We asked 15 islanders for their pledges - and then offer a helping hand
Time Out Bahrain staff
The artist Yasmin Sharabi Curator, art consultant and manager of ‘The Waterline’ art space in Bahrain Financial Harbour which supports and develops local arts. An artist herself, Yasmin is well aware of the challenges her fellow artists face when trying to develop and expose their work in Bahrain or abroad and she aims to help.
She says: ‘One resolution is to focus on developing my own artwork and to seek out inspiration in order to do this.
Helpful hint: New experiences always offer inspiration - see our suggestions for things to do in 2014 at the end of this feature.
The banker Aghar Kanafani Lebanese Aghar is 53 and has been in the banking industry for 30 years, most of which have been in the Middle East and across the GCC - Lebanon, Kuwait, UAE and Bahrain, where he currently works with Credit Libanais. He’s married with a beautiful 12-year-old daughter Rachel and a baby son on the way.
Aghar says: ‘My 2014 resolution is to lose 15 to 20kg, and get back to my previous energy and athletic levels. I am determined to reach an initial goal of losing 10kg by March 2014. To achieve this goal, I am planning to follow a healthy protein diet, away from carbs and sugar. I’ll add to this frequent exercise and will play outdoor basketball, my all-time favourite sport. In addition, I have also committed to a personal bet, with a close friend, whereby he agreed to stop smoking for three months, while I lose the weight. Whoever breaches the challenge will settle the agreed bet of BD500! In short, this will be a combination of positive and negative encouragement – in short, no pain, no gain!
Helpful hint: Aghar could give his weight loss a kick-start by signing up for a boot camp where he’d get a structured nutrition and training programme and have the added incentive of committing to a set number of sessions per week. See our Sport section for details.
The businessman Julian Clarke-Jervoise Julian is founding partner of Fresh Insight Associates a Bahrain-based consumer and stakeholder engagement consultancy. He’s lived in Bahrain with wife Angella for five years and the couple recently welcomed their first child, Hugo.
Julian says: ‘Having just been rudely pushed into the deep end of the gene pool with the arrival of Hugo, our powerful-lunged and -digestive-systemed baby boy, Angella and I are still keeping our heads above water and other baby substances. My New Year’s resolution for 2014 is to focus on building Hugo’s own revenue generation through social media via YouTube, Twitter, Facebook and Google+(whatever that is) by posting cute photos and videos of his antics with our pet spaniel Ruby, various household appliances, custard and bubble bath to pay for his education. Helpful hint: Get Hugo a manager and a bank account.
The chef Theo Botha South African Theo has been the executive chef at the award-winning Royal Golf Club since 2011 before which he worked at properties worldwide including the best country club in Florida, USA. He’s also worked alongside some of the UK’s best Michelin-starred chefs and has cooked for various celebrities including tennis player Andy Roddick and celebrity chef Gordon Ramsey.
He says: My New Year’s resolution is to become a specialist in fitness nutrition. I will be embarking on an eight-month course and I am committing to studying for at least one hour every day. On successful completion of the course, I will be better able to prepare special meals for professional athletes (ie golfers) and create dishes for guests with specific dietary or nutritional requirements.
Helpful hint: Bahrain-based lifestyle coach Kelly Armatage’s top tips for goal achievement: 1 Schedule every evening the goals that need to be carried out the next day. Be specific with what needs to be done.
2 Find a way to get enthusiastic, confident and upbeat about the tasks that are ahead AND maintain that emotional vibration throughout.
3 Action Action Action - be prepared to take massive action towards the completion of your goals. We cannot just get curious about our goals, we need to take action every step of the way. Be relentless in your grit and persistence! www.kellyarmatage.com
The DJ Sami Dee Sami grew up in Lancashire, England, where he started DJing and collecting house records around the age of 12. He moved to London at 19, and played there and in Yorkshire before relocating to Bahrain in 2009. He’s played alongside big names and at venues from the Ministry of Sound in London to Elvis in Thessaloniki, Greece, and in April 2012 he formed art.haus, a club night for Bahrain’s true house and techno enthusiasts, which currently has a monthly residency at Brazil Lounge, Adliya. He’s also one of the six-man Bahrain Music Conference team.
He says: ‘My New Year’s resolution is to learn to play a musical instrument. As music has always been a big part of my life, learning to play an instrument is something I’ve wanted to do for years. However, the time and patience required to do so has continually escaped me. First off, I need to choose an instrument. I’d be happy with a small keyboard or some bongo drums, maybe Santa will bring me a set. Next, I need to find some books and websites that can teach me how to play. I don’t recall any of my high school friends saying they enjoyed their private music lessons. And lastly, I want to get involved in a weekly jam session. Collaborating with other artists is more fun than practising solo.’
