Wednesday, December 6, 2017

november twenty seventeen

al qasr friday brunch dubai
November felt like such a long month...and just when I thought October was crazy, November literally was nuts.
Here's what I did...and ate....in November.
The month kicked off with a short but sweet visit from my parents.  It's always good to have them here with me and now the weather is perfect, Dubai is just an awesome place to be.

We had a wonderful Friday brunch at Al Qasr hotel, this is my all time favourite brunch and it never fails to wow people.  Brunch is spread over 3 restaurants but I prefer to sit in The Hide, the steakhouse-I love the big comfy chairs and tables. and the relaxed atmosphere.

Jolie afternoon tea dubai
 Something not so wow was afternoon tea at Jolie cafe (City Walk).  It had been highly praised in Time Out Dubai but when we went we were the only people there and the food was basic at best.  It also took ages to be served and the service was very passive.  There were nice little touches like fresh roses served with the drinks but I struggle to see how Jolie will survive in Dubai.  I should have stuck to what I know and taken my parents to The Palace for their incredible afternoon tea.

Rhdoes W1 Dubai
My favourite meal with my parents was at Gary Rhodes, Rhodes W1 (Grosvenor House Hotel, Dubai Marina).  I spoke about this restaurant in my september twenty seventeen post and again we had the most amazing experience.  The food is divine and the service is wonderful.  They still do an incredible extended happy hour every day and this restaurant should be far busier than it has been when I have visited.

Gaucho terrace DIFC Dubai
 A month would be incomplete without a visit or two to Gaucho (Dubai International Financial Centre, Gate Village) and the 1st November saw the opening of their new terrace which I was invited to.  The terrace is super cool and they have several promotions throughout the week-a brilliant ladies night and a AED23 drinks promotion between 5-8pm.  More details can be found here 

Of course I didn't just just go to Gaucho once in November-I went four times in total-twice to eat a proper meal and twice to eat dessert (obvs cheesecake) on the terrace.

Shake Shack Dubai
I've been doing this crazy fitness challenge with one of my best friends (more about that later) and we planned a cheat meal at the end of last week which was supposed to be our favourite burgers from Shake Shack-but on the way home we decided to detour to Gaucho for cheesecake, making it the ultimate cheat day-and Danny the General Manager at Gaucho gave us very appropriate desserts to mark the occasion!

Gaucho Dubai
I also had a wonderful lunch at Gaucho with Chloe last week where I had an amazing rack of lamb-it was literally so incredibly tasty I couldn't believe I hadn't had it before and it's definitely something I will order again.

La Petite Maison Dubai
La Petite Maison Dubai
Not only did I do Gaucho last week for lunch I also did 3 of the other very popular restaurants in the DIFC at lunchtime-La Petite Maison (DIFC, The Gate Village) is incredible, everything about the meal was flawless.  It definitely one of the most expensive restaurants in Dubai but for special occasions you cannot go wrong-make sure you book in advance.

Roberto's Dubai
Roberto's is also a DIFC favourite of mine (DIFC, The Gate Village), they offer a good value business lunch and wonderful views of the Burj Khalifa.  Their terrace is now open and I am dying to try their brunch on a Friday.

 I also squeezed in a quick business lunch at the ever impressive Zuma (The Gate Village, DIFC).  This is always busy and bookings are a must but their Japanese cuisine is exceptional quality and I have never been disappointed.  You must try the passion fruit souffle, it is absolutely to die for.  I already have two bookings here for lunch in December!

The most disappointing meal of the month was definitely at Seafire (The Atlantis hotel).  I was so looking forward to it because when I have been before I thought it was excellent but it was hideously overpriced (and I have no issues paying for good food) and nothing was that good!  The Wagyu wasn't as tender or tasty as I would expect, the sides were unseasoned and the desserts were so dry.  I was so disappointed that I would never go back there.

I didn't just eat in November, I did other fun stuff too!


We went for a team desert safari which was really good fun and I ticked off a 'bucket list' wish-a camel selfie!  Desert safari's are a 'must do' in Dubai-I've probably done about 10 in my time here!  I love the desert-it's so beautiful and we were blessed with an amazingly clear day and the colours of the dunes were just stunning!
 The car loving geeky side of me was happy last month to attend the annual Dubai International Motor Show where everything was super shiny and super fast!  There were some unusual cars on display including the £1.25m Karlmann King mega SUV-I've never seen anything quite so cool!

