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Dubai

What I Wore

What I Wore: Desert Safari

24th July, 2015

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As I mentioned in this post, during our desert safari in Dubai, Zanita was able to do an amazing photoshoot with all the girls. The backdrop, the light, everything about it came together for an amazing editorial.

Dress: Tome (similar here)

Photography: Zanita Whittington

 

Lifestyle

A girl’s travel guide to Dubai

23rd July, 2015
All set! With the girls in the First Class Lounge prior to take off!

All set! With the girls in the First Class Lounge prior to take off!

I recently had the opportunity to visit Dubai as a guest of Dubai Tourism to experience the city with a group of girlfriends. Who better to go with than my fellow Fashion Bloggers girls Nadia, Sara and Zanita? If guys go to Vegas for a boys’ trip, Dubai is definitely the ultimate destination for a girls’ trip. You can do everything from enjoy cocktails by the pool, to indulge in spa treatments and shop ’til you drop. Below is my guide to what to see and do during a visit to this incredible city.

How to get there:

We flew to Dubai with Qantas and quite enjoyed having a slumber party of sorts in our pyjamas during the flight!

Flying to Dubai on Qantas Airways.

Flying to Dubai on Qantas Airways.

Pyjama Party! With the girls in our Qantas PJ's.

Pyjama Party! With the girls in our Qantas PJ’s.

 

Where to stay:

If there’s one thing Dubai knows how to do it’s luxury hotels. We stayed at the Anantara Dubai The Palm Resort & Spa. It was a gorgeous hotel right by the beach and was incredible. We hung out by the pool and enjoyed a lot of amazing meals there. For a totally different experience we also stayed at the PER AQUUM Desert Palm which was right near the desert. The hotel hosts the Cartier International Dubai Polo Challenge and was a beautiful location.

Anantara Dubai The Palm

Anantara Dubai The Palm Resort & Spa

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Beachside at the Anantara Dubai

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With my girls!

Per AQUUM Desert Palm

Getting glammed up for dinner

Per AQUUM Desert Palm.

PER AQUUM Desert Palm’s beautiful surroundings

Hanging with Nadia at Per AQUUM Desert Palm.

Hanging with Nadia at PER AQUUM Desert Palm pool

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Strolling through the gardens

 

What to do: 

Visit the Al Fahidi District which is the historical quarter of Dubai. It’s got some really beautiful sightseeing and was a great insight into the history of the city.

Do a longtail boatride to take in the city via water. The boat leaves from the Anantara Dubai and goes to the Dubai Marina. They do four return trips daily.

If you’re feeling adventurous try indoor skydiving at Inflight! Such a great adrenalin rush. Just don’t do what Nadia did and attempt to do a photoshoot mid-air…

Pamper yourself with a spa treatment. Dubai really knows how to do spa treatments! I had a great spa experience at both the Anantara and Per AQUUM.

The weather will be really hot so take some time to hang out by the pool and just relax. Order some fresh coconuts and enjoy an afternoon in the water.

Exploring in the historical quarter of Dubai - Al Fahidi District.

Exploring in the historical quarter of Dubai – Al Fahidi District.

Desert Sands.

Desert Sands

The long tail boat ride.

The long tail boat ride.

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Pool time while sipping coconuts. Is there anything better?

Poolside - Per AQUUM Desert Palm.

Poolside

 

Where to shop:

Prepare your credit card for a workout as Dubai definitely has some amazing malls to satisfy every shopping whim. Head to Dubai Mall, one of the biggest shopping malls in the city to enjoy some retail therapy.

Check out the Spice Souk for spices, the Textile Souk for textiles and the Gold Souk for jewellery (Dubai has some of the cheapest prices for gold anywhere in the world). I picked up a few pashminas of really beautiful quality and some little ornaments for Sophia. You can also pick up some great homewares such as cushions and blankets.

Spice souk.

All the amazing spices at the Spice Souk

Old Souk - textile shopping.

So much colour!

Old Souk - textile shopping.

Beautiful homewares at the textile souk.

 

Where to eat/drink:

The Eden Beach Club is the perfect place to have a drink. We went there to have cocktails and watch the sunset and it was gorgeous.

