This is the official blog of the Landmark Group with insights
and stories from the people behind our many brands.

Beat Diabetes: Wellness Weekend

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November 14, World Diabetes Day (WDD) is celebrated every year to mark the birthday of Frederick Banting who, along with Charles Best, was the first to conceive the idea which led to the discovery of insulin in 1922.

To celebrate this special occasion, the Beat Diabetes Initiative is organizing a fun Wellness Weekend at the Oasis Centre in Dubai. The weekend will be filled with tons of fun activities for you and your loved ones. All you Selfie lovers can take a fun picture at the special Beat Diabetes photo booth. The initiative is also conducting fitness demos and a delicious yet healthy cook off amongst UAE food bloggers. You can also get a free blood glucose check at the venue.

Loads and more to do this Weekend at Oasis Centre, Dubai. Come and join the Beat Diabetes Initiative this weekend. Show your support to spread awareness about Diabetes.



Beat Diabetes Initiative Partners with Al Jalila Foundation


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Landmark Group's Beat Diabetes Initiative has been actively spreading awareness about Diabetes across seven countries since 2009. The initiative has come a long way from its inception, and last year had an overwhelming response from 60,000 participants in the annual walks across GCC and India.

Lack of awareness about the condition is one of the major roadblocks to detecting and managing the Diabetes. This November on Diabetes Awareness Month, in addition to raising awareness about the condition, the Beat Diabetes initiative will make a positive difference to the community by partnering with the Al Jalila Foundation.

A global, not-for-profit organisation, Al Jalila Foundation was established by His Highness Sheikh Mohammed Bin Rashid Al Maktoum, Vice-President and Prime Minister of the UAE and Ruler of Dubai, to support medical education, research and treatment in the UAE.

As part of the partnership with Al Jalila Foundation, Landmark Group's Beat Diabetes Initiative will launch a fund-raising drive during the month of November 2014. Customers who shop at any of Landmark Group's more than 500 retail and hospitality outlets in the UAE will have the option of donating to the cause by adding AED5 or multiples of five to their total shopping bills.

In addition, a registration fee of AED20 per adult and AED10 per head for children between eight and 15 years will also be charged when participants register for the sixth annual Beat Diabetes walkathon in the UAE. The proceeds collected through the fundraising drive and through the registration fee will be donated to Al Jalila Foundation to support diabetes research and healthcare in the UAE.

Show us your support this month, visit our stores and also join us at the UAE Beat Diabetes Walk on December 12th, 2014 at Zabeel Park in Dubai. Registrations are open on www.beatdiabetes.me. All participants who register before 6 December will receive the walk kit comprising a Beat Diabetes T-shirt, cap and walk sticker, via courier.

H2O REVAMP

Haven't we all asked the question "How much water should I drink?" or "Is eight glasses of water a day enough?" The recommendations and answers to these questions are varied depending on your body type, your health, what you eat, how active you are and most importantly where you live. Nevertheless, one must keep in mind the benefits of being hydrated as water enables you to flush out toxins, carry nutrients to the cells and maintain a healthy digestive system.

Don't wait to be thirsty to have another glass of water. Make it a way of life. Make your water interesting by trying to infuse flavor in your water bottle, jug or container at home with healthy fruits and vegetables. You could pick your favorite fruits and vegetables wash them well, chop into pieces, slice them thin or just chuck them whole. These goodies will add taste to your water, make it look stylish and is 'super healthy'.

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Here are some interesting ways to revamp your water bottle:

Strawberry and Kiwi:
The bright colours of these fruits will call out to you. Both strawberry and kiwi are good for your heart and immune system. For my friends with diabetes these fruits help regulate blood sugar as well.

Cucumber and Lime:
Literally, the 'coolest drink ever'. This drink will keep you cool through summer, it aids digestion and flushes out the toxins from your body. Not only does cucumber have a hormone that helps the pancreas secrete insulin but also has potassium that helps control blood pressure and regulate the heart functioning. Lime is a care taker of nail, hair and skin, a natural anti-ageing drink in a bottle.

