July 18, 2013

Ramadan Commercials

When Ramadan rolls around each year, along with a new crop of television series along come a fresh batch of commercials. It's like the Superbowl is in the US, but it goes on all month long. You start to get sick of some, for sure but there are some that are nice and some that just drive you nuts. Here are my thoughts on some of the popular Ramadan ads this year.

Mountain View This one, I like and laugh at it every time. It's a new mini city on the outskirts of Cairo, that honestly, looks really nice. The Ad   <--- here on youtube depicts a guy barbecuing, seemingly in a park, then it pans out that he's in the middle of a round about or something and some dude thinks he's selling food.  The idea is if you live in Mountain View Hyde Park, you can grill in the park like they do in California! The guy on the bike cracks me up when he's like What eh?? Khalas!

Vodafone Share  It took me a minute to realize they were saying Share. It's pronounced more like sheer in the ad but I guess that's just the arabization of the word. Mohamed Mounir sings over little clips of pure Egyptianess and how we share everything. I really love it and think it's really cute and heartwarming.

CocaCola  This one I liked at first but now I'm getting sick of that song. I like the imagery and the idea. You know they're saying lets all be united and not divided after recent events. Correct me if I'm wrong, I think it's Cairokee singing?

Birell I don't get this one at all. There's a whole series of different ones with horoscope signs and they're at a costume party. Someone please explain this to me.

Maxibon This ad is funny but getting annoying. Yahbal...Khod Feshar! I saw a thing on FB comparing this ad with Egypt, saying the lion is the army, the guys eating the ice cream are the people and the guy in the middle the brotherhood. Heh. Propaganda or over analyzing? I like the sandwich side better for the record.

Pepsi/Chipsy For this commercial, they had a teaser for several days until they revealed the end of it. It's kind of nice. I know that a lot of the elements are about Ramadan shows and personalities from people's childhood but I'm sure it didn't have the same effect on me as it did people who grew up here. They even brought Fouad El Mohandes back from the dead.

Galaxy There's one where this woman buys a box of Galaxy Jewels chocolates and hands it to some guy working on the street. He then takes one and passes it to another person and so on until it comes back to the original woman with one chocolate left. That that I say one thing. YEA RIGHT! We all know that IF someone were to give away a 60le box of chocolates to some random person on the street, they'd take it home, end of story.  The one with the check out girl is believable but this one, pshh.

Cadbury Speaking of chocolate, the one with the Cadbury bus is cute. Would have been better if they were on regular bus or at least one with air conditioning because the way they're passing around that chocolate without a wrapper, you know that would have melted already.

Cottonil I hate this commercial. It's really annoying and lame and I hate that it's catchy and I found myself singing it and was like NOOO WHY!? Who likes this commercial? It's dumb.

Universal This started out as a teaser where we didn't know what the ad was for. It was just Ahmed Ezz talking to himself. Well it certainly got everyone wondering. The rest of it was a let down. An oven? Really?

The rest of it is either too boring or unimaginative to mention or it's one of those guilt trip donation ads.  Oh and there are new PSA type ones about second hand smoke. A step in the right direction. How about PSAs on littering? That'd be good.

Well that's all I have to say about that. Have you seen these if you're in Egypt/dish/youtube? What do you think?

July 17, 2013

Article on SA Muslima

A while back I was asked by the lovely people at South African Muslima Magazine to write an article about Ramadan in Egypt. The issue is now out and you can read it here.  Hope you enjoy it, please let me know your thoughts on Ramadan where you live. :)

*It's been brought to my attention that the site is blocked in Saudi and who know where else, here's a screenshot :) Ramadan In Egypt 

July 16, 2013

Iftar Today

Each day in Ramadan, I try to think of what to make for iftar. When everyone is fasting, you really want to put that extra effort and make it a really delicious meal.  Today, I finally succeeded in making bread! It's kind of a big deal for me because until now I've never been able to make nice fluffy rolls. My previous attempts have always resulted in tough chewy bread. This recipe was a little painstaking but worth it in the end. I only made half the recipe to try it out but they disappeared in no time. I'm going to try adding cheese and garlic to the dough  next time.