I did a short trip to Cairo for work, my last of the year and my 28th flight of 2017.  I was very happy to be upgraded to business for the flight back, especially as it was overnight so I got some much needed sleep.  My 29th and 30th flights will be my Xmas flights when I will be back in the UK for a short time.

motion cycling dubai
I was invited to try a Soulcycle class at Motion Cycling in Business Bay, Downtown Dubai and it was so cool!  The girls who lead the classes are fit and the class is so fast paced and energetic.  The soundtrack was epic and although I felt like the least fit person there I would definitely go again.  You can check out their location and timetable here-you'll definitely walk out feeling amazing!

I went to see JLo!!  I honestly think she is one of the most beautiful women in the world and her show in Dubai was outstanding.  She literally gave it her all and put on an amazing show-the dance moves and the costume changes were just beyond incredible.  I had such a brilliant night I didn't want it to end!

Without a doubt the most fulfilling thing I did in November was start a fitness challenge with one of my best friends.  We have been pushing each other, setting goals and doing as much as we can-and I have loved it.  The only annoying thing is I have lost hardly any weight (but then you look at the meals I have eaten and that may explain it) but we've been doing more and more exercise each week and clocked up a 'never before done by me' 1585 minutes of exercise in November.  Bearing in mind this was despite the fact my parents visited and I was in Cairo 4 days-I am honestly pretty impressed with what we achieved.  We've been doing mainly gym classes and I can see improvements in my fitness levels and recovery times week by week.  Having a friend with you really makes a difference too-if I was on my own I would do one class then think I had done enough and go home-but when there is two of you, you push each other-and my natural super competitive nature comes out.

The highlight absolutely was heading out to the desert very early one Saturday morning (my alarm went off at 4.30am) to attempt the 50km purpose built cycling track at Al Qudra.  There are shorter versions but we decided to go all in-and we did it!  I was so so so proud of us-we did it non stop and then went back 6 days later and did it again!  Obviously that's not a picture of me riding the bike-if I took both hands off the bike I would fall straight off!!

Finishing off the post with some random highlights from the month-top left is one of the mini Gaucho Dulce De Leche cheesecakes I asked Danny the General Manager from Gaucho to order for me to celebrate my friends first year with us in the office.  They looked amazing and I am sure they tasted amazing but someone forgot to include herself in the numbers when she was ordering them.....what a rookie error!

Top right is my best friend in the world, Danielle.  If you have been watching the ITV Be show Tamara's World then I am sure Danielle will be a familiar face!  I am SO proud of her, she works so incredibly hard!

Bottom left is a photo I took during the Art Week in DIFC where I work.  Alongside all the banks and law firms, DIFC hosts a range of art galleries and special events and there were some amazing installations dotted around the DIFC for a few days-the one above was my personal favourite!

Finally I went karting again and I feel I have upped my game-yep thats me in position #1!  You can read more about my 'secret past' here.....

December's here...and I should be travelling home to the UK this month for the festivities.  You can follow my instastories daily for a sneak preview on next months post!

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Saturday, November 4, 2017

october twenty seventeen


October was more than hectic.  There was lots of fun stuff, some amazing food, two events I am really proud of and an unfortunate health scare.

Let's start with the fun stuff first:

ALL THE FOOD
  • I had an amazing lunch at La Petite Maison, one of the very best restaurants in Dubai-which incidentally is right next to my office.  It was a celebration of the completion of an important work project and the food and company were divine.  I am so lucky to work with such amazing people!
  • One of my best friends in Dubai had two really important celebrations in October so I took him for dinner to mark both of them-I strongly believe in celebrating everything!  We went to Coya for his birthday and the food was amazing-possibly my favourite visit.  I highly recommend this Peruvian restaurant at the Four Seasons-it's definitely one of the best in Dubai
  • To celebrate being awarded his Fellowship, we hit another of my favourites and I took him to Marina Social where we had a wonderfully warm welcome from Tim and his team.  The food was top notch-definitely try the new apple crumble cheesecake-it's amazingly crafted as well as tasting incredible!  The meat dishes are also amazing at Marina Social-and the chicken leg agnolotti is just insanely good.
  • I was invited to try the Fashion themed afternoon tea at Armani and so Kirsty and I dressed up and ate cake!  I've written a full review here-the Fashion theme for October has now become a Gold theme for November.  I'd highly recommend trying it out and it's very reasonably priced.
  • I dined for a second time at Armani, this time a much-needed girls night with Chloe and Becky from my office at Amal, the Indian restaurant.  The food and service were exceptional and for the first time since the summer we were able to sit on the amazing terrace for the most incredible view of the fountains.  Thanks to Becky and Chloe for helping me out/calming me down when my nerves were a bit fraught!
  • I managed to squeeze in four visits to Gaucho in October-the addiction is real!  Someone even asked me if I ate there for free...I don't but that's the dream people! #SponsoredByGaucho.  Four visits means 4 Dulce De Leche cheesecakes and again, the service and food is beyond amazing.  I'll be starting November by attending the opening of their newly revamped terrace and I cannot wait!  I know Danny the General Manager has worked incredibly hard on the new terrace and it will be amazing!  I also love the fact that my Instagram followers message me when they have been to Gaucho too!

