Recent News


WSB Admin 01/01/2018 0

Covered by: Anya Mohammed


On the morning of November 7 th , WSB held its first volunteer coffee morning in Al Nakhla Residential resort, a WSB partner. The event was successfully attended by almost 40 attendees who showed great interest in what WSB had to offer. The main purpose of this gathering was to introduce and involve the expat community in volunteer opportunities as well as with WSB. A presentation, led by the WSB Volunteer Liaison Gema, portrayed all the opportunities. These opportunities included working with SANAD Cancer Society for kids, Moonframe, DCSA, Ennesi Farms and Open Paws. Projects closed and projects under commencement were all discussed.




The WSB team was delighted to see attendees step forward and register for voluntary work. Hence, not only was the coffee morning a success for “opportunities get to know,” but it was a great way of meeting new people from a diverse set of cultures and backgrounds. Living in an environment such as that of Saudi Arabia, getting to know new people is a challenge and through such coffee mornings WSB hopes to break the ice. A coffee morning will be held every now and then as soon as new opportunities
arrive to update the valued community as well as request their honorable involvement.


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Amatara Wellness Resort – Phuket Island, Thailand

WSB Admin 01/01/2018 0


The Travel Collection welcomes in 2018 with an incredible offer at Amatara Wellness
Resort in Phuket, Thailand – one FREE flight for each wellness package booked! – the
flight must be booked to Phuket, but can be from any chosen departure point up to a
maximum value of THB 20,000 (approx US$600).
An ideal way to combine a holistic wellness retreat with a family holiday, Amatara, one of Thailand’s premium destination spas, provides guests with everlasting moments and an experience like no other. Located at the majestic Cape Panwa, Amatara offers guests
amazing coastal views over the calming Andaman sea.


The Amatara experience is one of total wellness. Indulge in the holistic retreat programmes which promote good health and well-being. The first and only luxury destination spa in Phuket, Amatara offers all-inclusive programmes combining accommodation, organic and nutritional food at their dedicated health-food restaurant – The Retreat, along with personalised wellness and fitness activities…….and if not everyone wants to follow a wellness programme, then the resort offers all the facilities you would expect of a luxury family holiday resort.


Everyone likes to pamper themselves. Experience the unforgettable Thai Hammam
Experience. The exquisitely designed Thai Hammam is a world-first and brings together traditional Turkish and Moroccan bathing practices with the wisdom and gentleness of Thai spa therapies.

The beautiful rooms, suites and villas, each feature their own private outdoor space
with amazing sea views. Guests can choose from 22 spacious and stunningly-
designed pavilions, 48 over-sized suites or to be truly pampered, enjoy one of the 35
one-bedroom infinity pool villas. All guarantee unforgettable luxury and privacy, close
to the picture-postcard beach.

Whether travelling alone, as a couple or a family, Amatara Wellness Resort offers a
first-class resort experience. Excellent dining options, from all day dining at The Restaurant, or fine dining at The Grill. All restaurants offer wellness options and The
Retreat is dedicated to wellness cuisine. Supervised water-sport activities are also
available on the beach or guests can relax by the pool. The Kids Club is perfect for
younger guests to enjoy time with other children, giving parents valuable time to

The Amatara Spa experience is a personal journey to better health and wellbeing.
Guests can choose from six signature programmes which will provide lasting results:
Amatara Detox, Weight Management, Spa Revive, Amatara Connect, Amatara Active
and Amatara Yoga. Full details are available on the Amatara website.


Amatara Wellness Resort’s dedication to exceeding guests’ expectations has been
rewarded recently by winning World Luxury Spa Award 2017 for Best Luxury
Destination Spa in Thailand and also for Luxury Healing Retreat (Worldwide)

If you would like more information on the resort or the special ‘free flights’ offer, please
contact – +966 564217923 – or visit the Amatara website for
further information: amazing-offer

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Terrace Grill – Restaurant Review

WSB Admin 01/01/2018 0


On a cold winter Riyadh evening, in the lobby of the
Marriott hotel, I fell in love… with a T-bone steak.

