EvoSpeed collection was inspired by the fastest man in the world.

Who is he? 

a.) Tyson Gay
b.) Usain Bolt
c.) Nesta Carter

The answer was b.) Usain Bolt

Now coming to the results of the contest,

We used to choose a winner for us out of all the entries and this is what it came up with:

Our Puma Competition winner as selected by

Jeddah Blog Puma Competition winner as selected by


Nabiha, please get in touch with us so that we can arrange for your unique Puma Collector’s Item to be delivered to you.

To all the rest, stay tuned! – there will be more competitions and opportunities to win in the future.

Bronze Medal – Thank You !!!

We received the amazing news that Jeddah Blog was voted third in the Expat Blog Awards 2012 for Saudi Arabia. We are proudly displaying the bronze medal given to us (in the right-hand column) and want to say a big thank you to those of you who voted for us and left such amazing comments and reviews about our blog. We had a whopping 51 votes and comments, which is much, much more than most gold winners of other categories. We are also proud to say that we are the top blog from Jeddah; the first and second place were both bagged by Riyadh-based blogs. Also a big thank you to Expats Blog for hosting the awards.

Massive Puma Competition

A couple of weeks ago we announced that we’d be hosting a very exclusive competition at the Blog. There was much excitement and anticipation, and we are now finally able to give you the details. We are also thrilled that Jeddah Blog is the only blog in Jeddah to be given a chance to host this amazing contest!

We’re giving you, dear Reader, the chance to win a Puma Collector’s item! World’s leading sports retailer Puma is giving away a massive shoe from the Puma EvoSpeed collection. This was inspired by the fastest man in the world and is a groundbreaking collection that answers every athlete’s need for speed. This model (which is about 2 feet long) is 100% exclusive to the Middle East and not available for sale anywhere!
The shoe on the right is an adult shoe. The HUGE one on the left is the collector's item you can win!

The shoe on the right is an adult shoe. The HUGE one on the left is the collector’s item you can win!

To get your hands on it, follow these simple steps:
1. Follow this blog by clicking on the ‘Follow’ button to the right of this blog post.
2. Email your answer to the question below to
3. Leave a comment at the end of this post.
We mentioned that the EvoSpeed collection was inspired by the fastest man in the world. Who is he? 
a.) Tyson Gay
b.) Usain Bolt
c.) Nesta Carter
Please note: Participants must be living in Saudi Arabia and must be able to either provide a delivery address, or arrange pickup of the prize in Jeddah. The last date to get your entries in is Monday, 10th December 2012 and the winner will be chosen at random from all correct entries. The model of the shoe the winner will receive will be extremely similar, but may not be identical to the one in the photo as there are four different models in the collection.
Special thanks to Puma and to Razan Karim at Sticky Ginger.
The results are out. The winning name can be found here.

Book Vending Machines – a Novel Invention

All kinds of products are sold in vending machines, from umbrellas to vegetables, and ties to flowers.  At a recent visit to the Mall of Arabia, we stumbled upon a completely novel idea  – a book vending machine. It’s the first one we’ve seen in Jeddah, so we promptly set about taking pictures to share with you all.

The book vending machine standing to the left of Centrepoint.

The Logo.

Instructions on how to buy the books.

If you look very closely at the next photo, you might be able to spot our reflections in the glass.

Most of the books were in Arabic, but some were in English.

We think it’s a great idea. It makes books much more accessible, especially in a city where libraries are scarce. Which books would you like to see displayed in these literary stands?

CREAM – Meet the Style Specialists

As irresistible and luscious as its name, CREAM is a pleasure that is hard to resist. This exclusive outlet has well-established itself among fashionistas as a concept store – a  very selective, high-end lifestyle boutique that focuses on modernity and femininity.

CREAM specializes in style and is constantly in touch with the very latest catwalk designs. They are trendsetters, rather than followers of fashion. Jeddah Blog was lucky enough to score an exclusive interview with Dana Malhas, the driving force behind CREAM and we were able to delve a little into the idea behind setting up her own boutique, and what it is that inspires her.

What was the inspiration behind CREAM? Can you describe your journey towards setting up your own boutique?

