Recent News

Celebrating the people of Saudi Arabia

WSB Admin 26/08/2019 0

By Rositsa Dorovska

If you were crying prior to your move to Saudi Arabia, you’ll cry harder when you have to leave. With these wise words, I have been welcomed to the Kingdom, almost a year ago.  The sentence is by one of my compound neighbours.

Though I was not really upset, my feelings were mixed for that new, yet so different chapter ahead. Like anyone, that happens to experience moving to KSA, I believe. On one side are the worries regarding the weather – the extreme heat, the sandstorms, the constant “dust in the air” forecasts. On the other side – the lack of proper information about what the real-life in KSA looks like. The mainstream media tends to cover only certain aspects of the cultural and religious specifics in this country. But they often skip the human factor. That way, they are shaping an inaccurate image of the Saudis. For the majority of the outside world, Saudis are kind of a mystery. So the easiest way for some people to explain to themselves the unknown is via clichés. Generalising a whole nation is always a bad approach.

The first cultural shock you can feel here in KSA, is that the common characteristics are totally wrong and archaic.  Most of the locals you will meet, actually, will be very friendly, helpful, curious to know your biography and story. I feel so pleased every time the local people ask me about my culture and language. Saudis are usually very familiar with the history of my country and they greet me wholeheartedly. As a member of the diplomatic family, my personal goal in KSA is to elevate the image of my country, here and vice versa.

The best surprise for me, is the open-minded and strong Saudi women I meet on random occasions in my daily Saudi life.  Embracing the loosening of the past strict rules that used to determine their lives, currently, there is a proactive and progressive generation of young Saudi ladies. Well educated and ambitious, they are running businesses, creating start-ups, gaining respect and moving forward to achieve their brave goals. Almost every day I have the chance to stumble upon such bright and successful stories – women professors, lawyers, managers. Not every expat, living in Saudi Arabia can make local acquaintances because some people prefer to spend their time behind the walls of the compounds. Given that some compounds are miniature cities, often it’s not very stimulating for a foreigner to explore the world behind the gates. Suddenly your project is over, you have to bid farewell to this country, and you’ll find out that you’ve never tried local food, you’ve never had a meal with or even a chat with Saudis… And that‘s a pity because the country is so vast, rich, diverse…But you cannot get to know that, without knowing the people…

Judging them from their media image or clothing is very discriminative. I had the honour to participate in a conference, organised by a local trust and The United Nations, where amongst many other interesting women, the dean of Princess Noura University spoke. And she rocked the hall, full of men and women. She was an inspiration for the audience, as she is for the students, I believe. Many of them were there – artists, young entrepreneurs… At that moment I realized, that nothing can stop the progress of this society. You will ask about the men and their opinion. Well, let me just share one personal story. A young local uber driver, made me feel ashamed when I told him that I can‘t speak Arabic, and I haven’t got a driving license as yet… But I was smiling secretly, you know. Of course, there‘s still a long way to go, but there is no way back for this population of youngsters, studying and working hard to make their dreams come true.  On the foundations of their old and rich culture, they will build a new Kingdom – modern and prosperous. No change is possible, without the society involved. So I am celebrating the people of Saudi Arabia, their tribal loyalty, but their global minds and vision.


Read more

WSB Inspiring Woman: Nelly Attar – Journey to Mount Everest

WSB Admin 26/08/2019 0

WSB is thrilled to feature Nelly Attar as WSB Inspiring Woman again. Nelly is the founder of Move Studio and is passionate about helping people move and get fit.  This time, Nelly tell us all about her journey to prepare for and successfully summit Mount Everest.

Tell us about your inspiration to become a mountaineer?

It gradually developed from local day hiking trips to a weeklong hiking trip overseas, to eventually month long (and beyond) mountaineering expeditions overseas. What kept me going is the experiences I passed through during each trip, the lessons I learnt, the potential I discovered in myself and all the wonderful people I met along the way. Just like any other sport that I regularly practise, mountaineering gives me great purpose and a big reason to work hard every day.

What inspired you to attempt Mount Everest?