  • One of my favourite new discoveries in October was Hakkasan in the Emirates Towers and I loved it so much I went twice.  The restaurant is dark and intimate and has an incredible bar.  The dim sum is one of the best I have had in Dubai and the black cod in champagne sauce was to die for.  The desserts were unexpectedly good.  I can see my returning again and again and I am dying to try the Friday Brunch.  The fact that it's in the same location as my favourite club, La Cantine, is an added bonus.
  • One of the things I enjoyed doing most this month was catching up with Laura over a few glasses of wine at the Siddhartha Lounge at Grosvenor House.  It was just about the perfect temperature to sit outside and this lounge has seriously cool terraced seating overlooking the Palm and the Marina.  We only ordered chips and focused on the wine and Laura also had shisha.  It was a wonderfully relaxed evening and I can't wait to do it again!
  • The most disappointing meal of the month was at Aji on the Palm.  I had heard such good things about this restaurant but we went on a Friday night expecting it to be packed and have an amazing atmosphere (I was expecting Coya vibes) but it was empty and the waiter we had was seemingly in the worst mood ever.  I couldn't raise a smile from him and the food was mediocre at best.  My friends actively disliked two of the dishes and we all hated the desserts.  I rated it a 3/10.  I've heard they do a very popular ladies night midweek but their weekend game was weak.
  • I had lunch at Zheng He which is another fantastic Asian restaurant and look at the view!  Dubai has just become perfect-I absolutely love this time of year!  The food was amazing and I highly recommend this restaurant if you are vegetarian as they have a specific menu and they do a literally amazing, vegetarian version of crispy duck!  Pictured is the actual real crispy duck-it's a show in itself having it intricately carved at the table.  The staff are also incredibly knowledgeable about the food.  I cannot wait to go here again. 
Not pictured but I also ate at:
  • Zuma-I went for the business lunch and it was exceptional.  I also had reservations there for last Thursday but sadly had to cancel as I was in hospital!  I will re-book asap!
  • Shake Shack-I love a Shake Shack with my friend Maz.  We try and fit one in once a month at least.  We had two in October #SmilyFace
  • Cipriani-another very very disappointing meal.  I think this restaurant in DIFC is over-hyped and over-priced.  It was heaving the night we went and attracts an 'important business people' type crowd but for Italian food, I would hands down go to Roberto's or La Petite Maison in the DIFC over Cipriani.  
  • Maison Mathis-this was a fun night, again with Kirsty.  We went for the ladies night and put the world to rights over plenty of wine.  For AED195 they do a set 3 course meal and 500ml of wine which I thought was amazing value.  I'll definitely be going again-it's literally my local and is right on my doorstep!  The Halloween decor was top notch as well!
THE OTHER THINGS I'VE BEEN DOING
Standard Chartered Cancer Awareness Dinner

The thing I am most proud of doing, possibly this whole year is hosting a cancer awareness dinner for Standard Chartered last week.  The picture above shows the preparations for my talk-ably assisted by Fizzy!  I don't have any pictures of the night sadly but it was truly a wonderful evening.

I was approached by Claire who works for Standard Chartered and asked if I would share my own personal story.  Claire and I have followed each other for years but this was the first time we had met which was fantastic and long overdue!

