What does our lock-down look like?

To anybody out there who is still reading this delightful blog, I’m sorry we have been rather quiet. To say there has been a lot going on is an extreme understatement.

In January our gorgeous little girl was born, the Coronavirus took over and the world changed. Kuwait went into level 4 lock-down from March, April and in May went to level 5 for 3 weeks. We have since dropped back to level 4 for 3 weeks now and are eagerly awaiting the further drop to level 3 and for things to open up a little more.

So, what has your lock-down looked like?

Ours looks a little like this:

 – Husband working from make shift office at home

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– lots of e-learning

– complete lack of structure and zero bed time

– garden time

– pool time

– baby, baby and more baby

– Coronavirus news overload

– constant cooking and baking

– constant cleaning and eating

– clothes that don’t fit anymore (anyone else have kids in clothing 2 sizes too small at the moment?)

– puzzles, puzzles and more puzzles

– afternoon movies and night swimming

I would love to hear from you all, what are you doing these days to make the most of this challenging situation? As things open up in your countries, what are the first things you’re going to be doing? When Kuwait moved to level 4, 3 weeks ago, and the drive by Starbucks opened up, the queues were miles long for days on end. Today I joined one of them and had my first latte in 4 months.

Now don’t laugh, but other than painting, I actually ordered coloured felt and thread to make the kids little felt craft creations over the summer. Right now, I’m in the stage of looking up cute creations and expecting them to magically create themselves. I can’t sew you see, why on earth did I choose a sewing craft when I can’t sew? Oh, to learn a new skill apparently! Ha!

Side note: I have actually really been very thankful for this down time. We have been one of the lucky ones in all this. We have food on our table, a roof over our heads and my husband still has his wonderful, stable job. We are healthy and happy and above all, we are together. We have had more family time now than ever before. My heart and prayers go up to those who are not safe at home but rather trapped at home in abusive households and to those who have lost income and livelihoods. The overwhelming number of those starving and depressed is beyond anything I can actually comprehend and it breaks my heart. So lets be thankful and collectively look around us with open eyes to see where and how we can make a difference, no matter how big or small.

la

Melody Mitchell – Being Her Authentic Self

1DSC_3659 copyI first met Melody when she came to one of our photography walkabouts here in Kuwait. At the time, she stood out to me because of her warm friendly smile and open personality. In that moment, I had no idea of who she was, only that something inside me made me want to get to know her better. Fast forward a few years and this beautiful soul has truly left her mark on many woman in Kuwait and abroad, including myself.

groupShe is a true leader in her field and one of the most decent and inspiring individuals I have ever met.

Melody has been in the US military, specifically the air force, for 19 years already, and her heart has been in Middle East relations for most of that. As a woman in the air force she has had to fly against the wind (excuse the pun) for most of that journey trying to carve out her own path in a very male dominant industry. She has been remarkable in further supporting other women in military, both US and Kuwaiti. Melody started the Lean In initiative in Kuwait which has been literally life changing for women in business in the Middle East. It is a network of women who come together to uplift and support one another in a safe, open circle.

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Image provided by Melody

Through her work with both the US and Kuwaiti women in service she has been able to debunk some preconceived ideas that many people have about woman in the region. She shines a light on how strong and respected women really are. Granted it hasn’t always been that way, but she highlights and builds on these positive changes in today’s society.

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Image provided by Melody

We had the most wonderful conversation around us as women learning how to be our true authentic selves and, more specifically, what it means. Men help each other out, they lift each other up automatically, and women need to do the same! Both Katie and I have this deep desire to do just that – lift one another up. And thankfully this blog has given us a platform to highlight remarkable women in business and in life, remarkable women like Melody!

Bridging the gap between men and women in business, her main piece of advice for women is, “don’t try to simulate the way a man would do business, we are not little men, we are women and we come with our own unique, highly valuable qualities and need to be appreciated for who we are. – Man I love this chick!

This incredibly strong, talented lady was asked to participate in the TEDx talk at AUK in Kuwait and I encourage you to take a listen to the link below. It’s so worth the time. Well done Melody and so well spoken too!

I’m excited to see where this amazing individual ends up next, the itsacolourfulworld team wishes her all the best – rise and shine!

