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A venue that launched originally in 1993 in Montreal, Canada, Eggspectation has branches across the globe and three in the UAE. We visited the newest venue at Matajer in University City, Sharjah. My presumption that this venue only served breakfast was blown away when we actually went for dinner. The menu has a huge breakfast section with signature dishes like Eggs Benedict and assorted omelets. But there are flatbreads, burgers, pasta, steaks, sandwiches, and salads too, all served in huge portion sizes.

A cozy, bright, and family style café, we sat in a booth and were first treated to fresh mocktails. One was the Green Light—a blend of baby spinach, apple, and mint blended to a gorgeous emerald green juice. Also—Tropical Paradise—banana, strawberry, raspberry, and mango with pineapple.

Being a Canadian chain, Eggspectation serves one of our family’s favorite dishes—poutain; a sumptuously comforting dish made with potatoes with a generous helping of meat gravy and cheese curds over it. We also tucked into cheese quesadillas, served with sour cream and salsa while the fried chicken and waffles were my favorite; the Belgium waffles topped with maple syrup and a generous portion of arugula salad, drizzled over with olive oil and lemon dressing and bits of fried chicken. I had eaten this a few times before and have always loved the contrast of flavors and textures.

The ever-favorite mac and cheese is one dish that always hits the right spot—this was no exception and was penne pasta mixed with a creamy cheese sauce served with a toasted garlic crostini.

The other we tried from the mains was the signature Bad Boy and indeed it was. A huge beef patty grilled perfectly, topped with crispy Angus beef and cheddar cheese. Topped with their special sauce, tomato, lettuce, and caramelized onions. This was served with sweet potato fries.

And mine—the breakfast for dinner masterpiece— The Southwest Sunrise; perfect for a cheese aficionado like myself; filled with Swiss, cheddar, and Gruyere cheeses with sautéed peppers. This is ten topped with fresh slices of avocado; their special salsa, and sour cream, served with a generous helping of Lyonnaise style potatoes. It was exactly how I like my omelets to be and even more with the special addition of fresh avocado and the seasoned potatoes.

Almost too stuffed too move, but never too full for dessert, we opted to share the French toast with Nutella, served with fresh bananas, strawberries and chocolate sauce—the perfect end to a lovely meal.

The Verdict: With huge portions, fresh food, and a wide variety of assorted dishes on tier menu, Eggspection surpassed my expectations and is now a clear-cut family favorite. Don’t miss it.

Visit: www.eggspectation.com

Instagram: Eggspectationuae

Location: Matajer Al Juraina, Sharjah University Area, UAE

Phone: (+971) 65550446

Hours: 7:00 am to 12:00 am

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Poor body confidence is an issue that many of us can relate to and struggle with. Loving and accepting yourself as you are comes from the mind, not your physique. Happiness and confidence does not arrive with a certain size or weight but rather with a healthy mindset.

Celebrity Trainer Heather Marr outlines her 3 tips below to help you get started.

1.Shift Your Focus

All too often we focus solely on our appearance. Rather than focusing on what our bodies look like, we can choose to shift our focus to what our bodies actually do for us. When we step back and really acknowledge all that our bodies are capable of and have done, it really puts things in perspective. instead of directing your attention to the scar you don’t like for instance, appreciate that you were capable of healing. Choose to find the positives, focus on your strengths and celebrate all that our bodies do for us with gratitude. Your perception is your reality.

2. Eradicate Negative Self-Talk

When negative, critical thoughts are popping up in your mind immediately shut them down. Don’t stop there either. For each of these negative thoughts you shut down, replace it with a positive one. At first you may have to fake it till you make it. You may not believe the positives in the beginning but overtime with repetition you will reprogram your thinking and yourself.

3. Avoid any Triggering Media

Purge your household of any magazines or publications that promote unrealistic body ideals. When choosing accounts to follow on social media be sure that they’re promoting body positivity and leave you feeling inspired, not dejected. Basically control what you allow into your space, time and mind. If it’s not moving you towards a positive place or you find it in anyway triggering then simply eliminate it. You control what occupies your space.

