In Focus: Aleppo Nuts & Bolts

Post by Mark

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I love posting about random finds and Aleppo is one of those. I was looking for a very tiny screw for a part on my Datsun 240z and turns out Aleppo is the go-to place for nuts and bolts. The hardware store has been around for nearly 50 years and they supposedly have the largest collection of nuts and bolts in Kuwait.

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I ended up finding what I was looking for so figured I’d post about them just in case someone for some odd reason like me needs a specific screw. They’re located right off Canada Dry street and are open daily from 8AM to 8PM except on Fridays when they’re open from 8AM to 1PM. Here is their location on [Google Maps]


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Small Business: Concretist

Post by Mark

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A lot of the small local businesses that pop up on instagram seem to be related with food, but every now and then you get one that isn’t. Concretist is one and I’m so in love with their products.

Concretist is all about concrete if you couldn’t already tell from their name and the photos here. They create different items like candle holders, pots and coasters all by hand using concrete. Their work is very minimilist and tasteful which is why I knew I needed to get something as soon as I saw their stuff. I ended up ordering one of their candle holders, 3 small differently shaped plant pots and a larger custom pot for my beautiful orchid. I actually wanted to get more of their items but I just couldn’t figure out where I’d put them at home.

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The guy behind Concretist is Faisal Al-Ghoul, a Jordanian expat who works as a banker during the day but stays up late at night to work on these beautiful concrete creations. He got into concrete out of curiosity when he found a bag of it outside his house one day. Wanting to see what he could do with it, he started experimenting with the concrete and later started creating items for his home. When his friends saw his creations they also wanted some so he started making more and his small business started like that.

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Since everything is handmade and made to order, there is usually a short waiting period unless he has the item in stock. My items are taking two weeks to produce which actually isn’t that bad. I like that it takes time but if you’re hoping to get a last minute gift for someone, this isn’t going to be a practical option, not unless you plan ahead which is what I’ll be doing. I also love the fact that you can order the pots with plants since saves me the trouble of going to the plant nurseries myself. Faisal’s prices are very reasonable, if anything I actually think they’re a bit on the low side since for example his small pots start at KD12. Considering they’re hand made and he can only produce so many, his prices are a steal since they’re kinda like little art pieces.

If you’re interested in checking out their items or ordering anything, you can check out the Concretist instagram account @concretist


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In Focus: Glass Clinic

Post by Mark

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Recently I’ve been doing a bit of maintenance work on my car and one of the things I badly needed to sort out was my windshield. The windshield had thousands of tiny pits that were mostly invisible unless the sun hit the windshield at a certain angle and then my visibility would completely get killed. Last time I swapped out my windshield was at the dealership, it cost me around KD180, I needed to book an appointment and I needed to leave my car with them overnight. It was just too much of a hassle which is the main reason I had put this job off for some time. But, last week a friend of mine snapchatted a video of his windshield getting fixed at a place called Glass Clinic so I decided to pass by and check them out.

When I got there and started talking to the employees I realized the place was legit so I told them to go ahead and swap out my windshield. There are plenty of places on Canada Dry Street that can swap a windshield but majority of them are pretty sloppy with their work, reuse your rubber moldings and most importantly, use silicon instead of a windshield polyurethane sealant. Glass Clinic solves all those issues.

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Firstly the place is pretty clean with a waiting area upstairs that overlooks your car. They covered my interior seats before they started any work and the employees wore latex gloves the whole time while working on my car. Instead of using a silicon sealant, Glass Clinic use the Totalseal brand of sealant which is specifically made for automotive glass and is a lot safer and stronger than regular silicon. If you’ve ever replaced a windshield on Canada Dry Street you probably had to suffer with the horrible smell for days after installing the glass, thats the smell of the silicon. With a proper polyurethane sealant there is no smell. The whole installation process took around 2 hours, which is more than double the time it would usually take you on Canada Dry Street so you get an idea of the amount of care they put into the job.

I opted not to install an original Toyota windshield since it was going to cost me KD135 without installation. Instead I went with an OEM version and the final cost with installation was just KD55. Slightly more than what it would cost me on Canada Dry Street but a fraction of the dealership cost. They also fix tiny windshield cracks and they also offer the service of coming to you wherever you are for an extra KD3. If you’d like to find out more, they’re on Instagram @glassclinic and here is their location on [Google Maps]


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Zeri Crafts

Post by Mark

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I pretty much know my neighborhood inside out but every now and then I find out about a new place that ends up completely catching me by surprise. Zeri Crafts is one of those places.

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Zeri Crafts is a small boutique located on the Gulf Road near the soon to open Dar Hamad restaurant. Back in the day when the Gulf Road used to still be a sandy beach, the location used to be a boat chalet. The place is still mostly all original with beautiful wooden window frames and the hooks to which the boats used to be tied to still embedded into the ceilings.

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Zeri Crafts don’t have a lot of products but what they do have is very tasteful with a lot of thought going into them. All their items relate to the local culture be it with the designs or the materials they use. Their most recent collection which you can see in this post is very colorful and consist of textiles, objects, paperware, and leatherware.