Orange and Mint:
This drink has the miracles of Vitamin C, Potassium and Minerals. Oranges are low in calories and high on fibre, ideal for people watching their weight. Both mint and oranges are natural anti-oxidants that also increase our resistance to diseases.

Blueberry and Basil:
Blueberry slows the emptiness of your stomach, regulates blood glucose level and cures heart diseases. Basil also promotes cardiovascular health thus improving blood flow and lessening heart risks. This could be your lifesaver in a bottle.

You can also get creative with different fruits and vegetables like apples, grapes, raspberries, watermelon, plum, pomegranate, lemons and add a twist with herbs and spices like coriander, mint, rosemary, basil, ginger, cardamom or cinnamon.

Water is an essential part of your life; make it fun by involving your kids to fill the water jar with their favorite fruit. Make your water bottle, filled with goodness be the star on your desk at work. And let the beautiful colours remind you to take a quick sip every time.

Early Signs of Obesity


Childhood obesity is increasing each year at an alarming rate in the United Arab Emirates. An obese child is more likely to be obese adult. Obesity is a challenging medical problem as it requires more than just a mind shift in parents. A change in food and activity choices as a family can help reinforce healthy habits within children.

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In simple words, obesity is excess fat in body, accurate measurement of fat is complicated but for practical purposes body mass index (BMI), weight for height, skin fold thickness and waist to hip ratio are used to define obesity. BMI is calculated by weight (kg) divided by height (meter square) (kg/m2). BMI more than 95th centile for age and sex (>30) is defined as obese and 85th to 95th percentile as overweight (25-30). There are age specific growth charts for weight for height and age.

Obesity is multi-factorial and one of the major reasons for the increase of obesity over the last decade is the shift to foods with high fat and sugar content in relation to activity and exercise.

Prevalence of obesity is reportedly increased by 2 % for every hour of TV viewing, similar effects with surfing internet and video games. There are also evidences that individuals under-report calorie intake. The other reasons of childhood obesity are endocrine or hormonal abnormalities, for example high cortisol hormone, medications like steroids and some genes are also linked to obesity.

Type 2 diabetes mellitus, cardiovascular diseases, hypertension, high cholesterol, psychosocial problems, sleep apnea, orthopedic problems, metabolic syndrome, fatty liver, early puberty, polycystic ovarian disease in girls are highly associated with obesity.

Managing obesity is challenging in kids, hence it is important to find out the cause and to promote healthy diet with ample physical activity. It needs the entire family to work together to build a healthy lifestyle in your home. There are many ways of ensuring that your kids stay active like maintaining diet diary, educating about calories, developing daily routine of physical exercise, limiting TV, computer and video game timings.

Healthy Iftar Cookbook


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The Holy month of Ramadan is an important period for all of us living in the Middle East. Fasting during Ramadan helps us practice self-control; it is a time of physical cleansing and spiritual healing. But time and again, many of us end up over indulging while opening our fast.

Most health problems are merely a result of inappropriate diet and lack of sleep. The inclusion of healthy alternatives during Iftar meals can increase energy and pave the way to good health.

Through the Beat Diabetes initiative, a public awareness campaign by the Landmark Group, we are trying to emphasize the need for a healthy diet through our 'Eat Healthy' banner. While there is no cure for diabetes, it can be managed through the right care, a healthy diet being one of them.

"We are what we eat" and eating right is the key focus of our initiative.

Our Ramadan Cookbook on Facebook is a blend of 50 easy, delicious traditional and international Iftar recipes that will help you make a healthy shift for you and your loved ones. The recipes in this Cookbook are simple and flavorsome, involve your friends and family to make this a worthwhile cooking experience.

Let's make Health and Spirituality come together this Ramadan.

To cook these mouthwatering yet nutritious Iftar dishes, Click and download the Healthy Iftar Cookbook.

Refresh your home with Ramadan inspirations from Home Centre

For most of us, our home is sacred. It is one place where we can truly be ourselves. What if our home could reflect who we were, what we represent and all of that within a budget? Home Centre's team of buyers and stylists have put together a selection of traditional accessories and ornaments, luxurious furniture pieces and lighting choices, classical carpets, tableware and kitchenware that will help you recreate the richness and warmth of the Ramadan season in your homes.