Upon arrival to the Terrace Grill, my husband and I were
greeted by a dapper host and a display of bottles that
made us forget where we were for a moment. The
restaurant was spaciously divided and had small intimate
tables, ones to accommodate much larger parties, an
outdoor terrace, as well as a semi-private room. We took a
small central table next to the open kitchen.

If you’re looking to go someplace nice, Terrace Grill is
undoubtedly a sophisticated dinner destination. Dark
hardwood floors, dim lighting with pink hues that make for
a romantic feel, subtle music for when you want it and for
when you don’t, elegant soft-spoken waiters in suits, and a
little something for the boys – a cigar room with
a fine selection of fancy Cubans.


Our waiter persuaded us to try the non-alcoholic wine and
so we ordered a bottle of their finest red as we browsed
through the electronic menu. As we sat there, tablets in
hand, I came to the quick realization that maybe we
should have taken a bigger table… much bigger. The
appetizers varied but consisted mainly of cold seafood
starters and classic soups such as French onion and
lobster bisque. You definitely don’t need to be a meat
lover to eat here.

With a click on the tablet, my husband ordered the foie
gras which came beautifully presented in two big pieces,
seared nicely and complimented by the standard
cranberry and apple compote. This dish was not only
sizeable but so rich that perhaps we should have just
shared it… but of course we didn’t. I had the prawn and
lobster starter which is just what I expected it to be: tasty
and light, but what really made the plate was the

refreshingly poignant apple ginger salad. Just yum!


Although the goat-cheese beetroot salad and burrata
caprese were tempting, we went for the asparagus
avocado and chicken Caesar. I’m not sure how descriptive
I can be about a salad, but lets just say there were no

regrets about either one. None at all.

With the appetizers and salads out of the way and the
mains en route, the self doubt started kicking in. Am I
really going to get through a 14 oz. T-bone on my own
after all that? What was I thinking? Not to mention the
sides of jumbo asparagus, parmesan crusted home
fries, sautéed mushrooms, and three sauces. Then
suddenly, there it was in front of me. A
moderately marbled cut of Australian certified black
Angus cooked to a perfect medium. Ok, maybe I can do
this after all.

Hubby ordered the jumbo prawns (and a 14 oz. Wagyu
steak as a side dish, but lets not dwell on that) which was
nicely cooked and flavorsome. I’ve never been a fan of
jumbo prawns but I happily ate an entire one. I
would definitely come back to Terrace Grill and try one of
the many non-steak options on the menu.

Dessert? Nope. No way. Never.
So, we had the chocolate truffle and strawberry
lemon shortcake. One massive slice each beautifully
presented with a sugar glass shard. Needless to say, we
had one bite and took the rest home for a zesty,
chocolatey breakfast. Sweet.

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Teach Your Children Well Full of empty calories but bereft of intellectual insights?

WSB Admin 01/01/2018 0

28 APRIL 2015,

a-social-or-an-asocial-networkA social or an asocial network?

‘And you, of the tender years can’t know the fears that your elders
grew by. And so please help them with your youth, they seek the truth
before they can die’.
Crosby, Stills, Nash and Young

In order to learn something new in the not-too- distant past; there were
far fewer options from which to choose than there are today. We could
either ask our questions of someone who had already accumulated the
knowledge we sought, we could acquire the information first-hand
through our own personal experiences, or we could read about the
subject in a book.

If we were fortunate enough to have an appropriately enlightened
person within close range, it was relatively easy to find the answer to a
niggling question. Very common was the ‘learn as you go’ method of
discovery, which bore a strong resemblance to the ‘Let’s Make a Deal’
gameshow from the ‘60’s. When provided multiple options without a
frame of reference, one could just as easily choose a door harbouring a

dodgy answer as the one promising a happy-ever- after. But such was

Due to an intrepid army of salesmen marching from door to door
bearing books, many generations of truth-seekers have proudly
displayed collections of the Encyclopaedia Britannica on shelves in
their living rooms. This well-respected facsimile of an omniscient oracle
was first published in Scotland in the eighteenth century and over the
years, has enjoyed numerous reincarnations. In the 1930’s, its 11th
edition was acquired by an American company, then shortened and
sculpted in order to appeal to the masses.

