Tag Archives: Freej

Trending Tuesday #8 Ramadan

IMG_5762IMG_5737DSC_1027IMG_5766DSC_1044IMG_5785IMG_5828Hey All, Before Ramadan ends this week I wanted to just tell you all about my first weeks of Ramadan in Dubai. As this blog talks a lot about East and West, this is the one thing I wanted to share with my readers in the Western part of the world. Before I moved to Dubai I had never experienced Ramadan in a Middle Eastern country. Well, my first Ramadan was in winter of Dubai and was actually quite cold in the evenings much different to this time round. It was extremely hot and I was in awe of my friends and family who were fasting in heats of 40-45oc for long hours. Aside from the fasting, Muslims who are participating in Ramadan are able to spend more time with family and friends as well as spend time in prayer and deepening their spiritual enlightenment. For me, in a household where one member of the family is fasting; my Dad, its a time for us to admire his strength during this challenging month and to spend time with friends and enjoy the wonderful atmosphere of Ramadan. Dad and I were actually home alone together so I enjoyed cooking for Dad and friends, my key dish this Ramadan and a cooking challenge was Lamb Tagine receipe is here, I hear everyone enjoyed the food…… phew! I also spent time catching up on emails that were long over due and reading my magazines out by the pool in the evenings.

The pictures above show some highlights of Ramadan tents in the One and Only Royal Mirage in Dubai (my favourite hotel as you know from here). One of the favourite things to do in the evenings is to meet with friends at the many tents around the city. My favourite tent was and is always the one at Royal Mirage, gorgeous tent colours with wonderful music and of course the best highlight, Shisha. You can see the from the photos the wonderful tent that has been up at the Royal Mirage and if your in Dubai I can highly advise visiting this gorgeous tent.

Another favourite thing we enjoyed this Ramadan was Freej, I wrote all about the wonderful creative mind behind Freej earlier in Ramadan and I can tell you that the latest series was just amazing with fantastic animation and carefully selected stories for each episode. Once the series is released on DVD with subtitles I’ll be sure to let you know.

As we have reached the end of Ramadan the shopping craziness begins with people buying gifts and new clothes, so on that fashion note here are my go to places for your shopping:

Malaak: For your beautifully designed Abaya, Kaftan and Turban essentials

Liliaya: Their online store currently has some of their wonderful pieces on sale

OTT: Gorgeous Kaftans and items for home are now for sale in selected boutiques

Butik.ae: The Butik is the go-to place for gorgeous one-off pieces

S*uce Gifts have a great money pouch for you to keep all your Eid money in or to gift to another

I hope this has given you all an insight into the wonderful atmosphere that Ramadan creates of spending time with love ones and sending gifts to those that you may not see often but, still are dear enough to you to think of at the special time of year. As I sign off I hope you have all had a wonderful Ramadan and Eid Mubarak to you for the end of the week.

What do you think is special about Ramadan?

Ciao for now

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Yado’z Favourites

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Yado’z means grandma in Emariti Arabic and yesterday I introduced you to Mohammed Harib the creative genius behind the UAE’s favourite grandma’s from the TV show Freej. As I explained yesterday, Mohammed see’s Freej as a brand and Yado’z are the products that were once our Grandma’s favourites but, reproduced for the modern day. I loved the products especially for the fact that they were made in the UAE, yet I could see how they would work in Holland for example. Yado’z produces different Emariti inspired items that also support and give back to the community.

The cushions are perfect for indoor and outdoor use and I love that they have the Arabic calligraphy on them in neon colours. Imagine your white or black garden furniture with a gorgeous Middle Eastern cushion …. coming to a garden or balcony near you soon!

The Smart trays with the intricate details are just gorgeous for home and have been carefully designed for the Bookiyas so you no longer have to worry about spilling your coffee pot all over your poor guests because this tray holds everything in place, and if your like me I would use the Bookiyas for sugar and spices!

The T-shirts were designed for charity to help people who need wheelchairs. All the t-shirts have been designed with the UAE culture in mind but given a modern twist …. I love the super man t-shirt with the Burqa hidden in the logo.

But, now my absolute favourite thing about the Yadoz products is that they all go so well together, the t-shirts can be packaged in the Bookiya. The bookiya can be held in place in the simple coffee trays and can be used for so many other organisational needs. The cushions can be stored in the ottoman boxes that can also be used for indoor and outdoor use. Yado’z produces different Emariti inspired items that also support and give back to the community. If your looking for the perfect gifts for people from the UAE that are different from the usual tourist gifts then look no further than Yado’z.

To find out more about Yado’z follow them on facebook and twitter.

What would you choose to put in your bookiya?

Ciao for Now xx

Meet Mohammed

Mohammed photo (1)Meet Mohammed Hareeb, the creative genius behind the successful TV series Freej. Since I started the blog this year I have met some very inspiring people and the exciting thing for my readers outside of the UAE, these inspiring people have been Emraiti’s. Coming from Dubai I believe our generation has seen the city go from a sleepy port city to a bustling cosmopolitan city that has inspired everyone to achieve their dreams.