When I graduated from the American University in Beirut and moved back to Jeddah, I noticed that there was a huge gap in the market for “up and coming designers”, the market was saturated with either high end brands like Gucci, Burberry, Armani..etc or low-end Brands like Zara, Bershka, Top Shop & so on. There was nothing in-between. I was 22 years old at that time, and like most girls, I was obsessed with fashion and everything related to it, especially styling & buying! So I decided to turn my passion into a business. I wanted to open a boutique where I can buy everything I like as I travel the world, style it the way I want, and fill in this gap in the market. I wanted to bring to Jeddah a lifestyle store where up and coming designers from all around the world meet, a boutique that has everything a girl needs, a place that has talented designers regardless of their age or nationality.. and CREAM Boutique in Beirut was the best candidate for that as it was my personal favourite boutique to shop in when I travel. So I brought it to Jeddah, expanded it majorly, started discovering new designers, and turned it into my fashion heaven. The best part is that I buy for my store, like I buy for my closet!

Vibrant Green mini-Clutch

Read more…

Expat Blog Awards 2012 – Please vote for us!

Expats Blog have announced their 2012 Expat Blog Awards and we at Jeddah Blog are very excited to be shortlisted as one of the contenders for the best Expats in Saudi Arabia Blog Award! The judging is based on public opinion, so YOU, dear reader, can leave a comment and give us a rating on our nomination page.

There are some other great blogs in the Saudi Arabia category like Under the Abaya, American Bedu, Blue Abaya, Imaged Event, Susie of Arabia and others – all worth checking out. Obviously, we would dearly love to win, and it is all down to you, so please do click on the badge above which will take you straight to our listing page. Write a line or two about us and give us a rating and we’ll be well on our way in this competition.

Thank you very much !!

Trochet: Turning Trash into Crafty Crochet

Jeddah is teeming with an incredible amount of creative talent, and it is always interesting to see that creativity turn into a larger community building effort. Earlier this month Anousha Vakani met with two very inspiring ladies, Diana Rayyan and Ishrat Khawja, who make up part of Jeddah’s creative brigade that has used art as a path to a better Jeddah.

Trash + Crochet = Trochet

Two years ago Diana Rayyan, the brains behind this initiative in Jeddah, was inspired by an awareness lecture that focused on the ill-effects of plastic on the environment. Initially, she did her bit by spreading the word on what she knew about plastics and the environment but was convinced that more could and should be done.

A Trochet work in progress.

After researching all possibilities she decided to launch a project that recycled plastic bags through crochet. She took it one step further and turned it into a charity initiative. The idea is to teach needy women how to crochet, to introduce them to the idea of recycling plastic and other materials through this art and to encourage them to earn an income in this way.

Diana explains that in the beginning people were (and some still are) sceptical that a product that is spun from what is essentially trash could be successful, many of them insisting that “trash is trash.” If anything, such an attitude only heightens the need for awareness and environmental projects in this society.

Ladies hard at work, but having a blast at the two-day pilot workshop.

The Trochet (trash + crochet) project was launched through the organization Ateeq which operates under the slogan of ‘mind to hand’. I found this slogan more than appropriate as Diana explained how Ishrat, “the creative guru”, eagerly agreed to translate Diana’s vision to substance through her crochet skills.

Ishrat Khawja is a blogger and crochet designer under her own brand Fruitful Fusion. She has been blogging about the challenges that come with crocheting with strips of plastic, and describes the pilot workshop that took place at the Rawaj Center, a part of Majid Society.The pilot workshop was a success in many ways, but as Ishrat explains, the community building aspect stood out most as “women from different backgrounds are brought together by a common language – the language being crochet terms”.

Diana agrees that the social aspect of this project is the most “spiritual”. She adds that “people have to remember that it’s not always about the end result, it is about the process.” It amazed her that pilot workshop was more of a “dialogue than a monologue” with the women enthusiastically throwing in their own thoughts and ideas.

Awareness ribbons made entirely out of recycled material; plastic bags and metal clothes hangers.

What amazed me most, however, was the amount of productivity that can be rolled into one project. Not only is this an incredible integration of art and the environment but its impact on society is far-reaching, with an increase in earning opportunities for needy women and an increased awareness of very pressing environmental issues.

The Trochet project is currently in need of volunteers to help and support the needy women, to teach crochet and to come up with suitable Trochet designs. Volunteers are also invited to come in and help with whatever they can, including the preparation of Trochet materials and packaging, because as they put it,“there is always something to do!”