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Cheers,

la

 

Navigating Society 6 online store – Ellay Art

One major problem I seem to have these days is that the creativity keeps flowing, photos get taken, paintings come together, products get created, yet I seem to hoard everything for myself. Society6 seems to be the solution to this problem. I thought I’d give them a try. Katie and both have come to love our online stores.

We decided to create our very own online Society6 stores. What I like most about this site is that they produce really very good quality products, they are constantly having sales (which don’t affect the artist) they handle all the shipping (to anywhere in the world) and they leave me to do what I love best, CREATE!

I have put a small video clip together to help you navigate Ellay Art store online.

I absolutely love supporting emerging artists. I feel like magic still lives there.

Enjoy

la

A morning at Egaila Beach

I must have jinxed myself in my New Years resolution post where I set a goal to be super healthy and reduce my medication. I have had a really tough 6 weeks with my health and it overflows into other areas of the life. I’m tired. So very tired.

As I find my way back to good health, I am so thankful for the encouragement of friends. Jillian suggested that we head out to Egaila beach, here in Kuwait, for an early morning photography exploration walkabout and it was just what the doctor ordered.

Here is a little video clip and a few photos of the morning out. I hope it inspires you as much as it did me, and I encourage you to get out and explore your surroundings too. Sometimes all we need to get us up and on our feet again is a little love and encouragement and I hope this post can be that for you.

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Cheers.

la

There’s no place like home

House – ‘a building for human habitation, especially one that consists of a ground floor and one or more upper storeys.’

Home – ‘a place where something flourishes, is most typically found, or from which it originates.’

I think as an expat this is something we need to process a little more deeply, especially an expat living in a country where you cannot legally own property. You need to be able to make a house a home yet mentally somehow stay detached as you know it will never be yours. And this adds to the confusion when house hunting in a foreign land.

But house hunting here has been an interesting experience. I have always been taken back by the variety of architectural influences one finds in this travellers region. This makes sense given that most of the country, Kuwaitis included, go on vacation to other countries over the summer months, so naturally they would bring back ideas, shapes, colours, lines, materials, art work, etc from these other countries and incorporate them into their Kuwaiti lives and homes. Just take a look at my photos below and you will see immediately what I mean by this. Now please go easy on my very basic surveillance photography skills! Its not my strength, I was not meant to spy on people and secretly photograph their houses. I was way too shy to get out the car and do these buildings justice and what you get now is my very best ‘drive by shooting’. But it’s simply wonderful to be witness to this amount of diversity. It does make house hunting interesting. My heart looks and longs for lots of natural light, bright open living areas with outdoor space for the kids to run and play. A tough ask in a desert land, but I know it’s out there.

This just adds to our colour world after all!

Cheers,

la

STING in Kuwait 2017

Guest post by: Kerry Apsey

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A few years ago I saw Sting in Hyde Park on a glorious summer evening. The skies slowly deepened behind the London skyline and the crowd of thousands danced furiously and sang the well loved classics uncurbed. The stars came out as the opening sound of Desert Rose brought the loud appreciative swell of a thousand voices. It was a magnificent evening.

A few weeks ago I was in the right place and in the right conversation with some dear friends who happened to have heard about the upcoming Sting concert in Kuwait. There was so little advertisement of this, surely it couldn’t really be him, surely the tickets would be outrageously expensive, if we could even get them?

But, like so many experiences in Kuwait, I went in completely unsure of what to expect and I was gobsmacked by the whole evening.

The Opera House is wonderful. Exquisite lines and finishes and details from the moment you approach the magnificent building. I felt as though I wanted to run my hands across the beautiful surfaces but restrained myself. We were ushered into a theatre and sank into luxurious chairs. There were so many empty rows of seats, I almost didn’t quite believe the real Gordon Sumner was going to walk on stage. Part of the fantastic design of the theatre was that despite having the cheapest seats money could buy, we were close enough to see every expression on the mega rock star’s face as he strolled onto stage.

Initially I wasn’t at all sure what to make about the subdued atmosphere. I couldn’t quite believe the rigidity of the stewards armed with laser pointers shaming any cellphones daring to take pictures or anyone trying to stand up and dance.

It seemed at odds with the tumultuous rock music at times.

But the formality of the setting would only allow us to sit and respect the music and the artistry of the experience.