More than a hundred Nobel Prize winners and a trove of American
presidents have committed the collective force of their intellects to the
pages of these tomes, which became the ‘go-to’ resource when writing a
report for science or social studies class. Many a student has spent many
an evening at the kitchen table, paraphrasing the references to Albert
Einstein or the process of photosynthesis in an attempt to sufficiently
impress the teacher without raising the red flag of plagiarism. But as the
lessons taught by parents, schoolteachers and the Big, Wide World
become increasingly outsourced to innumerable faceless pundits on the
World Wide Web, our teaching methodologies are correspondingly
morphing in a significant way.

Parallels can be drawn between on-line learning and eating at a fast-
food outlet, as both provide the same instant gratification. Readily
accessed, easily digested and undeniably convenient; it is simply
amazing that at any time of the day or night, one can roll past the shiny
window of the Google take-away; choose an item from its never-ending
menu and within seconds feel fully sated. In keeping with the same
analogy though, we must be just as vigilant when seeking nourishment
for our mind as for our body. It is all too easy to be seduced by the sirens
of Facebook and Twitter, who beckon with every audible notification
and render one full of empty calories but bereft of intellectual insights.

This is no different for children. As busy parents of even busier children,
it is wonderfully simple to set them up with a smart-phone or tablet and
keep them amused for hours with electronic games that provide plenty
of sensory stimulation without requiring any physical activity at all.
Waiting lines and airplane rides have never been so easy. Play-stations
have replaced play-grounds and while at one time it would have been
almost inconceivable to raise a family without access to a backyard or a
school-yard; somehow the sedative effects of computer games have
numbed the need for a space to grow.

This is not to say that the unfathomable wealth of knowledge contained
in a microchip is not to be celebrated for the force of nature it is.

Technology has paved a way for young minds to be exposed to
information in a truly awesome manner and to dispute that would be
remiss. Yet while the internet can play the role of a teacher, a play-mate
or a nanny, it falls far short when imparting the intangible
characteristics that we all hope our children will develop. Empathy,
compassion, courage and confidence are traits only founded and
fostered through personal experience. Nothing can replace the delicious
sensation of walking on a cool patch of lawn in your bare feet, or the
feeling of sand between your toes. That indefinable sense of salty
satisfaction felt at the end of a day of physical labour can never be
achieved by spending the same number of hours in front of a computer,
no matter how rewarding the project. There is no meaningful substitute
for traversing the landscape of your life simply by putting one foot in
front of the other and learning as you go.

To deny your child experiences that can only be attained through
actually ‘doing,’ would be dealing her a grave disservice and while
today’s parents must acknowledge the computer’s inherent value in the
education of their children; as with most rich repasts, it’s one best
enjoyed in moderate doses. Rather than vicariously partaking of all the
world has to offer through the pixels on a computer screen, it is
imperative that children are encouraged to travel the trails of their lives
as present and engaged participants and learn to revel in the process.
Written with love for Oliver, Everett and Eloise.


untitledD. Lesley Leslie
D. Lesley Leslie is the author of many health and wellness books for children as
well as the adult fiction novel, KAVLA. Born in England to South African parents,
she was raised in Canada and now resides in the Middle East. She welcomes all
suggestions, comments and questions.

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2018, Your Best Year is Ahead! How self-improvement, goal setting, and WSB can help you achieve your dreams in 2018

WSB Admin 01/01/2018 0

By: Maria Cometti

“Cheers to a new year and another chance for us to get it right”, Oprah Winfrey.
Have you set goals for 2018? Research has proven that people who set goals are more
successful. When you set your goals this year, instead of only thinking about what you want to
accomplish, it may be helpful to also think about the person you wish to become. Do you want
to have more energy, become mentally stronger, be more present in your daily life…? When
you prioritize improving yourself, it will be easier to reach your goals

For a long time, I focused on the external. What more could I “do”? I put more energy in work
and getting things done. Then I came across this idea from Jim Rohn. “Success is not to be
pursued. Success if attracted by the person you become. If you want to live better, you have to
become better.” This idea resonated with me and made me realize I needed to put more
energy into improving myself, not my work.