Enjoy a delicious Jewel Afternoon Tea at the PER AQUUM Desert Palm, complete with views over the polo fields. If you’re looking for gourmet experiences try Gaucho, Zuma, La Petite Maison and Nobu.

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Cheers!

Sunset at Eden Beach Club

Sunset at Eden Beach Club

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Cocktails at Eden Beach Club

 

Must-do: 

You can’t miss the Arabian Desert Safari. It was incredible. We drove through the desert in four wheel drives and when we got to our location joined a camel train and were able to ride on camels through the desert to get to our camp. When we arrived at our campsite we were greeted with lavish tents with beautiful Persian carpets. We enjoyed a traditional Arabian feast at sunset after which we also had henna tattoos done, smoked shishas and were entertained by bellydancers. It was definitely a once in a lifetime experience. The scenery was so picturesque Zanita actually did a photoshoot right there in the desert.

 

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Getting up close and personal with a falcon

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Our ride!

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Having too much fun with the girls

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The sand dunes provided the perfect backdrop

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Riding to camp

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The desert surroundings

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Our glamorous dinner location

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Magical trip with these ladies

What to pack:    

Dubai is very hot. When we went where it was 40 degrees everyday so bring lots of light and airy clothing. However be mindful that it’s a more conservative culture so no midriffs, have something to cover your shoulders and wear skirts to the knee.

 

Want to win your own Dubai experience? You can win a dream holiday for two to Dubai thanks to Fashion Bloggers TV!  The prize includes return premium economy flights to Dubai with Qantas, 2 nights at the exclusive PER AQUUM Desert Palm and 2 nights at the beachside sanctuary, Anantara Dubai the Palm Resort & Spa. To enter, simply create a Dubai inspired flatlay, follow and tag in our partners @anantaradubai @peraquumdesertpalm @qantas @fashionbloggerstv, and #mydubai plus #followinourheels. The most creative post will win! Entries open to Aus/NZ residents only and close 19 August. Winner to be announced on INSTAGRAM and Facebook 20 August. Full terms and conditions here – http://bit.ly/1MjueXx

 

 

 

 

 

 

Date with Kate

Date with Kate: Sophia Serin

23rd July, 2015

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Sophia Serin is the epitome of a magazine editor. As the glamorous editor of Emirates Woman, one of the longest-running and biggest-selling magazines in the Middle East, the smart and oh-so stylish Serin definitely knows what the modern woman wants. I caught up with Serin in Dubai to talk about everything from social media to pushing boundaries and shaking up magazines…

How long have you lived in Dubai?

This is my 12th year. It was really strange how I came here. I had just finished university and I had done some internships and they needed journalists to come over – Emirates Woman at that time wasn’t a huge journal but they needed journalists to come over and to work. So I ended up coming as a freelancer. I was on a plane with two girlfriends and I’ve been here ever since.

Tell me about your magazine Emirates Woman.           

Emirates Woman has been around for 34 years. So it’s the longest-running, biggest selling English magazine in the Middle East. So, when I came on board with Emirates Woman, we did a redesign. I just shook it all up. It was a little bit old because it had been around for so long. It has been my mission with the mag, just to keep it current and I always think to myself, “This magazine can’t look out of place on an international newsstand. It has to be relevant and for women in the region.”

Who is the Emirates Woman reader?

Being in such an expatriate community, we have to appeal to many different readers. So, everything from the Emirati woman to the expat who has been here for a long time. Our younger reader starts at about 21 and goes right up to about 45. Which is sometimes a challenge because you have to do things that appeal to such a wide range of women.

Because you are based in Dubai is it [the content] quite different compared to an Australian magazine? Are there any restrictions on what you can publish in your magazine?

Yes. You really have to be respectful of the culture. And that’s a huge part of my job actually. So if I feel that anything is a little bit too sexy or a bit sort of over the top or disrespectful, it doesn’t go in. But I also have a team that checks everything. But usually, [it’s] bikini shots and basically anything too sexy.

Has there ever been a moment where you’ve pushed the boundaries?

Always. That’s what I do. But where the magazine pushes [the boundaries] is not necessarily with the images, it’s with the content. We talk about child rights and we talk about rape, all those things that sort of can get swept under the carpet and people don’t want to talk about, especially in young markets like this.

Is social media a very important part of what you do?