An order for awareness ribbons, packed and ready to be delivered.

If you’re interested in volunteering or would like more details, email Diana or Ishrat at or, follow them on twitter at Ateeq and Fruitful Fusion and on Facebook at Ateeq and Fruitful Fusion.

Lectures on Persian kilims at Athr Gallery

Upcoming couple of lectures at Athr. If this one doesn’t call out to you, hang in there for the next round. One of those might just be your thing.






Mohamed Maktabi, general manager of Iwan Maktabi, carpet expert and collector, will focus on the aesthetics of the Mazandaran kilims and the journey of modern designs in Persian tribal kilims. From the appearance of one of these kilims in a European collection to the journey to the Mazandaran villages to their discovery in the dowry chests of the villagers. Finally, Maktabi ends his lecture with comparisons between some major contemporary western artists and the woven works of women in remote poverty stricken villages. A colorful and well researched slideshow will accompany the talk.
Wednesday, 14th November, 2012 7.30 pm to 8.30 pm




The talk will evoke the history and tradition of using silk in Persian carpets, and the famous silk carpets found in museums across the worlds (Polonaise carpets from 16th Century Isfahan, Heriz silk carpets from 19th century Qajar Persia)

A show and tell will give the participants the chance to get their hands on (literally) some of the finest silk carpets woven in 20th century Iran by famous artists and artisans such as : Rajabian, Khai Zadeh, Ashkeyoun, & Rahmani.

Knot density, composition, natural dyes are also topics to be covered in the talk.
Thursday, 15th November, 2012 11.00 am to 12.00 pm
Pre registration is required, as seats are limited. To inquire or book a seat, email us at

Above text reproduced from Athr’s invite and copyrighted to them.

Opening of Mazandaran Kilim at Athr

An upcoming exhibition at Athr Gallery draws an intriguing connection between ethnic textiles from Iran and minimalistic art.

Mazandaran Kilim
In collaboration with Iwan Maktabi
Opening: Tuesday, 13th Nov, 2012
7.30 pm – 10.00 pm
Athr Gallery


Undiscovered Minimalism: Mazandaran Kilims

In collaboration with Iwan Maktabi

Werner Weber first visited Mazandaran in northern Iran in the mid-1990s. In remote villages in the Hezar-jerib area, he and his colleagues saw powerfully expressive heirloom kilims with ‘minimalist’ abstract designs unlike any others known in the trade, but which, in their colours and patterns evoke the modern painting and architecture of the West.
The patterns and colours of these flatweaves have an uncanny resemblance to Minimalism… It is interesting that Persian women in their remote villages could produce textile art reminiscent of works by major Western artists of the 20th century.” Parviz Tanavoli
Heinz Meyer compares them to contemporary artworks of Mark Rothko, Ad Reinhardt, and Barnett Newman. This exhibition encourages the viewer to think outside the domain of ethnography, in an attempt to capture the underlying elements that connect “textile art” to simply “Art”.
Undiscovered Minimalism will run from the 13th to the 22nd of November.

Above text and image reproduced from Athr’s invite and copyrighted to them.

New classes at The Quilting Arts Studio

Threads of every shade and colour.

Classes will be starting soon at The Quilting Arts Studio. There will be an Open House for registration and information this Wednesday, 7 November from 10:00 A.M.-4:00 P.M., and Thursday, 8 November from 10:00 A.M.-1:00 P.M. at their studio. Click here for the location map.

We were able to ask Debra Dennis at The Quilting Arts Studio a couple of questions about the classes:

For those who are completely new to quilting, which classes would you recommend?

Debra: I would recommend learning the basic skills of patchwork and quilting. Once you have the basics, you can take go as far as you like.

What can participants hope to create in your classes?

Debra: You can stick to traditional interpretations and make bed or lap quilts, or you can go in the direction of art quilts using fabric and thread as a medium. Whatever your choice, you will certainly find quilting to be hobby in which you can express your endless creativity.

The following classes will be offered.

