Nawal is one of our Sassiest Mamas 2016…
There are plenty of reasons to visit Sharjah but the highest on our list? Paper Fig Desserts, a beautiful cafe and sweet retreat founded by Emirati mama Nawal Al Nuaimi and her husband Ahmed Almazrouei. Born of a passion for making cheesecake and desserts, Nawal left a career at Dubai Municipality to pursue a love of creating in the kitchen. With 3 children (Khalifa, aged 9, Abdullah, aged 7 and Mahra, aged 1), Nawal balances work and family while planning the future of Paper Fig and even dreaming of having 1 more baby.
Tell us about your business and why you started it.
I started out a home business while working as the Senior Internet Officer in Dubai Municipality. I had a great passion for making the best cheesecake and other mini desserts so once I make it out of hobby, all my family/colleagues loved it thus encouraging me to start out a home business. It had a steady demand and growing number of followers in social media until it reached to a point of finally planning of building a central kitchen for the business that eventually lead to the creation of Paper Fig Desserts, a full blown café/restaurant in Sharjah.
What kind of cake would you order for your birthday?
I don’t really celebrate birthdays but if I’d pick a cake, it would be a Red Velvet because I love the cheesy creamy taste of the icing and it reminds me of my cheesecake.
If we handed you a concert ticket, who would you wish it was for?
It would be Backstreet Boys.
What colour do you wear the most?
It would probably be black because I love wearing Abaya, not only to show respect for my culture and tradition but it also represents myself. If I have something else to wear for an event, it would be green because I love green.
When did you last cry?
My grandfather always carried this radio when he was alive as he loved listening to BBC News in Arabic and less than a year ago I had it with me and it made me cry because it reminded me of him.
What’s the best thing you can cook?
It would be Pasta and I would come up with my own mix of sauce, but I’m really great in baking desserts.
Where do you get your hair done?
It’s a salon in Dubai Helen Chang called and she has been cutting my hair for 10 years now with no plans of changing salons.
What do you feel have been your biggest achievements both in your personal life and career so far?
It would probably be doing a start-up company with my husband who also serves as the COO of Paper Fig Desserts while raising our growing family. It’s a tough balance being able to split our time building our company from scratch while having a handful of kids.
As a child, what did you dream of being when you ‘grew up’?!
It wasn’t really when I was a child to be specific, but it was when I was growing up and the trend back then was internet so I dreamed of opening a ladies internet café.
If you had 3 wishes, what would they be?
If I had 3 wishes, it would be: house, one more baby and my ultimate wish would be to have my kids grow up and run the business with us as a family.
What does being a Sassy Mama mean to you?
A Sassy Mama is being able to enjoy the unimaginable fun and unlimited hugs and kisses that momma’s get from the adorable little children.
My daily dose or two of my favorite coffee, Magic which has the same ratio of espresso to milk.
Tell us about a typical day?
My day starts very early, especially when school’s back as I have to prepare my kids for school and having my youngest go back to sleep so I can go to the shop and work. Work usually starts at 8 AM and ends about 2PM so I can pick up my kids from school.
What’s the best advice you’ve ever been given in your personal life and career?
Whatever you choose to do in life, whether it’s a career move or personal growth, you should do those things with passion. Doing something out of love makes you do wonderful things and it keeps you going. It’s true as the saying goes that if you do something that you love, it doesn’t feel like work at all.
What do you most enjoy doing as a family in Dubai?
Going to IMG with the kids and it’s really fun doing the rides with them.
What is the ‘best-kept’ secret in Dubai, or something fellow mamas should know about?
You can still enjoy movie night with the husband while dropping the kids at Playtown in City Walk.
If you were on an island and could bring only 3 things (family not included) what would they be?
Camera, Kids photos and of course coffee.
Describe your style?
I always go for comfort but chic.
Tell us something funny that your kids have said or done?
It’s when the kids would tell me is that “Mom you’re famous and when you’re famous, we’re also famous.”
How do you juggle work and family?
It’s not an easy thing, but it’s something that I love doing. After prepping my kids for school and having the youngest take her morning nap, work time starts and after it ends, it’s back to family time.
All images Nawal’s own