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You really need to pass by and check the place and their stuff out. They’re open from 10AM to 6PM and here is their location on [Google Maps]. You can also check out their website to get a better glimpse on some of their items as well as more information on Zeri Crafts. Here is the [Link]

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Bake and Educate

Post by Mark

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A couple of nights ago I was over at a friends place when I was introduced to Noor AlObaid, the young Kuwaiti behind the nonprofit charity organization Bake and Educate. I was so fascinated with the story that I couldn’t wait to post about it on the blog.

Noor started Bake and Educate at the age of 14 years old. She grew up with a mixed background, her father is Kuwaiti while her mum is Syrian so she got to see life from both perspectives, the easy privileged life of a Kuwaiti and the struggle of a Shami in Kuwait. Ever since she was a kid her mother used to teach her that because God had given them a good life, they have to give back to people who aren’t as fortunate. So she started giving a few dinars from her allowance to less fortunate children and when she grew older it just became a habit.

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Noor went to a private American school and her tuition at one point had reached around KD5,000 a year. On the other hand the tuition fees for some Arabic private schools in Kuwait were only around KD400 to KD500 per student per year and yet several families had difficulty affording that. In 2009, Noor’s mum received a list 21 pages long of students that were financially unable to cover their school fees. The overdue payments ranged anywhere from KD20 up to KD400 so they came up with the idea to create a baking exhibition where all proceeds would be used to cover the student fees. At first it was a difficult concept for people to understand, why would a 14 year old be running a non-profit? Why is it for education? People didn’t realize the significance of a diploma and how without one, many places wouldn’t be willing to employ a non-Kuwaiti.

At first Bake and Education started off as a yearly exhibition and then it became bi-annual until they started doing delivery. By 2012, Bake and Educate had started to gain a reputation after working closely with the Ministry of Youth and EQUAIT. In the 6 years since Noor started Bake and Educate the program has helped cover the tuition of 389 students while also helping refugee camps in Syria.

How does it work?
With each donation or order you will receive an official Bake and Educate receipt. When payment is received, Bake and Educate contact the schools and send the money over either on the same day or the morning after. Once the money is received by the accountant of the school, they deduct the amount from a students overdue payment and provide Bake and Educate with a receipt which they file. Bake and Educate is an officially registered non-profit organization. Some of the schools they work with are AlJamil School, AlRiqqa Elementary School and AlWataniya School, however, they try to work with any school that is willing to accept financial aid for students.

So if you’re interested in what they’re doing, follow them on instagram @bakeandeducate


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Alive Yoga

Post by Mark

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I just spent the good part of the morning thinking about if I should actually post about this place or not. You see, I have a few well kept secret goodies that I haven’t shared on the blog like this small little Korean place I go to in Mahboula or where I go play tennis (they even have indoors) for just KD5 an hour. Sometimes I don’t post about things because I don’t want them to change, like I don’t want to not be able to play tennis whenever I want to because now they’re suddenly always booked. But, I don’t have that many secret places because most of the time I put the blog ahead of my personal interests. And this is the case with this new yoga studio I passed by yesterday called Alive Yoga.

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I’m not a yoga buff but I do go do yoga every now and then, mostly for stretching purposes and to keep me somewhat flexible because I weight lift. My go to yoga place is The Palms since you don’t have to be a member and it costs just KD5 for a class. But yesterday I tried Alive Yoga and I think it’s my new favorite place, not just as favorite yoga place but like in general, my favorite new place in Kuwait. It’s located in a two story villa in Bneid Al Gar and the place is just really well done. The ground floor has a very cozy waiting area and small boutique filled with yoga gear while the top floor has two large yoga studios one of which brings in a lot of beautiful day light.

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They have a bunch of yoga instructors and a lot of different classes available through out the day. Some of the classes are mixed while some are for women only. If all this already isn’t enough to sell you on them, Alive Yoga also have a very practical and functional iPhone app which you use to check out what classes are available and for signing up to them. Price wise they’re more expensive than what I usually pay at Palms. A single class is KD12 but if you buy 5 classes it’s KD50. They also have unlimited plans which start at KD95 a month. That means if you do yoga three times a week it’s like you’re paying KD7.9 a class or if you do 6 classes a week it’s basically KD3.9 a class. Right now though they have a new members offer where they are offering 2 weeks unlimited classes for just KD24. Thats what I signed up to and I’m going to make sure I take advantage of it by trying as many different instructors and classes as I can in this period. If you’re interested to find out more about Alive Yoga then make sure you check out their instagram page [Here]. Also, here is their location on [Google Maps]

Update: Here is the link to their website [Link]


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In Focus: RTC Electronics

Post by Mark

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A few days ago a user in the blog’s Community asked where they could find all the following items in one shop:

-Soldering Iron
-22 Gauge Wire
-Solder Wire
-30 ohm .25 (1/4) Watt resistors
-SFH485P Infrared LEDs
-AA Battery Case (with switch preferred)

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My answer was RTC Electronics, a pretty large electrical supply shop located in Hawalli right off Beirut Street. I don’t know how long they’ve been open for but I’ve been going there for years.