I've never done anything like this before and getting to the point of being able to stand up and talk for 45 minutes about the last 3 years and the journey I have been on was quite the emotional roller coaster.  Hence the need for a pep talk from Chloe and Becky a couple of days before the dinner. I also read old blog posts, laughed and cried and reminisced with people who have been part of that journey to formulate my 'story'.  I was nervous but the ladies at the dinner were all so kind, so engaged and so friendly that by the time I got up to tell my story I just went for it.  I think I spoke really well, I didn't forget anything or stumble over my words and they laughed at my jokes!  The ladies were incredibly kind and generous with their feedback after the talk and it boosted my self esteem no end.  Thank you to all the ladies who came!

#Throwback....I went karting

I went karting with my friend last weekend at Dubai Autodrome. I never talk about this on my blog but I have a motorsports background/upbringing.  My parents run a kart track in the UK which is an amazing facility (shameless plug for Cumbria Kart Racing Club), my dad was a multiple award winning rally driver and both my brother and I both raced karts to a very high level.  I 'retired' when I was 17-I wanted to focus on school and having been in that hugely competitive environment since the age of 8 I found the pressure quite hard to cope with, even though I was really good!  The picture above is from when I was British champion at around age 15/16.

It's been about 15 years since I have been karting but it was very much like riding a bike and it turns out I was much better than I expected to be!  Apparently there's going to be a re-match between my friend and I next weekend-to be fair he knew my past and what he was getting into but we're both so into cars/motorsport that it's such good fun!

Falling sick

Not something I really want to focus on here or dwell on because I am dealing with it but I have been a little bit sick in October.  At the beginning of the month, I saw my doctor because I was really struggling with over-production of adrenaline and I was literally shaking all the time and just a few days ago I was admitted to hospital with severe abdominal pain on the left side.  Given my history I have to say that Dubai London Clinic treat me exceptionally well-I'm seen immediately, prioritised, results pushed through quickly and both Dr Rajesh and Dr Anna, my key doctors, pushed patients to see me.  I am incredibly grateful for the care they show.   Everyone is telling me to slow down and rest-and I might address my thoughts on that in another blog post.  For now, I am on the mend and back to business as usual.

Beauty haul

To cheer myself up I had a little splurge in Sephora and look forward to sharing my thoughts on what I picked up-especially the Huda Beauty foundation soon!

Barclays Global Investment Outlook
Another event I am super proud of, Raj and I hosted an event in Cairo with our Global Director of Research and Investments, Henk Potts for 45 of my Egyptian clients.  The event was done in a 'Michael Parkinson' interview style where for an hour I asked our Henk various questions about the global economy.  It was so well received by our clients and I was really proud of myself because I knew I did a brilliant job.  Raj keeps joking he is going to lose me to CNN!

The reality is I really really enjoyed doing it and I've had a real confidence boost this month by doing this and the Cancer Awareness dinner.

The twist in the tale:

Straight after the event Raj and I had to head to the airport as we were on the overnight flight back to Dubai.  By some miracle, as we were boarding the plane, both Raj and I were upgraded by Emirates to First Class.  We honestly couldn't believe it-it was the perfect way to end the day.  I think we were like two kids in a sweetshop-Emirates First Class suites really are next level.  I think I pressed all the buttons in the suite and ate a four course meal at 3am!  I drank Bollinger and thoroughly enjoyed every single second of the experience!
So that's October!  I genuinely think that had to be the busiest month of the year.  It cannot possibly get busier....can it?

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Saturday, October 28, 2017

Thoughts on... Fenty Pro Filt'r Soft Matte Longwear foundation



Fenty Pro Filt'r Soft Matte Longwear foundation

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Wednesday, October 11, 2017

Current beauty favourites


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Sunday, October 8, 2017

Fashion Afternoon Tea at Armani Hotel Dubai

Afternoon Tea at Armani Hotel Dubai

To create something exceptional, your mindset must be relentlessly focused on the smallest detail
-Giorgio Armani

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Sunday, October 1, 2017

september twenty seventeen

September was manic.  In fact, as I write this on the 30th September I am actually wondering how I survived!!  Of course, the highlight was the 9-day visit from Sarah and Aimee-you can read all about their time here in this post.  But the rest of the month though was equally as busy....here's my monthly round up

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Sunday, September 24, 2017

A food lovers guide to Dubai

Gaucho restaurant DIFC Dubai
                              
   People who love to eat are always the best people

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Friday, September 8, 2017

August empties


It's been an absolute age since I have done an empties post!  The last two months empties I did on my instastories and the feedback was so so good, so I would love to know how you prefer for me to do them-through a blog post or through instastories?

I don't have too many empties this month so here's a quick run down on what I finished up.