Credit:

Celebrity and model trainer

Heather Marr

http://www.liftologie.com/product/the-model-trainer-method/

Instagram: modeltrainermarr

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The Grove Merges an Eclectic Dining Experience with High Quality Middle Eastern Cuisine

Ajman has a hidden secret and it’s located at the Al Zorah Golf Club, overlooking the lush mangroves. The Grove is a recent addition to Ajman’s burgeoning food scene and is one place you definitely will not want to miss. The aesthetics of the venue are stunning; with a large deck that is ideal for al fresco dining and shisha as well.  Indoors, The Grove takes the same concept with an abundance of plants dotting the walls and even a huge tree in the middle of the venue. And don’t forget—it serves up fresh Levantine and Emirati dishes with aplomb.

We ordered two salads; the classic fattoush with greens seasoned with sumac and lemon and drizzle over with pomegranate molasses and crispy Arabic bread bits. The other was a baby spinach salad—also crisp, green and very fresh.

From the hot mezze we enjoyed the spicy potatoes (batata harira) which happens to be one of my favorite Levantine dishes and is essentially a platter of spicy potatoes with coriander and chili paste. We also tucked into the trio dips—a tray with muhammara—a spicy walnut spread, a creamy moutabal, and a classic hummous—all which went superbly with the freshly baked Arabic Bread which was constantly being replenished. And the cheese borek was crispy with a yummy warm cheese filling.

For our mains, we selected the kebob bazenjan which was a succulent, grilled kebob and eggplant skewers served with grilled onion and capsicum. The charcoal grill was also fantastic; an enormous platter of mix grilled meats and chicken including sheesh tawook, lamb chops, and kebob orfali served with a lovey garlic dip. And the favorite amongst these highlights was the chicken machboos—marinated chicken cooked with fragrant Emirati spices and loomi, served with basmati spiced rice. In between, we sipped some of the fresh juices on offer, including fresh watermelon and mixed fruit cocktails.

Desserts here are also mostly Arabic in origin and some highlights include the Kunafa Nabulsiya with the accompanying sweet syrup. We also tried the brownies and ice-cream as well as the Lotus cheesecake which was a lovely treat.

The Verdict: The Grove is a beautiful and tranquil venue in Ajman that serves up super fresh Middle Eastern food. It has taken up Ajman’s foodie scene up several notches and is a must-visit.

Visit: The Grove

Address: Al Ittihad St – Ajman

Phone: 06 539 5398

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The rise of social media and smart phone filters has led most people to create unrealistic expectations of what they should look like. This has also been amplified by ‘social media influencers’, and celebrities who seem to have what most term as the ‘perfect looks’ – from head to toe. In all this, plastic surgery has played a major role in body transformation for a big number of celebrities and reality TV stars around the world. Dr. Adnan Tahir – Consultant Plastic and Reconstruction Surgeon at Aesthetics by King’s College Hospital Dubai explains more.

  1. The right plastic surgeon

Choosing the right plastic surgeon should be at the top of your list. It’s not news that there are quacks out there masquerading as plastic surgeons. To know if a plastic surgeon is good or not, he/she should fit into a certain criterion. This includes but not limited to:

i) The plastic surgeon should be qualified, licensed, and accredited by a recognized board; in other words, board-certified. You should be able to see proof of this as well as be able to verify without question.

ii) The surgeon should also have sufficient experience in his/her trade. And to take it further, the said experience should be in the cosmetic procedures he says he’s an expert in.

iii)   The patient should be satisfied with the answers the plastic surgeon gives, and if at any point you feel unsatisfied with the information provided, you should not go ahead with the procedure.

iv) Make sure the surgeon shows you his ‘before & after’ photos of the procedure in question in addition to the reviews he has received from previous patients.

v) Be sure the plastic surgeon is operating in a licensed medical facility, and not in the basement of his villa, or apartment.

  1. Your goal should be to enhance your features, and not to completely change them

The purpose of cosmetic surgery is to naturally enhance one’s natural beauty and not to completely change your looks to the point of being unrecognizable. Extreme aesthetic procedures are not recommended, and any good plastic surgeon will advise you against it. I like to refer cosmetic surgery as “beauty made better” because that’s what it is.