Even still, it was incredible.

What a privilege to have an intimate show. The sound was perfect and Sting’s sublime voice covering the dancing fingers of the phenomenal guitarists was an awesome thing to behold.

There were no masses surrounding us to get lost in and not much on stage to distract from the minimal band. Sting held up beyond expectation under the intense scrutiny. It was just the beauty of his poetry and the artistry of the music under the lights.

Towards the end every one got caught up in the wild joy of the music, and jumped up ignoring the angry red laser dots reprimanding them, for a little while at least. And after that he took us back down, “to go home thoughtfully,” he said, with a last breathtaking ballad.

We walked out smiling at each other in disbelief at the hidden treasure the evening had been.

Kuwait keeps on surprising me.

LA & KDG

A building worth touring – The Arab Fund

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Ahhhh, my creative soul has been filled again. I have recently felt myself running low on creative juices, but yesterday morning I had the opportunity to visit The Arab organisations Headquarters Building, also known as the Arab Fund Building, in Shuwaik.

Ok, so I agree the name needs a little work, but the building is truly quite remarkable. A piece of art. An administration building created by craftsman, designers, and materials from the likes of Italy, Morocco, Syria, and yes, even South African Yellow Wood can be found within it’s walls.

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According to their website,

The Arab Organizations Headquarters Building, situated outside Kuwait City in Shuwaik, blends modern architectural techniques with traditional artisan crafts. Completed in 1994, it is home to four major Arab organizations: the Arab Fund for Social and Economic Development, OAPEC (Organization of Arab Petroleum Exporting Countries), the Inter-Arab Investment Guarantee Corporation and the Arab Maritime Petroleum Transport Company.”

And I suppose big fancy meetings do take place there with really important people but…

…according to me,

“It’s an exquisite collection of art, antiques, and ideas – collected and bartered for – for the viewing pleasure of anyone willing to appreciate it.”

And appreciate it we did.

Our tour started with a sense of contrast. We were 3 housewives, with quite an artistic flare (think ‘almost cool’ Gypsies) combined with 3 middle aged men in black suits who probably held important titles and regularly used terms like; “not withstanding” and “including, but not limited to”.

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Anyway, it was a treat for us all.

This building took 2 years to design and only 3.5 years to build. The attention to detail is unrivalled. It’s so very beautiful.

An absolute treasure of a find for a photographer like me, who has a passion for history and culture.

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May these images from today inspire you as much capturing them did me. In this world filled with contrasts, details, and distractions, sometimes to find the most beautiful side of something, all we need to do is look up.

Cheers

la

Side Note: Please make the effort to visit the website, it is filled with many interesting behind the scenes imagery and extra details of each piece of art within the building itself. To book your tour, email adnang@earthlink.net.

 

The Mirror House – Kuwait

1DSC_9140Lets just say, if my husband came home from a business trip abroad and found me on the floor with broken pieces of glass and plastering all over the wall, I think he would have had me committed. Thankfully this was not in the case of the lovely Lady Lidia.

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For what started out as a small mirror mosaic project to cover her daughters writings on the wall, turned into her greatest life long work, her pride and joy, The Mirror House of Kuwait. We were greeted by this tiny, Italian woman, with years of life knowledge and life experience under her belt. Yet somehow she maintained her zest and passion for life and she couldn’t wait to share it with us.

We started with a lesson on mosaics and the story of her beginning, but we were quickly whisked away and literally taken on a once in a lifetime journey through what can only really be explained as living surrealism. 

She met a young Kuwaiti man in the UK and he stole her heart. She then moved to Kuwait in the 50s, settled down, got married, had a family, lived life, survived wars, survived parenting, and found comfort in creating.

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Her story is a cherished love story. Her husband, Khalifa Qattan, was a very well known and respected pioneer in the Arab art world.  Yet, he very rarely called her Lidia, he preferred to call her lady, even up until his last days on this earth. Swoon! She brags that when she arrived in Kuwait, most of the houses were still built of clay. Yes, she has seen Kuwait change over the years there is no doubt of this. I asked her what the biggest change she witnessed was, expecting to hear the standard, “oh we used to be able to drink and now we can’t” or, “we could wear short skirts back then and no one bothered us about it” but no, to my surprise, she said the greatest change came from within the family unit.