“Clarity comes from action not thought”. I love this quote from Marie Forleo as it’s a great
reminder that we can’t think our way to our goals. We must take action, no matter how small. If
you have an idea that you have been considering for a while, it’s time to get moving. When we
take small steps towards our goals, it is then that we see a path unfold.

We all need support in our journeys, especially when we are trying something new. The
Women’s Skills Bureau is planning exciting networking events and professional and personal
development opportunities in 2018. We hope you will come to some of our events and let us
know how we can help you. If you have a special skill or talent that you would like to share with
the WSB network, and are ready to make it happen, we have opportunities for collaboration.
For example, you could host a workshop, write a column in the WSB newsletter, or book a table
at the Find and Be Found networking event February 27 th .

Happy 2018 and wishing you all the success, as you define it, in the new year!

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Ennessi Farms – Children’s Visit from the Down Syndrome Charitable Association

WSB Admin 01/12/2017 0

Earth Guardians
We welcomed children from the Down Syndrome Charitable Association to Ennessi Farm
today, the first in our series of Field Trips. They greet me with big smiles and gentle hugs,
happy to take part in the action songs and sensory games. These 9 year olds find everything
remarkable: the heckling call of the roosters, the pungent smell of dill and fine bristle of
Chinese leaves. 16 pairs of hands dart into fresh compost, as beans are stuffed into pots and
proudly named for each child to take home.

In the fields, they stick together to begin with,but the urge to touch, squeeze and taste everything is too strong. Cherry tomatoes as sweet as jam, corn on the cob, mint leaves – everything is both familiar and strange, appealing to their senses and stretching their imaginations. In the chicken coop, there is a whoop of wild excitement, and again when we lever a massive lettuce from its bed.

During snack time the older children wash and chop their harvest to make our salad. All too soon their coach arrives, backpacks loaded, a final round of hugs and then they’re gone. Farming in the desert
is full of surprises. The unexpected rains last week may have chilled the soil for some of our
emergent seedlings, constraining their growth and altering the path of their existence. On an
organic farm, however, this difference goes unnoticed. Life is not always like that.
Karla Ptacek

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Travel Collection

WSB Admin 01/12/2017 0


With the festive season upon us and 2017 coming to an end, the team at the Travel
Collection would like to wish everyone at the Women’s Skills Bureau, Seasons
Greetings and a Happy New Year.
It has been a privilege to have the opportunity to show case some of our beautiful hotels,
resorts, wellness retreats and cruises via this newsletter. Each month, we present travel
insights and special-offers, which provide you with ideas for future holidays in and around
the region, as well as further afield.
Snow is already falling in the Alps and our resorts in Switzerland and Austria provide an
ideal base for enjoying all that these resorts have to offer, on or off piste…The Alpina Gstaad
& The Chedi Andermatt in Switzerland offer activities for all the family. Whether you are
skiing for the first time or seasoned regular, ready to meet the challenging red and black
runs, you will be simply amazed at the spectacular mountain scenery. The Alpina Resort in
Seefeld, Austria has also just been completely renovated and offers excellent facilities for all
the family. All three of our resorts offer world-class spa’s, award-winning dining and apres-
ski for all.
For those of you wanting to take a short break closer to Saudi Arabia, we can offer The
Chedi Muscat, an Asian-inspired beach resort with Omani-influenced rooms and club suites,
right in the heart of Muscat. Ideal for couples wanting to celebrate a special occasion or
simply wanting to get away and relax, the Chedi offers three swimming pools, a spa and
great open-air dining options.
For a cultural experience less than four hour’s flying time from Riyadh, Istanbul offers
excellent value for money. The new Fairmont Quasar is close to all the best shopping malls
in the city and offers spectacular views over the Bosphorus, from many of its rooms and

If you would like more information on these of any of our products, please contact – +966 564217923 – or visit our website for further information:

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Serafina Restaurant Review

WSB Admin 01/12/2017 0


Appearances can be deceptive.
I’ve seen Serafina on many Uber trips down the Mukarramah Road. It’s on one of those annoying slip
roads (’slide right’) that you usually drive past before you realise you needed it, and end up half way
to Bahrain before you can do a U-y.
From the outside, Serafina’s blue and yellow colouring can leave you guessing as to what’s inside.
However, once inside, you realise that cheesy, red white and green colour branding of many Italian
eateries is not Serafina’s style, and that they manage to achieve a delightfully comfortable, relaxed
ambience through more subtle means. The lighting is low; candles add warmth and intimacy. Table
size and spacing creates a relaxed setting, around which handsome waiters calmly glide. Music plays
discretely, and couples sit in quiet intimacy hidden amongst jolly, family groups.
The gourmet store shelves display products with the homely cosiness of an Italian farmhouse
kitchen. They even host numerous stacks of recipe books, but curiously they are all displayed with
their spines turned inwards. If there hadn’t been so many of them all around the room, I would have
got up and turn them round the right way to complete the scene.
I began to fret that these brand inconsistencies might be reflected in the food. So, we chose from
their unique dishes and gourmet specialities to be sure to get the measure of the place: selecting
from the separate antipasti burrata, and carpaccio and tartare sections, and the distinct ravioli and
risotto elements. There are impressive meat or fish secondi piatti, a whole page dedicated to pizza,
and more coffees than you can shake a stick at. But to be honest, once you’ve tried the buratta, you
will want it for each course, including desert.

There was no need for fretting at all. The food was amazing. We loved the rich flavours and colourful
presentation, and were mesmerised by some entertaining moments such as the linguine being
tossed inside an enormous parmesan beside our table.
We noticed during the evening that scarves were slipping slightly, abayas being loosened, and
flirtatious glances exchanged. The authentic Italian charm, cuisine, ambience and mocktails had
obviously done their work, proving that behind the veil of appearances can be hidden some
charming and unexpected delights. A restaurant for our times.
A Leyla wa Leyla

Serafina Riyadh
Makkah Al Mukarramah Branch Road, Al Mathar Ash Shamali، Umm Al Hamam Al Sharqi, Riyadh
Tel: +966 11 222 4492

Catering and events contact: Ms. Hodman Yusuf


Social media
Instagram: @serafinaksa
Twitter: @serafinariyadh

Snapchat: @serafinariyadh

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King Faisal Specialist Hospital Launches Children’s Books Promoting Health Awareness

WSB Admin 01/12/2017 0

Run For Life V12-Cover01-3

When Dawn Leslie, arrived in Saudi Arabia nearly eight years ago to
work at the King Faisal Specialist Hospital and Research Center in
Riyadh, little could she have imagined that her new home would
provide such inspiration for her to write a series of books for children
to help those growing up in the Kingdom to be more aware of their

Speaking to Arabia Now from Riyadh, Dawn said, “Very soon after my
arrival I recognized a profound need for children’s educational health
content. Prior to moving to Saudi Arabia, I had published two book
series in Canada; totaling 150,000 books. I was, and still am deeply
committed to the idea of a health curriculum in schools and I hoped to
duplicate my Canadian model here. I now have a total of 30 books
completed, which comprise a comprehensive health library and all
have been translated into Arabic.”

That’s good news for thousands of children who are waiting for a new
story to read. While working at the King Faisal Specialist Hospital and
Research Center, Miss Leslie soon became aware of the rise of type II
diabetes and other obesity-related issues in children. Saudi Arabia also
tops many lists for traffic fatalities, and smoking-related illness is a
huge concern.

So when she wasn’t working on the wards, or dealing with various
pediatric departments, Miss Leslie put her pen to paper, and started
writing. During her interview with Arabia Now, Miss Leslie explained,
“I’m a huge proponent of the idea that children can be taught almost
anything provided the information is delivered in an age-appropriate
language, and my books are based on that concept. For each topic, I
take accurate medical information and wrap the message in an
entertaining story about a character that is experiencing the condition.
I dub this style as ‘info-fiction’ and find it to be a very effective way of
teaching. Included in each book is a section for adults called ‘Stuff for
Grown-Ups;’ a simple guide to signs, symptoms and treatment options
which provides another learning dimension for families. Both Saudi
children and their parents can benefit from this form of education.”