Helpful hint: Check out Room2Rock, which has both instruments and music lessons (17 611 785). Also take a look at Bahrain Music Institute (17 721 999). And for the jam sessions, look up Bahrain Acoustic Music Group which meets twice a month to play all sorts of sounds call (39 198 302) for details of times and venues.
The hotelier Patrick De Groot Patrick is the man in charge of one of Bahrain’s newest hotel offerings, The Domain. A Dutch national, he’s had a robust career in hospitality specialising in hotel development and strategic marketing and has worked for nearly 20 years in the Middle and Far East operating across languages and cultures in 14 different countries.
As well as building his product and making The Domain a household name in Bahrain, Patrick says: ‘In 2014 I will continue our drive to make our carbon footprint as small as possible, without affecting our guest and member experience. The introduction of our own water, bottled on site under the ‘The Domain’ private label is one perfect example of how the hospitality industry can make a serious impact. The volume of bottled water that is transported all over the world is rather ridiculous and really not necessary. So we serve our guests our preferred water label as a win-win-win proposition.’ Helpful hint: Make a date with the 6th Annual Food and Hospitality Expo which takes place at the Bahrain International Exhibition Centre from April 15-17 for lots more ideas on greening in the industry.
The ‘Lady in Red’ Dunja Pavicic Dunja is a Kempinski ‘Lady in Red’ a brand ambassador who welcomes both regular and VIP guests and is their ‘go to’ person throughout the course of their stay. She speaks English, Spanish, German and her mother tongue, Croatian, so she’s seldom lost for words but time’s another matter.
She says: ‘In 2014 I aim to concentrate on personal and career development and growth. I plan to achieve this by continuously keeping up to date in hospitality industry trends, increasing my knowledge and preparing myself for the next step on the career ladder.’
Helpful hint: Connect with the local branch of bizladies, the women’s business networking group, which has regular talks and seminars on career development and the latest practices in the workplace plus networking events to meet up with likeminded career women. www.bizladies.org/bah
The musician/artist Zain Al Ansari A communications design graduate, Zain is currently embarking on a career path as an independent creative. She is a freelancer adeptly working music, fine arts and design projects in tandem. Art projects include workshops for kids for the Ministry of Culture’s Summer of Bahrain 2013 and a sail painting Ministry of Culture project for the coming Annual Fine Arts Expo. She’s recently taken to the stage at the Bab Market, Al Dar Eclipse Party and FarmFest and, having discovered a mutual affinity for creativity and expression, she is more than happy to offer her skilled and unique perspective to others looking to find their voice and indeed make it sing.
She says: ‘In 2014 I want to establish a presence in national and regional creative communities, and begin the launch of an international enterprise in ‘Skullphood’ (her own brand). I’ll be working hard and steadily at any and all creative jobs I feasibly can. Applying focus and dedication to each project, taking it step by step. Researching and utilising social media as the unprecedented new launch pad it is. To learn more about Zain’s work check out instagram @skullphood. Helpful hint: Check out cargocollective.com/thedoubt a resource for Bahrain-based creatives offering advice and opportunities for artists to get exposure for their work.
The personal trainer Gill Hamblin Personal trainer and group exercise instructor Gill, 46, moved to the island in 2008 with her partner Paul to open a health club in Manama. She’s currently a freelance personal trainer who says ‘it’s a very fulfilling role, I get to create changes in clients’ appearance and lifestyle which also gives them self confidence’.
This month the couple will be opening their own Reps Fitness Studios in Juffair doing personal training and the internationally-known Les Mills classes. Check out Gill’s Facebook page for details. She says: ‘I have met and made so many amazing new friends here and in the UAE which makes living and working in another country easier when your family are far away but sometimes time passes by so quickly that we realise we haven’t made that phone call home that we meant to make or we haven’t Skyped for a while, which is why my New Year resolution for 2014 is to make more time to regularly contact family and friends at home.
Helpful hint: Got a camera option on your computer? Then check out the video calling function on Facebook. Chances are, if you’re below 40 you’re already well acquainted with this. If not, go into the chat section, choose the person you want to chat with and click on the video icon, it will dial them up and you can chat face to face for free. It’s pretty much the same as Skype but means you can get in touch on the spur of the moment when you see someone’s online and they pop into your head rather than having to set up a Skype date.