Huge. When I started in journalism, all those years ago, social media didn’t really exist. So I’m learning more every day. I have a fantastic, very young, amazing team and that’s their forte. It plays a huge part because now it’s all about who has the highest Instagram followers, who is the hit blogger, who is wearing what. Brands love it as well. Brands want to be associated with it. We have lots of events with the bloggers and with the brands; we’re all wearing their stuff, we’re promoting it. It’s the new way now and it’s the only way. Unless you embrace social media and everything around it, you are dead.

It is refreshing to hear that you feel like it is such an important part of the industry.

It is. I’m not saying that all bloggers are good. Again, this is an emerging market. They are everywhere. You can become very famous very quickly here. But, it’s my job and we really try and get the good ones because at the end of the day, I want to be talking to someone and reading about someone that’s an authority on fashion or beauty or on lifestyle. We always have to keep relevant and abreast of everything that’s going on in town and a huge part of that is the bloggers and social media.

What’s your future plan? Will you stay in Dubai forever?           

I don’t know if I can stay here forever. It’s a full-on city. It’s amazing. I feel that I have grown with the city, especially in my job as a journalist it’s all about educating. It’s different than markets like Australia. Magazines are new [in the Middle East] and not part of the culture as much. So I’m not leaving any time soon. I think I’m here for a few years.

 

WE WENT TO Per AQUUM Desert Palm

WE ATE a selection of canapés from a high tea

WE DRANK English breakfast tea

SOPHIA WORE a Roksanda dress

 

If you want to see more of my interview with Sophia Serin, don’t miss tonight’s episode of Fashion Bloggers at 9.30pm on E! 

Lifestyle

PHOTO DIARY: DUBAI

19th December, 2013
Dubai airport.

Dubai airport.

Onboard Emirates/Qantas flight en route to Dubai.

Onboard Emirates/Qantas flight en route to Dubai.

One&Only The Palm, Dubai.

One&Only The Palm, Dubai.

Beachside at One&Only The Palm, Dubai.

Beachside at One&Only The Palm, Dubai.

Sunset at One&Only The Palm, Dubai.

Sunset at One&Only The Palm, Dubai.

Swimming with dolphins at Dolphin Bay in Atlantis The Palm.

Swimming with dolphins at Dolphin Bay in Atlantis The Palm.

 

I recently flew with Qantas and Emirates and stopped over in Dubai on my way back from Europe. Although I only had 48 hours there (and I admit I didn’t do much besides lie by the hotel pool) there was so much to do and see. I stayed at the beautiful One&Only The Palm and if you are ever in Dubai this hotel is a must-see. It has an Idyllic beach setting, beautiful spacious rooms, delicious food served through various restaurants, a fantastic spa, an excellent gym, plus it has great service and it’s guaranteed great weather. Even if you don’t stay there it’s fantastic for dining and the spa is superb. Some of my favourite things to do include:

 

One&Only Spa:

The One&Only Spa has partnered with ESPA to create a centre of pampering excellence and wellbeing for the best treatments in Dubai. There are 12 private treatments suites and the spa offers a range of treatments. I opted for the Swedish 80 minute massage and I can honestly say it was one of the best I’ve had in my life.

 

Bar:

The Jetty Lounge- This beach side bar is the perfect place for sunset drinks. It’s laid back and has a great selection of cocktails and selection of light snacks.

 

Restaurant:

STAY by Yannick Alléno in One&Only The Palm is fantastic! STAY (aka ‘Simple Table Alléno Yannick’) is a concept created by and named after French Michelin-starred chef Yannick Alléno. The food is delicious, the menu is abstract yet uncomplicated and grounded in modern French cooking. But if you are like me and have a sweet tooth you have to check out the patisserie bar. The desserts are unbelievable. You can order singular plates or dessert platters measured by the metre and half metre and they prepared in front of you by the patisserie chefs.

 

Swimming with Dolphins at Atlantis Bay:

The Dolphin adventure at the Atlantis Bay is sensational. I have been lucky enough to swim with dolphins previously but this was an extra special experience. It was great watching these magnificent creatures so close, let alone getting to touch and play with them. The Atlantis hotel itself is a wonder; it’s located at the edge of The Palm. You could spend all day looking at the stunning aquarium or hours on end at the water park.