Well, it was an idea I had for quite a while. When I started climbing, I thought maybe if I am crazy enough, one day I will attempt something like Everest. Mount Everest has been on my mind for quite a while. Obviously, it’s the highest mountain peak in the world, so what’s more appealing than that. But then it started turning into a dream so I started thinking that if I do this mountain or that mountain and can challenge myself this far, I would love to try something like Mount Everest. So, in the beginning, it was a dream because I wanted to see how far I was able to push myself, what my physical capabilities consist of, what I am able to do mentally, emotionally, physically. And then that dream kept growing over the years and turned into a goal just last year when my training partner Shareef suggested Nelly, let’s set the goal for next year rather than a dream for someday. That was possibly the best conversation we could ever have as that conversation changed our entire year. We ended up deciding to do Everest the following day. We started reaching out to companies, we paid the deposit, it all started happening from there. What really impressed me about Everest was the challenge, the challenge that comes from the climb – the physical, the mental, the emotional challenge of committing to something this big, of being able to train for something this big and then going on a mountain where there is no guarantee that you are going to be able to climb it, no guarantee that you are going to be able to come back. And the person who really pushed me to do it was my friend Shareef.

How did you prepare?

I would prepare for hours every week. My training was for between 14 – 30 hours a week, building up over the weeks as we got closer to Everest. I had two coaches in the States which helped me come up with my programme, which would consist of a lot of fasted running (20-30 kms), uphill training (indoors on the stairs machine, on a treadmill, hiking with a heavy backpack on my back with the volume increasing every week) as well as loads of strength training for my core and my legs. The training also consisted of training my body to extreme temperatures so I did a lot of travel in cold climates and climbing lots of mountains in extreme temperatures. The training also included practising with my equipment, practising many of the practicalities and little details that would be critical in the climb. This included toilets, toiletry kits, food while hiking etc. You have to think of everything as these little things can add up and cause a problem if you are not prepared.

What was the journey to prepare like? Did you get enough support? Did you need training outside the Kingdom?

I think the journey to prepare for Everest was the best part of climbing Everest. So much happened in a year from growth to learning to meeting people both internationally and locally who helped me prepare for Everest. I believe preparing for Everest is training for life. And it’s amazing, this is what I strive for on a bigger scale. I want to encourage as many people as possible to get active and Everest helped me do that. When I trained, girls and boys of all ages would join me in my training (2 people to 30 people at a time). It was amazing to see that through my training for Everest, so many people would get active, unlock their potential. Lot of them went on to run marathons or climb mountains. It was amazing to see that my dream has allowed people to get out there.

The journey was quite hard, there was a lot I had to get creative with in terms of training resources as I was training in Saudi Arabia. We have limited resources for mountaineering in Saudi as we don’t have the landscape that would resemble something like Everest. Also, as a woman training outdoors, there was a lot I needed to be mindful of. But having said that all these things combined made the journey even more meaningful. It gave me so much more drive, so much more reason to work through the challenges and if I could do these things in Saudi, I knew I could definitely do this on Everest.

Yes, I got amazing support. 100%. My people, my community, my colleagues, my family, even strangers that heard of my journey gave me so much support. They made me feel the journey is ‘ours’. My success was theirs and this is what kept me going on the mountain. I would also like to express my gratitude to Fitness, Nestle Arabia they were a great supporter of my journey. They really liked my journey and wanted to be a part of it.

Some of my training was outside the Kingdom. You need prior mountaineering experience to climb Everest. You need to be proficient with the technical skills that you would need to tackle Everest. Yes, I had to travel a lot and climb a lot of 6000-metre peaks to gain decent experience for Everest.

Did you climb other Mountains in preparation?

I have climbed 14 peaks before climbing Mount Everest, 5 of which were 6000-metre peaks and 2 of which are almost 7000-metre peaks.

Tell us about the Everest experience? Did you have a group and guides with you? How did they support you? What equipment did you need?

We went with an American mountaineering company, who were very experienced and well established. We had 3 western guides including the company’s owner, we had about 10-15 Nepali guides, all excellent. They helped us train on the mountain, helped us get higher up, helped us emotionally, physically and made us from a group of people into a team through their constant encouragement and values. You spend 2 months on the mountain with this group who didn’t know each other so it was important we felt like a team, like family. They prepared food, melted water for us to drink, set up tents and took care of most of the logistics. Without them, most of us wouldn’t have been able to summit Everest. They were there every single step of the way, first to ensure we were safe and then if we were able to, ensuring we kept going forward and onwards.

Lots of equipment, I think I had a 7 or 8-page gear list including sunblock, down jackets, thermals, mittens, gloves, beanies, ski goggles, waterproofing and windproofing gloves, mountaineering boots, proper socks, crampons, food, headlight, portable chargers. You need to also take spares because if you run out of equipment, you can’t get spares on the mountain.

What did the moment you successfully summitted Mount Everest feel like?