The restaurateur George Cherian George came from Malaysia many years ago, fell in love with Bahrain and met his wife Meher here. The couple went on to have two sons together, Rayan and Daniel who were both born here. In 2001, he realised his dream of getting into the food and beverage industry when he joined Upstairs Downstairs restaurant as manager. There was a brief stint away from ‘Up n Down’ in 2012 but regulars were glad to see him back to oversee the makeover and relaunch in 2013. He promises an exciting year in 2014 with new plans, ideas and events.
George says: ‘My New Year’s resolution is to exercise more and get fit, mainly to get my wife and doctor off my back but more so for myself! But I plan to do it with a vengeance this time. I have been neglecting myself for too long and 2014 is going to be the new healthy George year, I hope!’
Helpful hint: Since the restaurant business means some pretty unsociable hours, it would be a good idea to sign up with a personal trainer to make sure you have scheduled fitness sessions that are non-negotiable (maybe Gill could help). Or check out Bahrain City Centre’s Mall Walkers programme, participants meet on Saturday, Monday and Wednesday mornings to trek kilometres round the island’s biggest mall. Workout sessions are thrown in and it’s before opening time so no excuses (17 177 777).
The teacher Stephanie Fennah Steph was born in Jubail, Saudi Arabia and completed her junior school education there before moving to boarding school in the UK followed by a degree at Oxford Brookes University and a post graduate degree in education. Having spent 25 years in the Middle East she’d developed a love of the people and the culture of the region and decided to take up a post in Bahrain where she teaches primary at the Nadeen School. Steph says: ‘I love living in Bahrain and feel that I can integrate myself into the local culture even more by learning to speak Arabic. As the new year is upon us I think my resolution must be to take on the challenge of learning to speak Arabic with the help of my partner.’
Helpful hint: Try classes at Berlitz (17 827 847) or Lingoease which promises to have you speaking Arabic in ten hours (17 590 895). Or see www.language-school-teachers.com for teachers.
The volunteer Helen Kennedy Helen was in the UK’s Royal Air Force for 23 years before joining her husband Chris here in Bahrain, where he works for a private airline. The couple have two sons, Cameron 17 and Fraser 12. Helen works in the Second Chance charity shop raising funds to help Tony the Dogfather’s Animal Rescue, Rehabilitation and Rehoming Centre.
The keen netballer says: ‘My New Year’s resolution, and it’s one I make every year, is to eat less calories. But I can almost guarantee it won’t last beyond January as I get bored and it’s hard living in a place where food is such a large part of the social life.’
Helpful hint: Helen could try meal delivery from the likes of Diet Delight (17 534 499) or Health Watchers (17 811 449) both of which will bring balanced meals to your home or workplace. Or see our recent Body & Mind feature from nutritionist Gabriella Melvin.
Team Time Out George Dipin Photographer George has been with Time Out Bahrain since the magazine launched on the island almost five years ago and before that he was with our parent company ITP in Dubai.
George has just become a new dad to a gorgeous daughter, Olive, and says: ‘My New Year’s resolution is to be the best dad I possibly can, even if that means leaving my multiple cameras behind in my holiday packing to fit in Pampers and baby formula. I’d also like to make time to watch a bit more of my favourite team the Chennai Superkings.’
Helpful hint: Buy a bigger suitcase and a DVD recorder and you and Olive could watch together for some dad and daughter bonding.
Pauline Marcombe-Fabre French national Pauline joined the team as sales manager at the beginning of 2013 and has been married to Greg for just over a year. He’s the general manager at Block 338 so she spends most of her time either at the office or in a bar, we wonder if life could possibly get better than that?
She says: ‘This year I’m definitely going to give up smoking once and for all and I’m also giving up trying with those electronic cigarettes after seeing a picture online of one that exploded! My willpower’s a bit rubbish so I’d welcome any and all suggestions on how to finally succeed.’
Helpful hint: There’s a stop smoking workshop with world expert Anna Vidali coming to Bahrain this month. Details can be found on www.mumsinbahrain.com. Alternatively, try acupuncture with Katie Stephens who can be contacted on (36 340 888).
Liz O'Reilly Time Out Bahrain’s editor Liz has been on the island five and a half years and, having acquired two rescue dogs in the last year or so, doesn’t look like leaving any time soon.
Liz says: ‘Every year I say I’m going to learn to sail or Scuba or complete a triathlon – I’ve not done any of them so far. But having recently returned from a weekend in Dubai to find one of my beloved mutts had climbed over the second floor roof onto my neighbour’s balcony and left a little ‘gift’, I’ve decided 2014 had better be the year of the canine good citizen with some serious doggy obedience training.
Helpful hint: Checkout private and group training sessions at the Delmon Kennels (17 694 066). Tails, the natural pet food people, also offer training advice on (77 113 332).