The family unit has changed.

When she first moved to Kuwait she testifies how most children were being raised by their parents, both moms and dads were raising their kids. She shares that in today’s times children are being raised by nannies. It’s quantity over quality of children that has become important. There is a whole generation of children being raised by nannies and no longer by their parents. And you see it filter over into the Western culture within Kuwait too. All too often it’s the nannies with the kids at birthday parties or afternoon activities, very often alongside the parents, even then parents take more and more of a back seat.

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Her symbol piece for the family unit.

Anyway, getting back to the tour. What a ride. She took us into every room where different themes are represented, from the earth to outer space. Her birds were my personal favourites. On the top floor we even got to appreciate her husbands works. a dedicated gallery to his finest pieces. I loved this part. He was a visual communicator for sure. The statements he made with his art were honest, bold and unapologetic. He loved being Kuwaiti and was so proud of that, but he was despising what the nation was becoming, the changes that the country was going through and he used his art as his voice. It still speaks volumes today. I definitely learnt a lot about the history of Kuwait on this tour, It was interesting for sure.

In the rooms next to his gallery are works of her own. It was fascinating to see these two worlds showcased on one floor. Two very different minds with similar view points being expressed in two very different ways. It was remarkable.

My favourite piece belonging to Lady Lidia was the piece with the two keys. These represent the keys to a woman’s heart (men, pay attention).

They are:

1 – Respect

2 – Generosity (not as in things or money, but rather time and affection). If you get these two things right her heart will be forever yours.

Her art therapy rooms are quite something, too. Darkness, with colour of lights and lights of colour.

Admittedly, I spent an hour on my bed in the afternoon with a warm cup of tea processing the experience. Trying to make sense of it all. I couldn’t. I was most certainly over stimulated for the better part of the afternoon. And wonderfully so. I will never forget this morning at The House of Mirrors. For anyone living in Kuwait, you need to move this to the top of your ‘to do before you leave’ list. This experience has the backing of both Trip Adviser and Lonely Planet.

I left informed and inspired.

If you have a House of Mirrors experience that you would like to share, I’d love to hear from you.

Special note: One thing that makes this experience even more unique is that you become a part of the visual experience. With the mosaics being mirrors, your reflections are integrated. Thus making everyone’s experience unique to them. 

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Cheers,

la

 

Photography: Father and Son

I was so deeply inspired and moved by Jenny’s post on Sunday, Flavors of Fatherhood, that it further inspired me to look at the father closest to me here in Kuwait, yup, the one I chose to be the father of my children, my husband. As young and in love 20 somethings we get married for our own selfish desires, and rightly so, this is the person WE plan to spend the rest of OUR lives with, we better choose carefully right. But more than that, for me, this was the man I was also choosing to be the father of my future babies. And I simply could not have picked a better dad for my children than this one.

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A year ago, he came to me with this idea that he wanted to do a father and son golf themed photo session and I was all over it. What a charming way to capture this season of life. Our son was 2 and at the perfect age for this assignment. Still holding onto his baby cuteness but old enough to follow guided instructions.

Date and Time – April (Warming up here in Kuwait), 8am

Weather – warm and hazy, dust started to creep in by 10am

Location – Golf Course

Top Tip – We had spoken to one of the members of staff about the session and they were able to take us to a part of the course which they new would be empty that time of the morning. And since he then escorted us, we had no problems trying to explain what we were doing to security. Always get approval ahead of time when shooting on location, it will make for a smooth stress free morning.

The morning was a huge success, our little guy was on top form and just loving all the one to one attention without his sisters around. And my husband was more than thrilled with the results. He has his favourite three photos printed and proudly displayed in his office. I know that he will hold that moment in time close to his heart always and it was an honour for me to be able to have gifted him, them, with that.

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Now before anyone accuses us of favouring the boy, we are planning on doing a daddy-daughters session as well we just haven’t quite found the right theme yet. So if anyone has any original ideas, I’d love to read them in the comments below.

To quote Jenny “There are many different kinds of fathers in this world. There is the stoic father who labourers tirelessly for his family, expecting his actions to speak the words he can’t seem to share.” – Thank you my darling husband for everything that you do for us, for your actions in our lives are deafening.

Cheers to the dads

la