The minute I started walking towards the summit, I started sobbing so much. I generally cry whenever I summit or reach the finish line of a big race, just because I am so relieved, so happy and proud. All the emotions come rushing to me, Nelly you have done it, you believed you could do it and you have. I am so grateful for all the people who helped me do it. But I have never sobbed as I cried on Everest, I literally cried for 10 minutes, non-stop.

It’s really hard to describe, it felt like a cocktail of emotions – so proud, so relieved, so happy I made it and I felt so strong.  I was also nervous as there were many dead bodies on the summit. I was also nervous coming down due to the traffic as we were going down and many people were still summiting the same way. Most accidents happen on the descent. I was very cold (-40 degrees) and I was scared I would get frostbite. There was discomfort mixed with fear mixed with happiness and relief mixed with just being so overwhelmed for being on top of the world. I can’t quite describe it.

You may not believe it but as soon after I reached the summit and began the descent, I felt a bit of a void. I was thinking, what’s next? I just fulfilled my massive dream of fulfilling Everest and now what do I do next.

What milestones did you set? Are you amongst the first Arab women to summit Everest?

While I set a few milestones, I think being the first person from Riyadh to summit Mount Everest is the most meaningful to me. That’s where I can support the community, create an impact. I am hoping to inspire people in Riyadh to train, to take on mountaineering, take on extreme sports, to get outdoors. The sports and fitness landscape in Riyadh is starting to emerge, more and more people are getting outdoors. So, I really hope that if they see someone from Riyadh, doing this successfully, they also get motivated to put in the hard work and achieve their dreams.

I am also one of the first from Saudi Arabia, the first from Riyadh and one of the first Lebanese females to summit Mount Everest, one of the first 10 Arab females who climbed Mount Everest.

Did you support any charities with your efforts?

I fundraised to enrol as many children in the Early Learning Centres at Basmeh and Zeitooneh. Basmeh and Zeitooneh are a non-profit in Lebanon. They work with a lot of refugees, equipping them with basic rights, integrating them into society through work and education. One of the biggest challenges they face is funds to be able to educate children. So we fundraised for 28 children to be enrolled in Early Learning Centres next year, mostly refugees and some underprivileged children. We also fundraised to Clean Up Everest, donating 800$ for the cause.

What’s next for Nelly Attar? Any more mountains in your future?

Stay tuned as I have yet to decide. Of course, there are going to be loads of mountains and adventures in the future. Everest is the biggest climb but it’s not the biggest challenge out there. There are many other challenges out there that I would love to tackle in the future. For now, I have a lot of work-related goals I want to achieve in the next six months. In November, I have 3 international marathons. In December, hopefully, another climb. Some sports-related challenges in my immediate future, which should build up to bigger things soon.

Can you share some advice for other ladies who may like to summit Mount Everest?

My advice for any women who wants to climb Everest is to start small. The idea of climbing Mount Everest can be very lucrative, very exciting but it’s a very dangerous mountain and not something one can do without the proper experience, proper expertise and you never know, once you get into the mountaineering world, this may be something you don’t want to do. You may be interested in more technical or steeper climbs in lower altitudes as compared to something like Everest which is not very technical, yet very high in altitude. So I would say, gain as much experience as possible, train as much as possible, don’t rush it. Take as much time as you need. It took me 3-4 years to develop that dream into reality and I still think I could have gained more experience, prior to climbing Mount Everest. Train, start small, take one step today that can help you get to the goal, whether it is making a phone call or donning your sneakers and getting out of the house. Then see how it unfolds

Where can people go to see footage of your journey?

They can go to my Instagram@NellyAttar. There will be a website soon ( I am also working on a documentary of my climb (To dream of Everest) which will be released before the end of the year.




Read more

My foodie journey through Riyadh

WSB Admin 25/08/2019 0

By Deepa Thomas-Sutcliffe

Over the last year and a half, I have been tasting my way through Riyadh’s restaurants. As a vegetarian foodie (yes, we exist), I was thrilled when a friend started Riyadh Vegetarians and Friends networking group on Internations and drafted me as her co-organiser. She then left the country and I invited Christine, another foodie to be my co-organiser. We meet alternate Thursdays for dinner with an interesting group of foodies, some regular members, some occasional members and some newbies from many different ethnicities and parts of the world. The group size varies between 6 and 12 or so depending on the restaurant and we usually order dishes for the table that we can all share. All food that we order is vegetarian so my perspective on restaurants is probably skewed as it would be representative of a proportion of the menu.