  1. Just because Kim K. is doing it you don’t have to

The decision to have a plastic surgery procedure should not be driven by the need to look like your favourite celebrity, TV house wife or Barbie and Ken. This is mainly because your bone structures are different, and the results you get after the procedure will be nothing similar to that of the said celebrity. Also, bear in mind that most of the images you see of celebrities on social media are heavily photoshopped, so they might not look as perfect as you think they do.

  1. Social media should not dictate your looks

Lately, having an extreme hour-glass figure that includes a ‘snatched’ (thin) waist, and extra-large gluteal muscles has been trending on every social media platform. To achieve this kind of figure, one has to undergo extreme liposuction and large amounts of fat transfer or collagen-replacing injectables. Anyone in their right mind should not go the extra mile just to fit in with what’s on social media. A well contoured and symmetrical body is not only naturally beautiful, but realistic as well. Ask yourself this: what will happen to that extreme hour-glass figure once the fad fades out in a year or so?

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In Dubai, it can be hard to find that perfect, ‘go-to’ place for high quality, but fresh and healthy Thai food. Look no further than Fuchsia Urban Thai—a home grown concept with two branches in Dubai; one in Barsha and the newer one—which we visited—in Business Bay Square, Dubai. This three-year-old eatery is a family friendly space that has seating for around 110 persons, including outdoors, and even has a ping-pong table to play as you wait for your meal. The eatery prides itself on serving fresh and authentic Thai meals prepared by a Thai chef who understands the needs of Dubai’s multi-cultural palette.

The latest concept is a Tapas menu which is specifically designed with four dishes in one set, each meant to provide that perfect, harmonious Thai meal experience. There are five different variations of the Tapas sets and add-ons are available. Each set is tailor made to provide dishes that perfectly complement one another on one tray. Before tucking into our Tapas sets, we enjoyed a few choice starters—a hearty and soothing Tom Yum soup, wok fried chili chicken, and Thai spring rolls. We also enjoyed fresh coconut water and Thai iced tea, both thirst quenching during Dubai’s summer heat.

We chose the “Curry in a Hurry” which was a complete meal, all-in-one and that too with some of my favorites. So I tucked into the crispy prawn crackers with seasonal veggie tempura served with sweet chili sauce. I prefer the creaminess of green Thai curry with chicken which I had with their super popular “purple rice.” This rice was similar to jasmine, but had a unique kick and was gorgeous to look at.

Our other Tapas set was the “The Power” which was homemade juicy chicken satay with the quintessential peanut sauce, crispy Thai spring rolls, and a red based chicken curry with cashew nuts. This we tried with the jasmine rice. The portion sizes are just right with enough food on one Tapas try for one person.

Staying within the theme, desserts here are also authentically Thai, and we really enjoyed the banana fritters served crispy and piping hot with vanilla ice cream. My favorite was the coconut pancakes with pandan custard. These were small, fluffy buttermilk pancakes infused with fresh coconut to which I added a generous coating of the bright green pandan sauce. It was satisfying and hit the sweet tooth cravings without being over sweet or heavy.

The Verdict: Our new ‘go to’ for authentic, fresh, and delicious Thai food in a very relaxed and family-style environment with very friendly service.  

Visit: www.fuchsiame.com

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We all know that happiness is a journey, not a final destination. But along the ay there are some easy ways to increase the joy quotient into our lives, as follows.

Eat a Happy Diet

Eat more whole-foods like fruits, vegetables, dark chocolates, nuts, seeds, eggs, salmon, and dried fruits. These foods are packed with antioxidants, vitamin B12, and omega 3, which will keep you feeling good. Aim to avoid processed foods which give a minor spike of happiness, but will entail a sudden crash associated with sad feeling, just after a few minutes.

Get Outside

Low levels of vitamin D have been linked with depression, so wear your comfortable shoes, and go out for a walk. Even the greenery and nature along with physical activity has a positive impact on your brain, gets stimulated, and releases endorphins, to give you that very happy feeling.

Nurture Spirituality

Depression and other mood disorders are linked with having low-spiritual connection. So, harness one. Nurture your belief in a One Supreme Authority, and His powers, and look as things change. It will make you more content, and will you to a more positive outlook about life.

Keep a Gratitude Journal

Make it a habit to jot down at least one solid reason you feel gratitude today—be it the love you felt from a friend to the ability to enjoy a meal, the point is to acknowledge and consciously note down what you feel and why. Also, looking at people less privileged from oneself will definitely make one grateful, and glad.