Many interesting home décor ideas will come to you as you stroll around Home Centre stores over the weekend. The store infuses a sense of warmth and comfort that can be recreated in your homes too, so soak it in. Look out for layouts, textures, colour combinations that catch your attention and interesting store discounts, special offers that can be good on your pocket.

Here are some exciting tips that could help you make the right shopping choices this Ramadan.

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Clean up the clutter

Getting rid of old furniture, linens and excess clutter can help make space for new. Organizing shelves, stacking books on the coffee table, giving away unused furniture can be therapeutic. Once clean, you could transform your rooms by changing cushion covers, curtains and carpets to add a new splash of colour. The colour could help define rooms and distinguish sections.


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Themes and collections

The easiest way to give your home a seasonal touch is to add a few thematic accessories. Similar looking objects like vases, stack of books, candles etc. can be clubbed together to build a collection. Place your collection in an under-utilized space of your home.




Make it sparkle

Vacuuming, dusting and washing may sound tedious, but it is one big way of making your home a clean safe haven. Involve your kids, assign tasks and make it a fun experience to clean the house. This could count in as your exercise for the day too.

Light up your life
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Brighten up your room with lamps or go old school by lighting a few candles or lanterns.  These lamps can build a mood within each room and even highlight sections of your home. You could also push your curtains to one side so that the light can stream in and reposition some of your furniture to face the window of the room.

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Cook up a delicious Iftar
 
Cooking a delicious Iftar meal for your loved ones can be much more fun when you have the right durable cookware to make your delicious food into reality. With Home Centre's wide range of good quality cookware you can efficiently cook up a storm and effortlessly serve a nutritious Iftar for your loved ones.


Serve in style
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As most say 'we eat with our eyes', make your food look welcoming and delicious on the Iftar table this Ramadan.  Home Centre's wide range of festive crockery and cutlery can add a delicious visual appeal to your food. Let the color of your table cloth set the base and lay on colors and patterns with table linen and dinnerware.

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Gift Happiness

This season is marked by generosity, togetherness and sharing, and Home Centre has gifting options that can bring a smile on any face. You can pick up some aesthetic serving dishes and traditional accessories for your loved ones and maybe gift yourself a few pieces too.



Memory lane

Photos of your loved ones can instantly make your home warm and welcoming. Take some time off during the weekends to go through your old photo albums, old photo folders on your laptop and pick out pictures that put a smile to your face. Print and frame! This photo frames can be spread out in any room, place it on your coffee table, window pane or the kitchen counter. Thus, adding a warm flavor when guests visit your home.

These are just a few pieces from an extensive Ramadan collection to make this festive season a special time for friends and family.  The tips on the other hand will help you open your heart and home to pleasant changes in this Ramadan season.

Max completes a decade

Max, Landmark Group's homegrown value fashion retail brand completes 10 years this June. Established in 2004 with a simple yet untapped idea to venture into 'value retail' in the UAE, today Max is present in 16 countries across the Middle East, Africa and India. Known as the largest value fashion retail brand in the Middle East, Max's retail space is growing each year and is currently anchored in 285 stores spread over 5 million Sq. ft.

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Under the leadership of H.Ramanathan, who has been closely connected to the Landmark Group for more than two decades, this milestone for Max is a new benchmark.

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The team at Max attributes this success to all the loyal customers that come together every season and shop at Max stores, thus consistently building the brand over the years.

Landmark at Dubai Festival City Mall

The Landmark Group's homegrown popular brands Centrepoint, Max and Emax are now present in the famous creek-side Dubai Festival City (DFC) mall. This simultaneous launch of the three stores reinforces the group's presence in the UAE region with over 500 outlets encompassing over 6.3 million sq. ft. of retail area.