Through our dinners, I have enjoyed some really great food, some great and some mixed service and (thankfully) a few disappointing experiences. The majority of restaurants are quite happy to cater to vegetarians and occasionally have modified meat-only dishes to suit our tastes. The conversations at our dinners are a nice mix of cultural exchange, people’s lives and work at Riyadh and where we are going to travel next. Many of the members are not vegetarians but join us for good food and interesting conversation. No preaching about converting to vegetarianism or veganism from us, I promise.

Here are some of my favourite restaurants in Riyadh organised by cuisine. It’s hard to choose just one so I have mentioned a couple of restaurants:

  1. Italian: San Carlo Cicchetti and Serafina both tie for the best Italian food I have eaten in the Kingdom.
  2. Indian: Zafran stands alone for some really delicious food and great service.
  3. Lebanese: Lavash serves tasty Lebanese in a luxurious environment. Leila’s at Oud Square is pretty good too.
  4. Multi-cuisine – Urth Café – for a nice ambience, tasty food and yummy desserts. Check out the large trees in the restaurant.
  5. Desserts – Cioccolat Italiani for some of the best gelatos I have had here

What’s your list of favourite restaurants? WSB is happy to review new restaurants that members recommend so please mail us on

If you would like to join us for a veggie dining experience, you can sign up on the Internations website. Just look for Riyadh Vegetarians and Friends and join over 250 foodies from 46 countries. Looking forward to dining together soon…





Read more

The Saudi Cultural Heritage Cookbook project

WSB Admin 25/08/2019 0

By Sahar El Jamal

I am Sahar El Jamal, a mom of two wonderful daughters, with a great passion for providing an extraordinary food experience. I started Nouraya Gourmet, as a home-based catering company, five years ago, out of a huge passion and a long family history in culinary and sweets manufacturing that dates back to more than one hundred years ago.

At Nouraya Gourmet, we reinvent your moms’ recipes and we modernize the culinary traditions. We always believed in the simple comfort and nostalgic pleasure in food that gathers people, revives memories and puts a smile on the face.

A page from the cookbook

One year ago we started a new project that complements Nouraya’s vision. The story started when I met two Spanish ladies who had the vision to create the first Arabic/English Saudi Cultural Heritage Cookbook. Together with a beautiful Saudi lady that embraced and supported the idea and helped in making it happen, a talented Columbian photographer that captured mouth-watering photos, the journey started! The book revives the Saudi culinary traditions; it consists of old traditional recipes cooked only by Saudi women and presented by our team with a modern twist. We travelled throughout the country, from Riyadh to Jeddah, to Dammam, Ihsa, Jouf, Abha and many other places to cook with the locals and to hunt for more and more recipes.

Interested to try some Saudi dish? Here is the Marquq recipe

Al-Marquq is a popular Saudi food famous for the Najd region. Although most Saudi dishes depend on rice, there are few that use the whole wheat instead, and Al Marquq is one of them.

Al Marquq

Cooking Time: 120 minutes

Serves 5 people

Dough Ingredients:

  • 1 ½ cup wheat flour
  • Salt
  • ½ cup Water

Stew Ingredients:

  • 1 kilo meat chopped with bones
  • 2 small onions chopped
  • 1 tbsp. ghee
  • 3 medium tomatoes chopped
  • 3 tbsp. tomato paste
  • 1 cup pumpkin diced
  • 1 cup squash diced
  • 1 cup green beans diced
  • 1 cup eggplant diced
  • 1 tbsp. “Baharat”
  • 1 cinnamon stick
  • 1 tbsp. cardamom
  • 1 tbsp. whole black peppers
  • 1 tbsp. cloves
  • 4 lumi
  • 1 tbsp. salt
  • 2 hot green peppers


  • Sift the flour into a bowl, then add the salt and water, knead the ingredients well until getting soft and light dough. Divide the dough into round mid-sized pieces.
  • Coat the dough balls with oil, cover and set aside to rest.
  • In a heavy saucepan heat the ghee over moderate heat and sauté the onions until softened. Add the cloves, cinnamon, cardamom, and black pepper, lumi, stirring for one minute, until mixture is fragrant.
  • Add the meat pieces and cook until browned from all sides.
  • Season with salt and “baharat” and cook, stirring frequently, for 1 minute.
  • Stir in the tomatoes and tomato paste. Cook until the tomatoes soften.
  • Add 2 litres of water to the meat mixture and simmer, covered, until the meat is half cooked.
  • Stir the vegetables into the meat broth; continue cooking for 15 more minutes.
  • During this time, flatten the dough pieces and shape each piece into a circle, put it over the boiling stew and leave it for 3-5 minutes then push it aside and to the bottom, then add a new one and so on until all the dough is used.
  • Cook on low heat about one hour then serve.