 

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Sometimes the only thing you really need to get your back on track is a steaming, fresh hot bowl of cheesy pasta with all the Italian accompaniments. And this is exactly what we got and more at Buca di Beppo, an Italian eatery straight from the US, at Festival City in Dubai. The space is divided into a grape room, a poster room, and a room that overlooks views of the waterways facing Festival City. With seating for almost 260, the eatery is spacious, comfortable, and completely family friendly.

The menu is divided into starters, pasta, pizza, and mains, as well as a fun virgin beverage menu from which tried the virgin strawberry magaritas’ and a strawberry passion fruit mocktail. This was followed by some choice starters including my favorite Mozzarella Capresse followed by a large Buca trio platter which held the quintessential fritto misto items—fried calamari, fried mozzarella, and spicy

shrimp served with a homemade marinara sauce.

From the mains, we opted for a variety of assorted pasta dishes as well as their famed Supremo Italiano pizza. So the signature spaghetti with meatballs came with a half-pound meatball atop spaghetti with marinara  sauce which was not only hearty, but packed with flavor. The cheese manicotti was a dream for cheese lover like me packed with three different kinds of cheese—topped with a creamy Alfredo sauce and drizzles of homemade marinara sauce.

And the shrimp Florentina was loaded with garlic shrimp and crushed red pepper with a light, spicy tomato sauce. Our pizza was the Supremo Pizza with spicy Italian beef sausage, beef pepperoni, bell peppers, onions, and a yummy meat sauce. It’s presented on top of an empty large tin can which gives it a unique aesthetic twist. And from the non-pasta main dishes, we sampled the Salmon Sorrento which was a well-seasoned grilled salmon fillet with lemon butter, served with tomatoes and capers.

Despite our groaning tummies, we are always ready and eagerly willing to tuck into desserts. We indulged in the Italian cheesecake which was rich, dense and not too sweet—the way I like it. And the brownie ice cream which had scoops of ice cream over in-house baked brownies.

The Verdict: Buca di Beppo is a really good place to indulge your cravings for authentic, flavorful Italian food in a really friendly and family friendly ambiance. The views are spectacular here and the service is relaxed and friendly.

Visit: Festival City Mall – Ground floor; 971 4 286 5057

Website: www.bucadibeppo.com/restaurants/international

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While WhatsApp messaging, texting, and the ubiquitous Facebook wall posting definitely has its advantages, the art of conversation may soon be extinct, as those who remember the days of dialogue without a device, become outnumbered by those who do not.

If people aren’t engaged in social media or entertainment, then they are texting or talking on the phone. While modern day society lauds advanced technological forms of fast communication, these newer forms of communication can actually increase the risk of miscommunication because so much communication is influenced by individual perception. While sometimes short messages can be useful and are necessary, but at the same time they don’t allow for explanations when required and can come across as rude. Also, some forms of technology allow the sender to see if the message has been received—and many people feel hurt that it took ‘so long’ for a reply after the message—implying ‘she must not really care’.” This emotional response doesn’t take into account the context of the receiver’s environment. And Facebook communicates information pictorially as well as in the written form and can sometimes give away more information than one would like to communicate, especially to a wider audience—who you were sitting with at a party and were you having fun or not can be mistakenly perceived as something it really is not. In fact, a recent study conducted by Carnegie Mellon University concludes that Internet use leads to small, but statistically significant increases in misery and loneliness and a decline in overall psychological well-being (American Psychological Association, 1998). The project studied a sample of 169 people in Pittsburgh (USA) during their first year or two online. Data showed that as people in this sample used the Internet more, they reported keeping up with fewer friends. They also reported spending less time talking with their families, experiencing more daily stress, and feeling more lonely and depressed. These results occurred even though interpersonal communication was their most important reason for using the Internet.

Red Flags that Facebook and other forms of social networking are ruining your life:

  • You have more communication with people in your tight circle of local friends on Facebook than you do in real life.
  • You’ve ever found yourself saying “not right now, I’m on Facebook/WhatsApp” to your child, spouse, significant other, parent or friend.
  • You’ve ever announced some important change in your life on Facebook before you picked up the phone or met in person with your closest friends and told them in advance (I’m engaged…)
  • You regularly choose to chat rather than to pick up the phone and actually talk or actually visit them.