At the DFC mall, the three stores are spread over 100,000 square feet across two floors. Landmark Group, CEO Vipen Sethi is optimistic about this new development, "Dubai Festival City Mall is a favoured destination for a number of residents in the UAE for its range of retail and hospitality outlets that cater to eclectic tastes. We are confident that the entry of our reputed brands will add a new dimension to the mall's existing portfolio."
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The three concepts have had a rewarding start to this year, Centrepoint celebrated the launch of its 100th store this May. This one-stop shop houses four of the Group's most popular concepts - Babyshop, Splash, Lifestyle and Shoe Mart. Max, the largest value fashion brand in the Middle East, North Africa and India completes ten years in business. And Emax, the largest electronics retail chain in the Middle East with over 50 outlets has been awarded the prestigious "Super Retailer of the Year" at the Reseller ME Partner Excellence Awards 2014. Today, these concepts have evolved as household names in their respective categories making them successful in all territories where they have their presence.
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The Landmark Group's expansion plans aims at opening 50 new stores across the UAE by end of 2015 taking the consolidated store count in the UAE to over 550 and total retail area to almost eight million square feet. "Strategically, growing our presence in Dubai Festival City Mall is an important step in our expansion plans in the UAE. With the nation gearing up to host more than 20 million visitors in 2020, the nation's leadership has a commitment to strengthen infrastructure and upgrade tourist offerings. As a retailer catering to the masses, we also seek to simultaneously growing our presence across destination malls and community centres in strong catchment areas", says Vipen Sethi, CEO, Landmark Group.
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The Expo 2020 win for Dubai is an economic boost for the many sectors in Dubai and the retail space is no different. The growing presence of the Landmark Group in the UAE is the start of new developments that will bring in many more visitors from across the world and cement Dubai as a leading travel destination.

The Big 200 - Babyshop's Landmark Achievement

Babyshop opened doors of its 200th store in the MENA region this May. Located in Irbid, Jordon within the City Centre, this 11,000 sq. ft. store retails in-house brands like Juniors, Giggles, and other popular international brands like Barbie, Disney, Philips Avent, Fisher-Price, Graco, Ferrari, Quinny and several others.

babyshop-first-store.jpgGoing back to Landmark Group's modest beginnings in Bahrain, Babyshop stands as a foundation stone on which the entire Landmark Group was envisioned and built. This landmark achievement coincides with the group's 40th year in existence and honour of being the region's largest retail conglomerate. Vinod Talreja, CEO, Babyshop, talks about the success of the concept since its inception in 1973, "The opening of our 200th store is another major milestone as we complete 40 years of being a leading retailer of choice for all children's requirements under one roof." This one stop shop encompasses everything from fashion clothing, baby basics, toys and nursery furniture for newborns, toddlers and children up to 16 years of age. Today, Babyshop operates in 15 countries and covers over 2.5 million sq. ft. of retail space.

Over the years, Babyshop has built a loyal customer-base with its product portfolio that offers great value for money and assures quality. Vinod Talreja, acknowledges this strength, "We take this opportunity to thank our loyal customers, Babyshop has received exceptional acceptance and popularity across all markets in the MENA region where we have our presence, and we reiterate our commitment towards providing superior quality at affordable prices to our loyal customers."

babyshop-store.jpgThis commitment to its customers and the region is pursed further by Babyshop's active social responsibility mandate, which involves participating in initiatives that promote child safety awareness.  Since 2005, Babyshop has been continually engaged in a series of community engagement activities intended to raise awareness on safety amongst students, parents and schools. Till date, the success of this community engagement initiative has reached out to more than 7,000 children from 150 schools across the Gulf region, including schools in Dubai and the Northern Emirates.

As Landmark Group continues to capture greater market share in the Middle East, Babyshop's 200th store milestone showcases the growing presence in its category in the MENA region. An achievement the Landmark group celebrates with pride.

Don't weight and watch!

wellness.jpgThe Dubai Stone - I am sure most of you have heard the dreaded term. For the uninitiated it means adding a minimum of 7 kgs and with it a whole lot of other things. How does this phenomena happen ? Quite simply moving into a new environment often leads to a big 'Lifestyle Change'. Routines shift, diet starts to vary, physical activity becomes lesser and new temptations lead us to adopting unhealthy habits without realizing them.

People who move here often come from countries where they walk or take public transport to work. All of this changes when you live here. The hot weather for most part of the year makes it difficult to walk or exercise outdoor. Add that to a lifestyle filled with convenience, comfort, luxuries brunches, mall crawling and eating out and there you have it ....the added pounds or kilos !