Dinner rolls just out of the oven.
The spread.
This is a recipe I learned from my aunt that is basically mashed potatoes layered with ground beef and topped with toasted bread crumbs.
Roasted garlic and herb cauliflower is an MVP in my recipe repertoire. 
To drink I made Karkade which is a hibiscus drink. Really good and refreshing.
Chocolate mousse for dessert. This is the recipe, it was pretty easy to follow but I used real whipping cream since we don't have frozen whipped topping.

I'm always looking for new recipes to try. Pinterest usually has some good ones, I just have to start making sure I have everything before starting something or else I end up having to send Dawood to buy something quick like I did today with the whipping cream! 

It is pretty tiring on a day like today to make all of that, but it makes me happy when everyone likes it. Anyone have any go to, tried and true recipes for me to try?

July 9, 2013

Happy Ramadan

I wish you all a blessed and joyous Ramadan!

July 6, 2013

Swell Promo

I've been working on a promotional video to help get my little business going and if you've been over to Swell Blog Design, you know it's got a retro feel and I thought a parody of those old instructional videos would be a fun way to get the word out.

Please let me know what you think and share if you like it. It was fun making it and I hope it will help promote the site.

July 2, 2013


Demonstrations in Cairo, Alexandria and all over Egypt are in the millions to oust President Morsi. We here in Hughada are no exception. We've been having our own modest (in comparison) protests in the past few days as well.

Everyone I know (save for one woman who's husband is rumored to be ikhwan) wants Morsi and the Muslim Brotherhood out of power. It will be interesting to see how this unfold in the events of the coming days.

Here are some photos of the protest today in Hurghada.

Protest graffiti

Everything says "ir7al", which means leave.

Safiyah & E

E & Dawood not facing the camera.

There were volunteers making a circle around the women and children.

There were plenty of foreign residents in the protest and tourists on the side lines taking photos/video.

Awkard selfie

Flags as far as the eye can see.

The girls pose for a memorable photo.

Safiyah and I showing our Egyptian pride.

June 30, 2013

The End Of Google Reader. Time For Bloglovin'?

Well today marks the last day that Google reader will be running. Your blog list will no longer be on the reader to peruse. I've gotten so used to it and I'm not happy to see it go but there is a really good alternative. Bloglovin.

Bloglovin' has a really nice and easy interface and makes it super fast and easy to keep up to date with all your favorite blogs. You can import your blogs from Google Reader right there and list your own blog as well. Bloglovin' also helps you find blogs like the ones you love as well as any kind of blog you can think of.

Make the move and follow me while you're there!

June 28, 2013


Last week my sister was in town and we went on a lovely little vacation here at one of the local resorts. It was a great time full of swimming, eating, laughing and did I mention the eating? Really, when you're at an all inclusive place and there's a breakfast, lunch and dinner buffet, you really don't get a chance to be hungry but you eat anyway because well, it's time for food! Interesting how that works.

I realized how much I love swimming in these few days. I'm not a pro, I just kinda wade along but it feels amazing and the deep end was always empty. My sister and I noticed that although half the people at the resort were Egyptians, it was quite rare to see any Egyptian women swimming. They'd all be in the crowded shallow side and we'd be swimming along in the vast deep half, just us two. Why is that?

Anyway, here are some photos :)

Waiting to check in.
Salwa, already tan from our beach days.

The view from our balcony.

One of the swimming pools.

Can you tell he's thrilled to take a photo?

Just after waterslides.

Never miss an opportunity for ice cream.

Scenery selfie.

Pretty, huh?

A towel swan! 

Hijabi swimwear plus a floppy hat.

Giant chess.

Good times! It's so nice to get away for a few days.

June 26, 2013


Well, in case you haven't noticed, I've been a bit busy. I've been working on my new business! I'm really excited to tell you guys about it and how it came to be.

I've always loved designing blogs. If you've been a reader of Mama Mona for a while, you'll know the design on this blog has changed many many times. A few years ago I started a second blog about blog design but it sort of died down when blogger changed it's interface. Recently I decided I would start an online business making blog templates. After I bought the domain I started working on different designs and I'm happy to say it's now up and running. Yes Swell Blog Design is open for business! I have premade designs and also do custom templates.

I'd love to know what you think of the new site, the designs and of course if any of you find yourself wanting a new blog template, please think of me?