Pixi X Caroline Hirons Double Cleanse

I finished up one at the start of the month and one at the end-I go through this stuff at lightening speed-I wish she sold bigger tubs of both halves of the cleanser so I could buy both.  This cleanser is relatively bland (in the nicest possible way) and it stops my skin from misbehaving.  I've written a full blog post on it here and I recently ordered 4 more from ASOS.

Origins Eye Doctor

I personally didn't rate this eye cream and it was definitely one for the 'I'm not in love but I'll use you up' category.  I didn't find it hydrating enough and I think it would suit a 20's undereye far better than a getting towards late 30's undereye.  I didn't see any difference when using it and I wouldn't repurchase.  That being said, I'm now using the Origins Starting Over eye cream (I was on an Origins binge earlier in the year) and it's much thicker, creamier and more hydrating and I definitely prefer it to the Eye Doctor.

Clarins 'Relax' Oil

This is a multi purpose oil from Clarins and I have to say I really do love Clarins skincare and body care ranges.  This relaxing body treatment oil has Geranium, Petit Grain, Camomile and Basil and is designed to help relieve stress and fatigue and it also helps soothe tired muscles after exercise.  You can use it in the bath and as it's not a heavy oil in texture I also use it sometimes mixed into my moisturiser on my surgery scars on my tummy to help fade them.  I really want to pick some more up and might ask Sarah and Aimee to get me some at duty-free later this month!

Bliss Fabulips

I've realised this is now discontinued so I won't spend too much time on it but this was a lip plumping serum for lips and it was really moisturising as well as plumping.  I have a Dior lip plumper which I love that does a similar job if you're looking for something similar.

L'Oreal Magic Lumi

This is a drugstore dupe for Mac Strobe Cream and is also similar to the Becca Shimmering Skin Perfector in Pearl.  It has a really light texture and I use it as a primer before foundation-it doesn't really keep makeup in place-its just about the additional glow.  It has a pearlescent finish to it without being too in your face and is a great dupe for MAC strobe cream.

Tom Ford lipstick in Pink Dusk

Love this shade from Tom Ford but this is the second one that has snapped on me (cry face).  You can see me wearing it in my Tom Ford lipstick post here.

Clarins Instant Light Complexion Perfector 

Another discontinued product which shows how long I had it for!  This was really good for adding a more bronzed tone to my foundation when I had a tan without changing the consistency of the foundation.  But it's no longer available so that information is not particularly useful to you!

MAC Studio Fix foundation

Although this is, in theory, a powder foundation it's really light in texture and I use it to mattify my skin during the day.  I have lost count how many of these I have gone through but I have to say they last forever.  I must touch up my combination skin 3-4 times a day and these will last a good 6-9 months.  Non-cakey and very finely milled I don't see myself ever being without one.

Kat Von D Lock It Setting Powder

I really enjoyed this setting powder from Kat Von D-it comes in 'translucent' but it doesn't add any colour to the skin-it's purely just to mattify and lock down the products you have applied before it.  It's not cakey and doesn't leave a white cast and I would buy it again.  In the marketing blurb, it states that it has 'micro blurring technology' but I didn't honestly feel that my skin looked perfected from that aspect.  It's not too matte and leaves skin with a velvety satin finish.  I do have to touch up throughout the day (with the MAC Studio Fix powder) but my skin naturally produces oils that no powder can control for a whole day no matter what I do.


My final empty is the perfume I wore obsessively throughout August-mainly because I felt like I had had it a while and I wanted to use it before it expired!  Stella McCartney 'Summer' is a light, fruity, non-offensive, clean scent with top notes of lemon, apple, peony and rose.  I feel like I say this all the time so apologies if this is old news but I have a very very very weak sense of smell (it's pretty much none existent) and I can't smell this on me.  But I finished the bottle lol so I am high fiving myself!

Have you tried any of these products?  Please let me know as well if you prefer this format or the instastory format for empties going forward.  Thanks for reading!

 
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Monday, September 4, 2017

August twenty seventeen



I loved writing my round up of July post-it was an excellent way to reflect on the month and reflect on how amazing living in Dubai really can be.  I've decided to continue and I'm realising that what I thought was a pretty uneventful August was actually a pretty amazing one!

So without further ado, here's my round up of an awesome August!