Read more

Finding joy in the ‘Here and Now’ and celebrating it!

WSB Admin 25/08/2019 0

By Lizzie Daniell

There are always reasons to celebrate, be joyful and thankful for life and nothing is more powerful than doing so ‘every second of every minute of every day’. But is this easy to do, (hmm) especially as life has a way of throwing curveballs when we least expect it?

Those of you who have followed some of my blogs, know that when we choose to celebrate and find joy in where we are, things start to look different and feel better; decisions we make seem to happen for the right reasons, which open up so much more for us than expected. It’s that ‘positive attitude’ thing again that can change a sad, miserable day into a light, happy one! But it is not always easy, I know.

Question: So what can we do to help change negatives to positives….?

My answer: Maybe look within ourselves first, to see if we are being ruled by our head (fear/anxiety/worry) or our heart (truth) and see if we can connect them both to give a more rounded picture of JOY in our Here and Now existence!

The joy of the ‘here and now’ for me in Riyadh at the moment, is having the privilege of mixing with so many amazing people of all nationalities and learning we are all the same when it comes to those curveballs. That by listening, being patient, honest, kind, thankful and positive, we have a chance to shift our energy and celebrate ourselves and others.

When I want/need to shift my energy, I look around me and see what is good in my life to celebrate and what reminds me to smile. At this very point, today, now, in Riyadh… I celebrate:

  • Warm sunny days – no humidity!
  • Peace on the roads – I’m driving
  • FaceTiming family and friends – far and wide
  • The buzz of Oud Square
  • Oz Yoga
  • My gorgeous husband and home
  • Lights in palm trees
  • Green parks
  • Friends
  • Colourful flags waving across the city
  • My wonderful job and colleagues
  • The positive energy shared by others
  • Organic food
  • Daily meditation
  • Friday brunches
  • Riyadh Park Mall

There are always negative things around us and things we choose not to see – maybe because we can’t make a difference, or they upset us. Let’s try not to focus on these, but look at what is good, what we can change and where we can make a difference – under grace and in a positive way, obviously! Try to take small steps in that right direction.

Always remember to LOVE where you are

What do you see today that brings you joy and helps you look differently on the world? I would love to hear how you celebrate finding the joy!

Sending so much love and joy, until next time …..

To be part of my community, please view my website or if you would like to share your story, please email




Read more

Why we love Riyadh

WSB Admin 25/08/2019 0

By Saima Nadeem

Are you a Riyadhian or planning to move here? Let me tell you, you are going to love this city. There would be many people telling you Riyadh is dry, it’s a boring city blah blah. But trust me, it all depends on you. If you are a boring person, you will never enjoy here. And if you are a fun-loving person like me, lol. You would love this amazing city. I love Riyadh.

It doesn’t matter if you came here on visit purpose or you stay here for long. Or you are a mommy or a single girl or a single guy or a father, you can equally enjoy here. Check out these awesome reasons:

Magnificent Shopping malls 

If you want to see the future of shopping malls and those big breathtaking stores and awesome brands, Riyadh is the place. The malls here are no less than the malls in New York City so you are going to love these if you love to shop or just roam around, like me!

So many Kid-friendly places 

I have two kids and if you ask me if I am happy here, I would say yes I am! Because you just have to search and go out to have fun. There are so many big and spectacular kids play areas like Saffouri land, Sparky’s , Al Hokair land, Dinosaur park and sand play areas as well. There are parks like Salaam park, Abdullah Park and Diriya and even a stadium too where you can take your kids. Most of the hotels and schools have swimming pools and basketball courts where you can go and have fun. There are unlimited options. Riyadh zoo is also a nice place to spend your weekend.

Visit Saudi historical buildings 

If you love art and history, you would love the Musmak castle. It’s awesome and a must-visit place if you are in Riyadh. There are so many other places as well like historical Diriya where you can go on a weekend and have fun while praising the big castles and architecture.

Lots of love,


I am Saima Nadeem and I am a Riyadh based influencer.

Read more

Grow your own business at SHEWORKS, Riyadh

WSB Admin 27/05/2019 0

By Maha Shirah

Sheworks is a co-working space for women, probably the first in Riyadh. It is licensed by “Monshaat” the Small & Medium Enterprises Authority and Riyadh Municipality.