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The store has become pretty popular and is now a lot easier to find thanks to a large “RTC” sign which they installed outside awhile back. Even though the store is pretty big the actual entrance is really tiny. The store is located in the basement under a bunch of other satellite related stores and the entrance is within a small shop which once you walk into you’ll find stairs that take you below. That’s why it used to be difficult to find before since from the outside it looks just like any other store in the area.

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The store sells everything electrical related with most of the stuff beyond my understanding. They’ve got regular things like tools, cables, wires, switches but they also sell more advanced electrical hardware, Arduino kits, transistors and chips. Their prices are fairly cheap and you can haggle on some occasions. There is even a small repair shop in case you have an electronic item that stopped working.

Finding RTC Electronics is easy since they’re on [Google Maps] but in case you get lost you can call them on 22623286.


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Sheikh Abdullah Al Salem Cultural Center Project

Post by Mark

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Last week I posted about the demolition of the Al-Maidan Cultural Center and the construction that is taking place there. Because of the fact the construction was moving very fast I assumed the project belonged to Al-Diwan Al-Amiri, turns out I was right. A reader sent me an email with full details on this project and it turns out its going to be a museums district.

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The project that will occupy the site next to Shaab Park will house four world class museums, a fine art center, a theatre and two information centers. The project will compliment the Kuwait’s Cultural Center that’s located in Kuwait City which I previously posted about [Here]

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The project will consist of six main buildings:
– A Natural History Museum
– A Science Museum
– A Museum of Islamic History
– A Space Museum
– A Fine Arts Center
– A 350 seat Theatre

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The Natural History Museum will feature:
– Wildlife and Biodiversity
– Arabian Wildlife
– Pre-History
– Earth and Environment

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The Science Museum will feature:
– Experimental Atrium
– Technology and Transport
– Health and Medicine
– Human Body and Mind

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The Space Museum will feature:
– Planetary Science
– Space Exploration

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The project is expected to be completed in 20 months which is why the construction has been taking place day and night.

Based on my previous personal experience with Al-Diwan Al-Amiri, I have full confidence that this project will be completed on time and look spectacular. The best part about this (for me) is the fact these museums will be located down the street from my house. I’m super excited.


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The Pen Specialist

Post by Mark

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Thursday night I passed by the Souk Al-Mubarakiya Festival for the second time to meet up with a friend and while taking a shortcut to avoid the crowds I ended up passing by a very unique pen store. It didn’t look like much from the outside but something caught my eye and I ended up walking in.

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The store, not very big maybe 3×4 meters was just covered wall to wall with displays filled with pens and just two brands, Parker and Shaeffer. I was in awe, the displays were filled with a lot of intricate items, like they’ve been gathering up over the years and I had so many questions but the shop keeper was with a customer so I waited overhearing the conversation. The shop keeper was telling the customer how the Parker pen he was buying was made in the USA and was from the last series that was produced in the States back in 1984.

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Once the customer left I started talking to the shop keeper who was called Gomes. According to Gomes the store originally opened back in the 50s but he had been working at the store since he came to Kuwait in 1977. It used to be located in a different part of the souk but that building had gotten demolished and they had moved into the current store in 1988. The store still contained a lot of old stock or in other words, vintage pens. Gomes had taken it upon himself to display some of the most vintage pens in the display cases with little hand written notes (in a beautiful handwriting I must say) about the pens. Over the years he’s also collected trinkets from here and there and he kept adding them to the display cases and now they’re all full of random objects that add so much character to the store.

I told him how much I loved the store and how I had been coming to the souk since I was a kid but how I never m
noticed the store even though it was on the main road. I didn’t buy anything since I was on my way to meet up with my friend but I did promise him I would come back. If anyone is interested in visiting the store it’s located across from the Green Land vegetarian restaurant in Souk Al-Mubarakiya. They’re open from 8AM to 1PM and then again from 4PM to 9PM and the store is called Al-Muneefi. Here is the approximate location on [Google Maps]


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A store for aspiring film makers

Post by Mark

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There’s a small store tucked away in a back street of old Salmiya that I’ve been driving by for years but didn’t go into until last night when curiosity got the better of me. Turned out the store specializes in film making gear and they had a ton of items like dollys, stabilizers, camera sliders, tripods, lights and a bunch of other stuff like Rode and Zoom brand mics, Blackmagic cameras and various tools and accessories. Their prices are also pretty much similar to Amazon. For example, the Blackmagic cameras prices compared to Amazon are as follows:

Blackmagic Pocket Cinema Camera
Their price: KD300 (with local warranty)
Amazon price: KD282 (without tax or shipping)

Blackmagic Design Cinema Camera
Their price: KD600 (with local warranty)
Amazon price: KD566 (without tax or shipping)

The store is called ‘Media System for Video Equipments’ which is not very catchy at all and they’re located in the area opposite Marina Mall [Map]. They’re open from 9:30AM to 1:30PM and then again from 4:30PM to 9:30PM. Their phone number is 25713384.


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