Beginning Patchwork

This class is for the absolute beginner. Sewing machines and tools are available for use during class. The course is 7 lessons, 3 hours per lessons. The cost is 850 SR + supplies. There will be 3 different sessions to choose from:

  • Mondays 5:00 P.M.-8:00 P.M
  • Wednesdays 9:00 A.M.-12:00 P.M.
  • Thursdays 10:00 A.M.- 1:00 P.M.

Spiralling Diamonds

Girls Sewing Club

This class is being offered for the first time. It is for girls ages 10-12 years. There will be various craft and sewing projects. Girls who wish to attend must be attentive and cooperative, and also abide by the safety guidelines during class. This will be offered on a monthly basis and will be 4 classes per month, 2 hours per class. The
cost of the course is 800 SR per month which will include most supplies used during class. Space is limited to 6 girls per session. If you are interested in this for your daughter, be sure to attend the Open House with your daughter, if possible. Tuesdays 5:00 P.M.-7:00 P.M.

Beautiful fabric for quilting.

Scrapbooking/Card Making Club

This is also a new activity. It will not be a class led by an instructor, but rather a work session with participants exchanging ideas and working on their own projects. There will be some tools available for use during the session. Supplies such as paper, ink, ribbon, and embellishments will be available for purchase. There will also be a catalog of supplies for those who wish to order. This is a drop-in activity so you may go as often as you wish. Light refreshments will be available. The cost to attend is 25 SR (+ supplies purchased, if any). The studio time will be Mondays 9:00 A.M.-12:00 P.M.

Shabby chic workshop with Dorothy Boyer at Darat Safeya Binzager

Every once in a while, our furniture (just like us) could use a face lift. Some pieces dear to you might be worn out beyond usefulness or appeal, and you might want to revamp them so they can still look good in your surroundings. Darat Safeya Binzagr offers a creative workshop on how you can give new life to old pieces of furniture using simple, handy and creative tips. It promises to be a hands-on, productive two days with artist Dorothy Boyer, whose name has often surfaced on our blog for one reason or another. Those interested, book now, seats are limited.



Shabby Chic Furniture

2 day workshop

20th-21st Nov. 10am-3.30pm

Tired of the same old furniture?


Would you like to learn how to give your old fashioned frames or furniture a quick aged look?

Shabby Chic is the term given to the kind of antiquing that will fit in with any type of interior.

It can look Mediterranean, Italian, French, Swedish or English Country House.

You can make it look as old as you like, and have it in the colour you like.

Call Kawther on 6571030 at the Darat Binzagr for details and to register.

Bring a SMALL item to work on, either a chair small table, frames etc.

We provide all the materials and sample boards.


I shall demonstrate on carved pieces of picture frame—-you might like to try that!



This Victorian desk of mine was destroyed in a devastating flood two years ago.

I repainted and distressed it, fitting a new leather top.

It is now a very useful dressing table!



Dorothy Boyer has 30 years experience of carrying out specialist faux finishes including, gilding, distressing, old plaster, stencil and trompe l´oeil effects.

She has taught in London and Jeddah.

Calling all Photographers!

A great opportunity presents itself to all those budding photographers in Jeddah. A mobile app startup company called StringFly is launching a National Heritage project in major cities around the world. Although starting as an app company, they are now in the early stages of building a user website, part of which will be a world map people can discover real time content on.

They are seeking qualified images of architectural landmarks from cities all over the world, and this is where you come in. They are looking for local photographers who care about the architecture and heritage of their cities to work with them.


You need to have an iPhone or Android and must be willing to use their StringFly app on your smartphone to upload images from the site of places of worship, hospitals and schools in Jeddah.

How it works

If this is something you may be interested in, then go ahead and register and download the app here. Once the app is downloaded, you will then be able to use your username and password to login to your web account at StringFly and upload a few sample images depicting the types of buildings listed above. You can also use images taken previously from a conventional camera.

Phase 2

They will be choosing, based on quality criteria, from among the photographers who participate in the first phase and will offer many among them the opportunity to participate in the second phase where you will be asked to take and upload images using the StringFly app, for which they will pay cash rewards in exchange for all requested qualifying images.


Happy clicking!



Hajj Mabroor and Eid Mubarak!


Hajj Mabroor
We wish those readers who have performed Hajj this year Hajj Mabroor (meaning, may your Hajj be accepted),

and to the rest we wish a very blessed Eid.

Jeddah Blog Team

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