Without further ado, presenting: Swell Blog Design


June 13, 2013


It's with a heavy heart I write this post. I'm sad to say but our dog Rocky passed away. He was fine one day then the next gone. Well, when he was vomiting blood, I took him to the vet and he said he'll have to stay. He gave him an IV and took blood for testing. It was hard to leave him there but I knew he needed the fluids.

Later on the vet called and said the results said that it's a virus. One of 3 serious viruses that dogs often get here and that it wasn't looking good. I went back to the vet and by the time I got there, he was gone.  The kids didn't come with me, thankfully. I knew it wouldn't be a good thing for them to see him like that. The doctor explained things as I barely held back tears. I couldn't believe he was really gone.

It's setting in now, several days on. He doesn't come to greet me in the garden and I washed and put away  his bowls and toys.

The kids are really sad about it but we talked and made a nice slide show of all his photos together.

People suggest getting a new puppy but I don't want to think about that right now at all. It's a little insulting when suggested right away. As if he could just be replaced. I don't know, feelings are complex. We'll always remember Rocky. The funny way he'd get a running start and how he'd give you that sweet look and even when he was super hyper and crazy. RIP Rocky. I don't care what anyone says. I believe We'll see him again. one day in heaven.

June 5, 2013

Summertime Miscellaneous Ramblings

We are so glad to be done with this school year. We've been officially on summer vacation for a couple of weeks now.  The lazy days have begun. I love the beach. We really ought to take advantage of our proximity to such lovely shores. Swimming is one of my favorite things. You feel just weightless and as though all your cares are washed away in the sea.

Salwa & Safiyah at the beach. 

I do however have to deal with the dreaded hijabi tan. You know, where your hands/feet and face are several shades darker than the rest of you? Not cool. I slather on sunscreen and try to stay in the shade but there's no shade in the water and that's the best place to be when you're at the beach. The last time we went, it was us and some friends and we spent a long time swimming and having "holding your breath contests" which I'm surprisingly good at. After that we ate, we brought food and drinks along and relaxed on the chaise longue. We stayed till they closed. I plan on going to the beach a lot more this summer, it's just theraputic, I believe.

Another great love of mine is a new one. Bubble tea. I only just tried it recently when this place opened here and it's just yummy. So far, my favorite combo has been green tea frappe, peach flavor with strawberry boba.


Here's a favorite food, it's a simple recipe just sauteed green beans with a bit of salt and pepper and sugar. 

If I have almonds, I'll toast some slivers and add them in.

We have a kitty! Her name is Nussa and she's rescue like Rocky and she's super adorable. I was worried about them getting a long but they have a kind of brother/sister relationship. She wants to play, he's mildly annoyed. It helps that she's inside most of the time and he's outside.

I leave you with this epic fruit salad that Safiyah seems to be baffled by here. How's your summer going so far?

May 10, 2013

Disney's Merida Make-Over

So a friend on Facebook posted this article and I'm pretty pissed about this.  At first glance you might think it's not a big difference but really, they have changed a lot.

First of all, when my kids and I went to see Brave in the theater last summer, I was so happy to see that Disney had created a princess that was an independent girl who rescues herself. She wasn't all about landing a man or worried about her looks. She was fierce and well...brave.

What kind of message is Merida's new look sending to girls? Just look at all the differences made.
(open image in new tab to enlarge)

Merida was a tomboy. Not some glamour girl. She was beautiful as she is in the film and didn't like the fancy dress, even. The biggest thing is they took away her bow and arrow! Why? Should a pretty princess have no need for such weaponry? There was no need to sexualize her image when she was a realistic teenage girl. Not cool Disney! What do you think? 

Sign the petition here.

May 5, 2013

Hey, May

Did this year fly by for anyone else? I can't believe it's already May!  That makes it one year since I went to the US last summer, and really, in my head that was like a few months ago. Seriously.

My kids are in the midst of end of the year exams and it's a real pain in the ass. I'm sure I've complained about it on the regular in the past years but that does not stop me. Really, school here is so intense and just made to be such a big huge deal when in the big picture, I'd like my kids to be well rounded, have interests, be in sports year round but school does not allow for that. There's simply not enough time with the work load and monthly exams. I'll be glad when we're done for the year. Of course then they'll be assigned summer homework. What a bummer. That phrase "Summer Homework" shouldn't be allowed. I'm planning to get them to finish it right away so we can just have it behind us and not worry about it.