I went:


I'm starting with the best thing I did this month-I went on another road trip.  I loved going to Hatta last month but I decided to make this one just that little bit more special and hired an Audi R8 for the day as a surprise for my friend and we headed out to Jebel Hafeet which is about 2 hours drive from Dubai.  We had the most amazing day ever-what you may not know about me is that I have a motorsports background and I absolutely love driving.  I've been to Jebel Hafeet many times but this was, without a doubt my very favourite time there.

It was a beautiful day, albeit it's still in the 40-degree temperature range in the UAE but once we got to Jebel Hafeet we put the roof down, braved the heat and sped up the mountain.  The feeling of the wind in my hair and the roar of the engine was something I will never forget.  And check out the vistas.  Jebel Hafeet stands at almost 1300 metres with panoramic views across the UAE and over to Oman.

The car is AMAZING.  The R8 wasn't my dream car-it was my friends.  But it's mine now too, I absolutely loved every second driving it.  I'm a really good driver as well-I did the 11.7km mountain road (which as you can see twists and turns like a snake all the way up) in 7.09.  I want to go again so badly-it was my favourite day of the year so far.



I ate:

Gaucho, DIFC


I didn't eat out as much as in July but I had some pretty good dinners.  The first highlight is dinner at Gaucho in DIFC.  I have so much love for Gaucho, I could go there every night of the week.  They serve my favourite dessert in Dubai-the Dulce De Leche cheesecake which comes with hot salted caramel sauce and toasted marshmallow.  I cannot wait for my next visit and I would highly recommend a visit.  Danny and his team will definitely ensure you have an awesome night.

Zuma, DIFC
I also went for the business lunch at Zuma.  It's very dangerous working where I work because there are so many amazing restaurants on my doorstep-Gaucho and Zuma are literally 20 steps from my office, my office is positioned between La Petite Maison and Cipriani and I am literally spoiled for choice.  This was actually my first time at Zuma which has won award after award for its food.  They do an excellent business lunch with a really good variety of dishes.  You can choose two starters and a main and then add a dessert for a reduced price.  I had the gyoza and the beef sashimi to start and black cod for my main.  Chloe and I then shared the signature Zuma chocolate dessert but I could have easily eaten one to myself, it was amazing!

Highly highly recommended but this place is packed every day for lunch and dinner so book ahead if you want to go!

Shake Shack


Ok so if you know me at all you know I love a fancy dining experience but I also love a Shake Shack as well!  You know those places that you always go to with the same person and sit at the same table and have an amazing time?  Well, that's Shake Shack for me.  Hence why, after long days in the office we went twice in August!  

My tip? Always get the cheese fries!

Buddha Bar, Grosvenor House
Another recently rediscovered favourite of mine, I went for dinner at Buddha Bar where the food is consistently good and the cocktails are epic.  I mean who doesn't love an inflatable flamingo?  The food is Pan Asian and it's best to go on a Wed/Thurs or Friday night but you'll need to book-I could only get a 10 pm table on a Thursday night.  But we left at 3 am so we got our money's worth.  I definitely recommend checking out the bar upstairs-it's quite small and intimate but has a really nice vibe and excellent service.  I think we were the last to leave!

I relaxed:

I was lucky enough to spend time at 4 spas in Dubai in August-The Talise spa at the Burj Al Arab, The Talise Ottoman spa at The Jumeirah Zabeel Saray, the Armani spa and The Ritz Carlton spa at the Ritz Carlton DIFC.  They all cost around the same and I had a 90-minute massage at all of them.  It's worth noting if you want to book a spa treatment in Dubai that although many places offer a 'couples' massage, there is a gender policy in the hotels where a female therapist treats female guests and a male therapist will treat male guests.  What this also means is that a lot of spas have separate facilities for men and women-different saunas, pools, steam rooms and relaxation areas.

The Burj Al Arab, as you would expect, is opulent.  It's rich blues, emeralds and golds everywhere and the treatment rooms were absolutely beautiful with views across the Marina and JLT for the ladies spa and across Downtown Dubai in the male spa.  The massage I had here was nice but it wasn't mindblowing in all honesty.  I loved the indoor infinity pool (available for men and women) and the views over the Jumeirah Beach Hotel are always breathtaking.



We both agreed the massage at the Armani spa was the best, hands down.  We combined the massage with a scrub and honestly, my skin has never ever ever felt as soft as when I rinsed it off in the shower.  The spa was very cool and contemporary as you would expect from Armani, there are no mixed facilities apart from the pool but as the pool was outdoors we didn't use it in the searing August heat.  Armani does not have a jacuzzi either.