Our mission is to help all female entrepreneurs, start-ups & and freelancers to start their projects no matter how big or small it is. Whether you are Saudi or not, we are here to offer you our help. SheWorks is not just a co-working space, it is a community of talented women from all over the world where they work, meet & evolve.

To all talented ladies (expats and locals ) SheWorks offer the following services:

  1. Designated desks in our shared office area for rent (per month/ 3 months/ 6 months)

 Note: To apply for a SAGIA license, you need a 1 year contract. You can be a freelancer and still rent an office, no visa/iqama transfer is required as long as your iqama is valid and legal. 

A 1 month subscription includes:

Free membership to all SheWorks events and activities + a designated desk + small cabinet + 12 hours free/ per month in one of our meeting rooms + free access card + free wifi & coffee + access from 9 am – 9 pm+ 15%  off lecture room rent +  usage of mail address + free 1 business consultation session.

15% discount on 3-month contracts and 20% discount on 6-month subscription.

2- Business Lounge subscription: (1 Month/3 Months / 6 Months / 1 Year )

1-month subscription includes: free membership to all SheWorks events & activities

Free seating in lounge + booth ( first come first serve) + free wifi & coffee + access from 9 am – 9 pm

3-Virtual office for rent ( special contract) 

4- Meeting rooms for rent per hour

5- Lecture room for rent (Per hour/Half day /Full day) 

6- Special Discounts on Partner Services

Sheworks customers are eligible for special discounts with some of our strategic partners such as Al-Warefah government agency / Salla online e-commerce app/ Al Aqad law firm

7- Expansion Plans:

We are designing our second office which will include our private offices (that will be available soon and rent per year only ) that will have municipality licenses on them.

* SheWorks are offering WSB members an extra 10% off discount on all services valid until June 31, 2019

Please use the code SHEWORKS-WSB. For more information please contact / English +966-505-71-4747/ Arabic +966-535-94-6054

Options to work in KSA:

  1. Freelance – If you would like to work as a freelancer, SheWorks can help you get a desk, meet your clients, and even market your work. You just need a valid visa/iqama (it doesn’t need to be transferrable because you won’t be under our sponsorship)

You can also host events at SHEWORKS. Bring your talent and skills. We welcome, photographers, graphic designers, interior designers, fashion designers, dancers, yoga instructors, cartoonist, copyrighters.. etc

We don’t accept anything medical or psychological due to their critical cases

  1. MAROOF – if you have your own online store or you sell via Instagram you can register it on Maroof ( a digital free platform to authenticate your existence, it is not a market place). No CR is required only your ID). If you have a CR, you receive the Golden Maroof Membership.


3. Entrepreneur- You will need a contract (an annual or semi-annual contract) with one of the registered licensed co-working spaces that exist in Saudi ( such as SHEWORKS). Then go to SAGIA’s online website Services check Investor manual, we suggest you read it first. Then click E-services, investor registration, quick registration where you will fill your application. Then your documents will be checked. Once approved you will pay SAR. 2000 for the Commercial Record. Then you open an account in other government entities (Ministry of Labour/ Zakat & Tax Authority/GOSI/.. etc). You can also do all this in person at their office.

Regular VAT is applied to those who generate a minimum of $100,000 per year. The entrepreneur needs to register at the Zakat & Tax Authority and pay 5% VAT every 3 months.  If your income exceeds SAR. 1 Million per year, you must pay VAT every month.

For expats, the income taxes are 20% /per year and they don’t pay Zakat.


Address: Takhasusi st., Al-Rabie area, Riyadh


Read more

Visit Bulgaria, the jewel of Europe

WSB Admin 27/05/2019 0

By Rositsa Dorovska

Are you planning a European escape from the upcoming heat, this summer? Sandy beaches, green mountains, hot springs, spa and wellness services, urban vibes, cosy atmosphere…If your vacation dreams are made of these, but you are bored of the cliched destinations, then you have to visit Bulgaria. The eastern European country has even much more to offer for every taste and budget.

Speaking about taste, I mean that literally… You’ll leave forever obsessed, with the local cuisine. The mouth melting rose tomatoes (way better than the Italian ones), the plethora of fresh fruits, the world-renowned Bulgarian yoghurt. Ask the Japanese, who are crazy about that centuries old,  home recipe for eternal youth and health. Thick and creamy, containing the unique flavour of the country – Lactobacillus bulgaricus,  the homemade yoghurt goes best with another secret for long life – the Bulgarian honey and its subproduct. These are just a few of the national superfoods, worth mentioning. You can indulge in a variety of Bulgarian dishes whether somewhere in the countryside, surrounded by breathtaking views in an authentic, village atmosphere, or in the city. The gastronomy scene is booming throughout the big cities, with a modern twist on the traditional culinary, so be ready to eat yourself out.