When I met Mohammed, I of course had many questions about my favourite show Freej. This show has been so much a part of my life that I have friends we have nick-named after the characters and since the English subtitles I have introduced the show to many of my expat friends. The characters were born from a college in project in Boston where Mohammed was studying animation after swapping from Architecture. Mohammed was asked to create a super-hero that represented the culture of his country. Well, of course his initial thought was a macho character that is typical of Gulf history but, in the end he drew his grandmother and many years later that character would be the inspiration for a show on four grandmothers trying to deal with the modernisation of Dubai.

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When Mohammed was asked to create his super hero he realised there had been much documented about our grandfather’s and their trips for Pearl Diving but, not much was written about out grandmothers. Therefore he drew his grandmother, he named his sketch Umm Saeed which is a sign of pride to be called after their son in this region. Of course, as he developed the character and in turn Freej he did not have a particular audience in my mind. The show was made for  18- 35 and would be cultural, comedy and for female audience because they watch more than 10 hours of TV per week and were more inclined to buy merchandise. “Thankfully though, it captured a wider market, Children saw it because it was cartoon, teenagers saw it because it was animation and cool, senior citizens liked it because it was cultural”.

The interesting part of my conversation with Mohammed was that he found it funny that people really took Freej into their lives and made it like a huge achievement for the UAE. Freej was something new and different for Arabic TV shows and Dubai was riding a successful wave and Mohammed was part of that. He said “I believe the show would not have been the success it is if we had try to launch it a few years later, because at the time I started Freej companies were looking to sponsor something different and creative but, now they are much more careful with sponsorship”.

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Walking into the Lammtara office and studios,  its like a creation wonderland, bright colours are everywhere and it reminded me of visiting a pier arcade …… bringing out the child in everyone. Concealing my excitement of being in the home of Freej I had to say “This seems like a dreadful place to work”.

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As I have mentioned before, Dubai is now nurturing and trying to encourage the creative industries. We spoke about this and Mohammed said “If Freej had not been successful then I don’t think other shows would have come out”. Since Season 4 of Freej there has been an off-shoot TV game show, a theatrical production and Mohammed says “We want to be a brand that is associated to the culture of the UAE”.  Although, they took a 2 year gap their audience have stayed loyal and people haven’t forgotten the four grandmothers. I think the fact that every episode is different and you see the characters deal with such a wide range of everyday issues, we don’t get bored with them. Today product placement is still in demand and Mohammed has created the safety video for Fly Dubai featuring the Freej characters and road safety videos for Chervelot. Freej 5 this year comes after a year’s break.

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I had to ask Mohammed if he though there was a big western audience considering all the expats that live in Dubai, well he said “I hear we have a large Western audience, they are intrigued about how we show our culture and that we are making fun of ourselves”. Mohammed never wanted the show to go international and there is no plan to dub the show in English but, at the moment you can buy the DVD’s with English subtitles which of course helps to widen the audience. I told Mohammed, that for me, Freej was exciting to celebrate what our grandmothers had achieved and show the western audience that the women here were brave and perhaps were the ultimate independent women. Mohammed said ” Normally women here are portrayed in documentaries and drama’s and they are either sick or dying and now they were being shown as hero’s”.

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Of course, to follow on from asking about the audience I had to ask how East and West could be merged, “He is happy that Freej found its own style, it’s not too Manga (Japanese) and not too Disney”. Whilst the stories are kept very Arabic themed, they still try to be understood by a wider audience and for example don’t use typical Arabic music but, the music is produced in London. The interesting thing with Mohammed is that he describes himself as very Western thinking ” I really wear my Kandora but I am very western,  I am western educated and my English is better than my Arabic.” I think this really describes the cross over I see in Emariti’s from Dubai and how the city has made itself a business hub in the East.

Tomorrow I will tell you all about the products and the other cultural side of Freej.

Have you seen Freej? What do you think?

Ciao for now xx

P.S Pictures courtesy of Lammtara Studio’s.

Trending Tuesday #6 Freej

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You are all probably trying to understand what this pictures is all about ….. well all over the world Muslims will begin to fast tomorrow for Ramadan. Its a time to reflect, connect with your spiritual side and take time to get back to essentials in life. It also means that Freej is back on our TV screens.

Freej is based on the four grandmothers above, who made their way on to the small screen in 2006. For those of you that don’t know, Freej is about the grandmothers who live in a neighbourhood of Dubai and have to deal with all the changes that are going on around them as Dubai grows as a city. The creation of Mohammed Saeed Harib  the show has been a success with all the family and not just children and was the first animated show in Middle East. I will bring you a “Meet Mohammed” post this weekend so you can hear all about the inspiration behind the show and the what the future holds for our favourite grandmothers.

Since the grandmothers appeared to TV you can now see them trying to take care of everyone appearing in safety video’s ….. so here is a little clip of the safety video to give you a small insight into the show ….. Enjoy!