(Credit: www.doncrowther.com)

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Having been a resident of Dubai for over 20 years, it is a rare thing to find a celebrity hairstylist who intuitively knows how to do your hair…exactly how you want it and knows the right way to correct old hair mistakes.  Meet celebrity hair stylist Katerina  Kotsoni, also the salon manager of VK Beauty Lounge & Bar, who has decades of experience and is first and foremost an academician who has taught students’ the art and science of hair.

A little backstory—stepping into VK Beauty Lounge & Bar, my hair looked pretty abysmal. A bad haircut had left me paranoid about anyone taking scissors to my hair plus my existing Balayage needed some serious perking up. Katerina opted to do three things at once—my roots required touching up. Then decided to add a few foils to refresh my faded Balayage, and lastly she would apply a professional treatment all over my hair to ensure the hair would remain undamaged and would actually strengthen from within.

The treatment to be used was the Brazilian Bond Build 3 R which Katerina explained was a next level deep hair reconstructor that actually penetrates the hair follicles and fills in the gaps where the damage has incurred. She waxed lyrical about how this and Olaplex (another reconstructor) has revolutionized the way hair is being colored nowadays—these deep, professional reconstructors’ have enabled hair stylists to work their creative genius with crazy colors to hair powered bleach which used to often cause lots of damage to the hair. The color used in the foils was Magma by Wella used especially for highlights and doesn’t require toner.

After 30 minutes my hair was shampooed and treated again to the Brazilian Bond Build 3 R treatment over the sink. After a straight blow dry, Katerina set about to cut my hair because my bad haircut was uneven and cut in straight, rather than blended lines. The amount of hair she cut was minimal, but made a tremendous difference in my uneven haircut.

The Verdict: Katerina is more than an experienced hairdresser. She’s a master of all things hair. And VK Beauty Lounge & Bar is a haven for not only hair, but all beauty related services under one roof.  

Visit: http://vkbeautyloungebar.com/

Instagram: @katerina_kotsoni_hairexpert

Location:

VK Beauty Lounge & Bar

Rimal Walk Plaza , R03 , JBR , Dubai, UAE

Phone: + 971-45656011  

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It may sometimes feel like an uphill battle trying to get your children to regularly eat their vegetables. If you have a picky eater at home, this can be extremely frustrating. Below are 5 tips you need to try if you’re battling your kiddos at meal and snack times. Celebrity and model trainer Heather Marr presents five ways to get your children eating more vegetables now.

1. Set a good example

Children learn by example. If you want them to eat vegetables then it’s important to be a good role model. Take an honest look at what you’re filling your plate with at meal times. If you find it lacking in vegetables, start there. Be sure that you’re creating a positive example for them to follow because they are watching you and learning.

2. Disguise vegetables

Mixing vegetables into your child’s favorite foods is an easy way to increase their consumption. Many veggies are versatile and can be added subtly at meal times. Start by adding smaller portions and increase slowly overtime.  For instance, if pasta is a family favorite mix zucchini noodles in with your whole-wheat noodles. Cauliflower can be mashed or riced and added to mashed potatoes or brown rice.

3. Make the presentation fun

We eat with our eyes first, and kids are more likely to try and eat food that look fun. Getting creative with presentation can go a long way. Vegetable cutters are an excellent option to create fun shapes, letters or characters out of vegetables like cucumber or carrots.

4. At snack time, provide crudités with tasty dips

Start by filling up a fun container or glass with vegetables such as carrots and pepper slices. Then prepare several different delicious dips for them to try. Salad dressings, hummus, guacamole or ranch dip made with Greek yogurt and seasonings are popular flavors.

5. Change cooking techniques

When vegetables are prepared different ways they can taste totally different. Baking, steaming, grilling and stir-frying are all different methods to try with vegetables. if your child hates raw broccoli, then simply present it another way. Steamed broccoli with a low fat cheese sauce may result in a much different reaction then did the broccoli presented raw. If at first you don’t succeed, try again.

By Heather Marr

http://www.liftologie.com/product/the-model-trainer-method/

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