But really this is not a phenomenon unique to Dubai. Most of us tend to put on the extra weight when changes in life happen and we do have our reasons for it. New job, new relationship, just married, had a baby, went on holiday, partying regularly -we have all been there, haven't we?

Then comes the stage where the clothes don't fit, the mirror makes you unhappy and the carefully worded comments about weight gain start. As people, we are all conscious and a little vain. The first realization of weight gain has us looking for the miracle diet, which will get us back on track in days. In today's age of easy Google search that is  really not difficult. You have celebrity diets, no -carb diets, lose a dress size in a week diets, cabbage diet, juice diet - the list is pretty much endless.

In fact Research shows that 95% of working adults -people like you and me, have tried some sort of a diet or the other, and most times been unsuccessful. While fad diets often help you drop a few pounds on a weighing scale initially and make you feel good, they are difficult to sustain in the long run. When your body is craving taste and proper food, its normal to fall off the wagon and turn to binge eating. So while a few pounds were lost earlier in the battle of the bulge, the 'diet' goes from friend to foe- leaving you right where you started.

Speaking of piling on the pounds, here's a thought. Why don't we combat the weight gain with the same weapon that started it in the first place - 'A Lifestyle Change'
But what does this  change look or feel like, and how do you know when you've made one? Well mostly it's going back to all those good things that are tried and tested and yes, work well for you no matter what age or gender you are.

Coffee is NOT Breakfast
We skip breakfast thinking we are cutting calories and honestly it is the worse thing you can do. By mid-morning  you are starving and you tend to go for anything that's available - cookies, chocolate bars, chips, croissants, etc. How healthy is this list and what it does is something we all know. A research group analyzed 4,200 adults and found that regular breakfast eaters were more likely to eat fewer calories overall during the day. In fact make breakfast the heaviest meal of the day.  Muesli, eggs, milk, whole wheatbread, yoghurt, fruit.... they fuel your day.  Breakfast kick- starts your metabolism and since you have a whole day of running around at work you can easily burn those calories off.  Plus it keeps hunger pangs at bay and you don't up going to lunch feeling like you can polish off a whole buffet.

All Good things come in Small Packages
Most of us tend to eat 2/3 big meals in a day often ending with a big dinner. But that's the worse thing you can do to your body. If you think about it excess of any kind leaves you with a bad aftertaste. Try and eat 5/6 small meals so that your body constantly has energy. While grocery shopping pick - up healthy snacks like fruits, nuts, granola bars, whole -wheat biscuits that you can eat when you have a hunger pang between meals

The Balancing Act
Remember sitting on a see -saw, if all the weight is on one side, your either end up in the air or grounded on the floor and neither is much fun. Balance is an important term, so try and ensure that's how your plate looks during lunchtime - 30% Carbs like bread/roti/pasta/rice. 35% vegetables and pulses. 25% Protein. 10% Dairy Products and 5% Sweet Treat.

Don't save the best for last

For most of us dinner often ends up being the heaviest and a really late meal. Your body really doesn't burn much during television watching, net- surfing, bed-time reading and sleeping. So if you consume the most calories at night that your body doesn't need it just goes in as storage and shows up in the most unflattering areas. Keep that dinner light and early and it will go a long way in keeping you fit.

These Legs were made for walking
Most of us spend 8 hours a day chained to a desk but that is not what the human body was made for. Early man spent most of his time standing, walking and running and while the human race's abuse of the environment will some day drive us to the prehistoric ages we aren't there yet. But being on your feet does go a long way. Take a walk after lunch or dinner, go dancing, play a game with your children anything that keeps you on your feet is good.

The Naughty and Nice List
Well let's be honest here it was much simpler to write these things down than live by it every single day. You will have days when you do out for dinner to celebrate social occasions, a deadline at work that will leave you chained to your desk and never see daylight and endless other occasions. But let's try and stick to the 80-20 rule and be on track at least 80% of the times. Use your desk calendar as a measure, for every day you have been good put a check with your marker the next morning and for every day you have fallen off the wagon put a cross. At the end of the month ensure you have more checks than crosses so you end up on your Nice List. And at the end of the year and treat yourself to something nice before you ring in another healthy new year.