The massage I had was incredible.  I wasn't offered a choice of oil although my friend was.  I also wasn't asked about the pressure I wanted but Alice, my therapist nailed it.  I felt like I was walking on air afterwards.

This is a spa I will definitely return to in the cooler months so I can enjoy the pool-it's worth noting that if you have the Entertainer spa book/app then Armani is included in there.

We had dinner at Armani Deli afterwards which has amazing views of the Dubai fountains.  They serve mainly Meditteranean/Italian food and do an amazing Burrata salad.
We also went to the spa at the Ritz Carlton in DIFC and here the staff were the most friendly and helpful.  I was advised what type of massage to have and combined it again with a body scrub and I was given a choice of 3 oils depending on how I wanted to feel after the treatment-I chose the invigorating one given I was going out for dinner afterwards.  The scrub here wasn't as nice as Armani-it felt much drier on the skin on application but my skin was soft afterwards.  The therapist was very attentive and offered advice and frequently checked everything was ok.  I was also given Natura Bissé skincare samples to take away.  Given this one is right on my doorstep I would definitely go again.

The final spa was the Talise Ottoman spa in the Jumeirah Zabeel Saray.  This was, without doubt, the largest spa with the most facilities but unfortunately, because we were running 5/10 minutes late I felt that I had the worst experience here.  The treatment was at 7 pm and we arrived at 7.05pm.  Ideally we would have got there earlier but unfortunately, workload meant that wasn't possible.  I was rushed to the changing room and into the treatment room and even though I was the last client of the day, because we started at 7.10pm the therapist knocked 10 minutes off the 90 minutes I had paid for.

We both had a hot stone massage for 90 minutes (or 80 in my case) but my friend said that the stones used on them were not as hot as they would have liked and the treatment room was really cold even though the therapist turned off the air conditioning.  I wasn't given a tour of any of the facilities-after the massage I was shown to the female relaxation area and I asked for a peppermint tea but they were out of stock.  My friend was shown round though and saw the Hamman and the 'snow rooms'-I'm so disappointed I didn't.

This is, without doubt, the most beautiful spa and it's beautifully decorated with a Turkish theme-I just wish I had seen more of it.  It's worth noting that Kirsty went there this weekend for the couples treatment and absolutely loved it-she put an Instagram post up about her experience and if she blogs about it I will link it into this post.

I bought:

Nothing!  I've had a few spendy months and there just wasn't a real desire to buy something.  Prices in Dubai are so expensive compared to the UK and although I do love an online splurge I also really enjoyed actual shopping in London and France.  However I have two things on my wishlist currently that are seriously tempting me-the first is a larger YSL bag.  I've narrowed it down to the large Lulu or the large College-but I think I am leaning towards the Lulu (the bag on the left).  I want to go and look at them instore but it's likely I will buy from London in December.
The second item on my radar is a pair of Malone Soulier 'Maureen' heels-I love the look of these burgundy velvet and gold ones-they seem so perfect for Autumn and Winter.  I need to try them on to see if they look too weird on me but I think they're stunning.  If you have tried these I would love to know if they're comfortable?  The do sell Malone Soulier here so I can try them on in the Mall and then order from Net a Porter.  I just need someone to tell me to buy them lol!


I watched:
Not sure how I had time for TV but I binge watched 'Big Little Lies' which was epic and has an amazing soundtrack-it was very gripping and I devoured it over a weekend after discovering it on a flight home from Cairo.  I also started watching Line Of Duty on Netflix and am now season 3-I love crime drama the most so this is right up my street even if I am late to the party!

I hated:


I hated my skin and it hated me right back!  I got a horrendous hormonal breakout that took ages to clear but I found 4 products really helped.  1) Lancome Hydrazen moisturisor-I know this doesn't irriate my skin and it's lovely and soothing 2) Using the Marc Jacobs coconut face primer-again I know it doesn't irritate so it's a safe bet 3) (pictured) The Skinceuticals Phyto Corrective which is a very watery serum-I apply 3-5 drops a night to my fingertips and press over my chin and 4) (pictured) Dr Sebagh Supreme Maintenance Youth Serum which I use in the morning which is helping to fade the scars left from those horrible spots.

August was pretty awesome and September is going to be incredible.  Stay tuned to my instastories because I have so much planned and some special visitors from the UK.  It's going to be epic.

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