If you feel like craving more soul food than Bulgaria is the right choice again. Check your history knowledge about the oldest country in Europe. Artefacts, Roman ruins, Thracian traces, archaeological sites are basically everywhere. You’ll stumble upon them, while simply crossing the busy streets of Sofia, the vibrant capital city. Right at the downtown is the biggest open-air museum of the country – the ancient Roman city of Serdica. Above the site are located the main government institutions. Nearby is the Sofia History Museum. You can pay a visit with free Sofia tours groups. Well informed, English speaking and friendly young guides are volunteering to maintain these tours, which cost nothing. Don‘t hesitate to explore the city with them. You’ll be fascinated by the charming streets, the mixture of Austrian style architecture, new office buildings, old fashioned neighbourhoods. Art season is permanent within the numerous galleries, theatres, contemporary spaces.

Apart from the art season, the moderate climate makes Bulgaria a great destination all through the year. Sofia is the only city in Europe with an adjacent mountain – Vitosha. Skiing during the winter, hiking, paragliding, during the spring and name the activity. Many more mountains and picturesque nature are waiting for you to discover them..

If you are longing for the sea, instead, you can even combine it with the mountain at the south, while the north-most part features rocky headlands, where the sea meets grandiose cliffs, some of them 70meters high. In between the north and the southern coastline, there are major cities like Burgas and Varna (the maritime capital of Bulgaria), numerous resorts – some of them,  offering party nightlife, others – calm, quality unwinds for the whole family. And of course, historical sites, ancient routes and villages. The gold treasure, discovered in Varna Necropolis is one of the oldest in the world, dates back, estimated around 5000 BC. Just saying…

Even older is the city of Plovdiv. The second largest town in Bulgaria. This year, the city is the European capital of culture, along with Matera, Italy. The Roman theatre is one of the most recognisable landmarks of Plovdiv and it’s among the best preserved Roman theatres in the world.. For contemporary art lovers, the Kapana creative district is a must see. For the ethnology enthusiasts, highly recommended are the architectural ethnographic cities, like Koprivshtica and Etara (Gabrovo).

Arts and crafts connoisseurs will be delighted by the craftsmanship, well preserved and traditional for the city of Troyan. Named after the Roman emperor Trajan, the town is snuggled in the Balkan mountain and it’s famous not only with the pottery and ceramics but with an excellent spa, village tourism and extreme sports conditions…

Whatever vacation plans you may have, Bulgaria can deliver more than expected. Just don’t forget that compared to the rest of the world, Bulgarians are shaking their heads for approval and are using nodding for “no“.

For visa and travel information about Bulgaria, you can contact the Bulgarian Embassy in KSA. Bulgarian embassy in KSA

Read more

Finding the Joy in a Staycation

WSB Admin 27/05/2019 0

By Lizzie Daniell

Finding the Joy in staying at home and not travelling! You can you know – apparently!

With Eid just around the corner and summer holidays waiting to happen with anticipation; we all love the prospect of looking forward to travels and holidays. The joy of getting together with family and friends, seeing the world, sitting on a beach and travelling high above the clouds!

But sometimes there is joy in deciding to stay put and just being at home (Staycation it’s called in today’s world I believe) … yes really? It’s just about how we look at things and what we want to achieve when we have time off. Probably absolutely nothing 😀

I don’t know about you, but as expats when you whizz back home – which is a wonderful thing to do – we often find there is no relaxation included, probably of our own making.

It’s wonderful to be blessed with family and friends who want to see us, though we spend much of our time whizzing between ‘pillar and post’ to make sure we see everyone within a short timescale. With laughs and joy obviously; but where does the ‘taking time for oneself come in?’ Not that I am at all complaining, one little bit, I am so blessed to have a family – it just means, where do I find me!

It is very rare that I look at not packing that bag for a long weekend back in the UK or further afield. Cramming in so much to do and people to see (not wanting to let anyone down). The bit I find difficult is deciding to just be and enjoy the comfort of my own home and not looking outward.

Note to self: Something I need to look at as I continue to grow up! 

Do you find it easy, or is it just me?

I’m not called Lizzie Whizz for nothing, but as my wonderful friend Barbara reminded me, its all about choosing ‘self-love’ – even if only occasionally.