It's super hot already, 102 (39) degrees today and it's only going to get hotter.I'm going to start making ice blocks for Rocky in this heat. Fans and AC, I love you. If it weren't for them, I'd probably melt into a puddle. Rumors are going around that the govt. is going to turn of the power 2X a day for an hour during the summer. I'm hoping that doesn't happen. Egypt really needs to get it's energy problems fixed because that is ridiculous. Ramadan this year falls right smack in the middle of summer, Allah help us.

Also,  I've been working on a little something something, to be announced soon! :)

April 17, 2013

Borio, The Poor Man's Oreo, And What Corporations Don't Want You To Know

For years I've thought it was hilarious that Egypt's answer to Oreos was Borios. Borio, kinda like an Oreo but boring! You could buy Oreos but they were hella expensive, imported from America and all. Now there's an affordable pack of 6 that are made in Saudi. Here's a side by side comparison between Oreos and  Borios.

The color difference is  the biggest thing but to be honest, the Saudi Oreos aren't so dark because they're more chocolatey, more on that later.

My assistant, Dawood held them so you can see the difference in the cream and thickness.

Here you can see the circumference and the cream. The Oreo cream is definitely superior in texture, taste and quantity.

The taste test revealed that the cookies actually taste very similar. This is largely due to the fact that the Oreos sold here, made in Saudi? They're not the same as the ones in the US. Scandalous  I know! I know that Oreo taste and these just don't have it. These are way better.

The other thing is that I highly suspect these Oreos contain some food coloring to give them that dark chocolatey look. I know this because of, well...lets just say, I received reports of the effects of said food coloring on excrement. And well, that just doesn't happen with real cocoa.

I find it really, disturbing that this and many other products in the Middle East are of a lesser quality and under the same brand name. This is true for lotions, diapers, hair products, and many other items. Why is that? I guess when you don't know the difference it's all the same to the corporations. Use cheaper materials and the consumers are none the wiser. They think they're getting the real deal, a genuine American product.

In the end, this isn't me complaining about cookies, but the principle of the matter. Why do we get the crappy version? What do you think?

April 8, 2013

No One Ever Said It Would Be Easy

Been a while since I had a good vent here hasn't it? I think it's something all moms go through. A rough patch every so often. Times when I just want to get away. Can moms run away from home?  It just gets to be too much sometimes. Can I rant for a bit?

Kids are noisy, as a rule. It's near non stop bickering around here lately. Throw in teen attitude and whining from all sides and you have yourself a headache. . It's hard to get them to help out around the house. I am not above bribery. However, with that, you have set a precedent, and doing something just to be nice and help out old mom becomes a rarity. Children are sometimes very selfish creatures to be quite honest.

I really think kids see mom as this thing, that is simply there to serve them.

Mom, I can't find my socks.
Mom, where are the batteries?
Mom, what's for dinner?
Mom, can you iron this?
Mom, I'm hungry!
Mom, what time is it?!

Everyone in this house can read a clock but I guess it's easier to just ask The Mombot.

Then bedtime rolls around and you think you'll get a little peace and quiet but the little buggers Just. Won't. Go. To. Sleep. JUST GO TO SLEEP! Stop giggling and talking right now because I'm about to lose it! All day long you hate each other and now you want to chit chat?! By the the time they finally give in and lose consciousness, you're ready to go to sleep and you skip getting lost in a movie or a book. You wake up the next day and struggle to get them to wake up and get ready for school, and start it all over again.

There comes a point where you just feel spent. You have no more to give and you'd like just a little appreciation once in a while.  Don't get me started on the teenaged ones. I won't go into a lot of details to protect his/her privacy but damn, I never knew how much an eyeroll could hurt. That your own baby could grow up and give you looks that could kill. It really hurts. But no one ever said it would be easy.

Disclaimer:  Make no mistake, I love my kids to the moon and back!

March 31, 2013

Library Time

So there was this library opened years ago here. it was called Susan Mubarak Library. Anyway, after a while it was run down and things were looking bad. It was closed for a while and now it re-opened and it's really nice! I was very pleasantly surprised to see all the activities going on there. The kids had fun and want to go every week.

This cracked me up, Susan's old photo thrown in the back with some other junk.

I'm really glad there's a library here now and it's a nice place to go and feel like we're doing something productive instead of just hanging out doing nothing much.