Speaking to Arabia Now about her Arabic book launch of 6,000 books
to the pediatric patients of King Faisal Specialist Hospital on November
14th, World Diabetes Day, Dawn Leslie told Arabia Now, “It will be
such an exciting moment and the happy result of a few years of
dedicated energy. I’ve been in the Kingdom since 2010 and working on
this project specifically for the past four years, so you can imagine how
gratifying it will be to finally see my books in the hands of Saudi
children. King Faisal Hospital is an extremely proactive organization
and has fully embraced the notion of preventive health education for
children, so they have been wonderful to partner with in distributing
the books to their patients.”

With titles such as “Run for your Life,” Dawn says she has learned a lot
from children in Saudi Arabia, “Who are like many other kids these
days. They are curious, smart and very tech-savvy. Best of all, they
are perfectly capable of making good decisions regarding their diet,
activity and safety choices. One of the most meaningful ways to make
a difference in the incidence of disease is by educating children and
empowering them to be good stewards of their own health.”

Two key pillars of Saudi Vision 2030, are philanthropy and
entrepreneurship. Miss Leslie’s children’s books certainly fit into those
areas. During her interview with Arabia Now, Miss Leslie explained
why. “I’ve loved spending these years in Saudi Arabia and feel very
closely connected to both the land and the people. This is a wonderful
and fascinating time to be in this region of the world and I feel blessed
to not only be witnessing these impactful changes, but actually be
playing a small part in helping to improve lives through health and

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Sidi Mansour – Restaurant Review

WSB Admin 01/11/2017 0


You will, no doubt, have noticed the local, business marketing strategy peculiar to Saudi – group all similar businesses together in one district, and leave the customers to opt for the best one. Need furniture? Take a ride to Exit 16. For electrical light fittings, catch an Uber to the Dhahran Road. Fancy shawarma? Send your man, of course, to the middle of Tahlia.

Fondly known as such, the street is officially named Prince Mohammed bin Abdul Aziz Street, but no-one ever calls it that. These cool evenings see Tahlia’s pavement lined with customers sitting outside the shawarma takeaways. But how does our one shawarma shop, with so many reclining customers outside, set itself apart from the others? Firstly, by enigmatically repeating the Tahlia model: being known for one thing (great Turkish kebabs, AKA shawarma) whilst officially being named as another – the Tunisian, Sidi Mansour. Secondly, all the dishes are prepared in-house with fresh chicken and meat from Forsan. Trimmed and marinated on site, giving a unique and delicious flavour. For a final stroke of genius, Sidi Mansour even lets you order a whole, party shawarma stand, where you can have it cooked and sliced in your own home.

Offering a range of tasty kebab-style sandwich and plate options, the menu also provides other delicious Turkish dishes including a variety of pies, and endless, delicious variations on a shawarma-y theme. Vibrant, colourful, fresh juices and fruit cocktails are found in the drinks section.


Now, let’s turn our minds back to those balmy-evening-shawarma-indulging customers lining Tahlia’s pavement cafés. We find that, for the time being, they are predominantly men, and family sections are not usual in this part of town…..yet. But take heart, as you await delivery of your order, your driver can report back on how the pretty, colourful, zesty interior of Sidi Mansour reveals the feminine touch of its female owner. Think on too how this happy fact, combined with living in a Kingdom undergoing momentous change, may mean that not only might you soon drive along Mohammed bin Abdul Aziz Road and pull up outside Sidi Mansour in your own car to recline at the pavement tables, but you may also see that colourful, zesty interior for yourself …. and even order your own shawarma.

Sidi Mansour

4184 Prince Muhammad Bin Abdulaziz Road Sulmaniya Riyadh

+966 50 914 6176

Hours: 12pm-2am

A. Leyla wa Leyla

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