It’s not easy to say ‘not this time’ or ‘put oneself above others’, particularly our absent families. But this practice is probably down to what we have been taught (which I love), what we know and are expected to do, plus it’s good to do, right? Well… yes and no!

If we choose self-love, it means I choose me this time and want to listen to how I feel or what my body is telling me – under grace and in the perfect way!

If we are visible to ourselves, others will feel and hear what we are trying to say, without judgement or anger – the words have a sense of presence and somehow get heard in the right way. As opposed to saying yes and then resenting the decision, which then trickles down to those we have decided to spend time with. Which do you think people would prefer – honestly?

It also means that our children, should we be lucky to have them, will hear that as they go through life, it’s okay to say… ‘do you mind if I don’t this time, but soon!’

I preach this to others when asked my opinion, but do I practice it myself?… well I’m learning to, which is not always easy as a mother.

As I sit here in our wonderful garden in Saudi, with the sun just above me and a sense of calm all around; it makes me see why it’s okay to have that ‘staycation’ and honour my own wants with joy and love… occasionally at least.

I know my lovely husband Peter would appreciate me staying still every once in a while and looking inward – as would our grown-up kids! I am learning that by being honest, we acknowledge that we are not superhuman and even though we would truly want to jump on that plane at a drop of a hat, sometimes it’s better for all to stop and stay!

So whatever you decide to do with your travels.. may they come from a choice of worthiness, self-love and joy – I’m going to try and give it a go!

Sending so much joy and love until the next time …..

To be part of my community, please view my website or if you would like to share your story, please email





Read more

Al Batha 2019

WSB Admin 27/05/2019 0

By Nyree Cox

The Al Batha neighbourhood is in southern Riyadh.

It’s crowded, chaotic, colourful and comprises different ethnic areas – each exploding with its own cuisine and culture. Nations including India, Pakistan, Bangladesh, Nepal, Sri Lanka, Syria, Yemen and the Philippines are all represented.

There are shops producing everything from camping equipment to discount clothing – hundreds of tailors sitting at their sewing machines overlooking the crowded streets.  These talented men can make literally anything and the workmanship is superb.

Delicious honey from Yemen, head scarfs of every colour and quality, abayas, thobes, the gold souq, ayurvedic medicine stores, my favourite Indian supermarket, mechanical workshops next door to Pakistani restaurants all co-exist within the confines of a few city blocks.

Weekends in the Middle East are enjoyed on Friday and Saturday.  Many work 6 days a week.  Friday is the not negotiable day – everyone gets Friday off.  After lunch on Friday is the best time to visit Al Batha.

Middle Eastern sweet stalls, holes in the wall selling samosa (sambusas) and bhaji’s, roasted nuts and cobs of corn cooked on the footpath.  Blackened woks sit over open flames alongside vendors selling fruit and vegetables from wheelbarrows. Sugarcane juice, fresh coconuts shredded while you wait, cheap electronics, fake everything, handmade musical instruments, baskets and ceramics.

Money exchange offices are prolific with expat workers queuing in long lines to wire money home to loved ones, sidewalk auctions selling second-hand mobile phones, the list is endless…

People everywhere bartering their way through life in this melting pot of nations.

Men prevail in Al Batha but there are women peppered throughout the crowd – all covered in conservative dress and very rarely alone.  Groups of two or three usually.  I never fear for my safety.

Restaurants are overflowing with customers. There are very few knives and forks, everyone eating with their hands, lots of plastic tablecloths and chairs.  No napkins – just a box of tissues on each table should you need one after devouring a tasty Biriyani or curry.  The way these people massage and manoeuvre food around a plate or banana leaf with one hand is poetry.  No Michelin stars here but who needs that.

There is never any aggression, people wave and stand back to let you pass by, no one is impatient while waiting in line, everyone is smiling, there is no road rage (there is a lot of horn honking but it seems friendly and merely precautionary), and I repeat literally everyone is smiling – and that is not because I carry a camera.

Thousands of people just doing their thing and it all seems to work.  Yes, it smells and it’s dirty, you need eyes in the back of your head to avoid the infinite modes of transport but it all hums along.

These are some of the poorest people in our community – they work hard, earn very little, they buy only what they need, have a strong faith and they seem to me to be some of the happiest people I know.

Thank you Al Batha, you are a breath of fresh air in this world of competition and wants and what ifs…

As Saudi Arabia continues with the implementation of Vision2030 and heads towards a more “western” model, I do hope everything that makes this neighbourhood so vibrant, so simple and so wonderful stays exactly as it is.



Read more