30 September, 2013

The plaid shirt-skirt

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Why wear a skirt when you can wear a shirt?

This DIY is literally the easiest thing ever. Just hold the shirt - plaid, denim, camo, your boyfriend's... whatever it is - around your midriff and button it from the bottom up, until it's tight around your waist. Then tie the arm sleeves in a knot at the front and there you have it! Check out similar DIY's here, herehere and here. Who says you have to wear an item as it's supposed to be worn?!

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Plaid shirt (worn as skirt): Zara, NYC top: Forever 21, Heels: River Island, Suede bag: Vintage, Sunglasses: Monki (similar from ASOS), Necklace: H&M.

28 September, 2013

Being a tourist in Dubai

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I recently had some friends from the UK come out to visit for a week, on a stopover, and these are a few of my favourite photos from their time here. There's something about showing guests around that reopens my eyes to all of the wonderful, terrible and absurd things about this city and, whilst I am loath to go on yet another desert safari, I can't deny that it is enjoyable rediscovering parts of Dubai that I neglect as a resident... 

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Photos taken on a desert safari, in the spice markets along the creek, in old Dubai, and from the observatory deck in the Burj Khalifa.

23 September, 2013

Comptoir 102

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I have found my new favourite place in Dubai. Comptoir 102 serve the healthiest food in the city, sell the most beautiful jewellery, accessories and homewares and also host some of the most interesting workshops and talks. What's not to like!

A concept store and cafe, located in an unassuming Jumeirah villa, Comptoir 102 stands out among the mêlée of bland, pretentious establishments and brings something truly unique to Dubai. It is the brainchild of two gorgeous French ladies, Alex and Emma, who can always be found helping customers and chatting to regulars, adding the personal touch of customer service that is a rare find in this city! I could easily spend a whole day here but a morning breakfast meeting (and quick peruse of the store) had to suffice...

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I ordered the Creme Budwig, which, like all of the other dishes, was gluten-free, dairy-free and supremely nutritious. Topped with a generous portion of berries and served with a blueberry and banana smoothie on the side - I was in heaven. My colleagues, meanwhile, ordered the buckwheat pancakes with eggs and avocado, which was also delicious. The culinary theme at Comptoir is simple goodness and, whilst the portions do seem small, this just makes you think that our normal portions are just unnecessarily large! Even if Comptoir 102 didn't offer so much more than a cafe, I would unquestionably still go back just for the food. The wonderful Chef Chris is my new hero.

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Once finished with our breakfast meeting, we obviously couldn't resist having a little browse around the store. Comptoir explain the story behind their concept as, "the pleasure of travelling to unearth little treasures and share the rare, the exquisite, the delicate and the confidential creations in interior design, art or fashion accessories". It is a haven for everything beautiful and rustic, from espadrilles, to delicate gold jewellery, to stationery, to leather boots and hand-woven bags, to cushions, gold leaf wallpaper and novelty lamps! If I had to choose just one store to shop at for the rest of my life it would probably be this one!

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Have you visited Comptoir 102 yet? If not, take my word for it and put it on your to-do list!

17 September, 2013

Mix-and-match monochrome

From gingham, to graphic prints, to minimalistic checks... patterned monochrome outfits are everywhere at the moment!

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1, 2, 3.

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1, 2, 3.

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1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7, 8.

Stay safe and wear just one print, or go bold by clashing multiple patterns - it's just black and white so you can't really go wrong... clash away!

These Sophia Webster heels (8), in particular, are just calling out my name. A potential DIY version of the heels is already bubbling away in my brain... what do you think, should I go for it?

13 September, 2013

Thrifting in Dubai

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Unsurprisingly, it isn't all that easy to find great secondhand bargains in Dubai, a city synonymous with newness. It's not impossible, though, if you know where to look, and thrift shop culture is ever so slowly emerging. These three lovely dresses are all pre-owned items that I recently purchased at pop-up-shops around the city...

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Where can you find similar bargains? My recommendations are:

Dubai Flea Market

These markets happens on the first Friday of each month at Safa park, or indoors at Dubai World Trade Centre during the summer months (updated schedules can be found on their website). A typical flea market situation, these events involve tables and stalls set up in a big square with vendors selling their wares. Items on sale can range from a pair of sat-on sunglasses, to a heavy-duty drilling machine, to the unworn, silk, colour-blocked dress shown above (3). This little beauty cost me just 100 DHS and I went home happy but, admittedly, this was the only thing that caught my eye in the whole market. Be prepared to rummage through a whole lot of junk to find a couple of gems.


Throughout August and September, DUCTAC have been running weekly pop-up stalls, supporting local boutiques and individual sellers. I haven't visited one yet but I am definitely going to investigate tomorrow. Has anyone else bought some wonderful bargains here?

My Ex Wardrobe

Saving the best for last, My Ex Wardrobe definitely have the most high-quality offering of pre-loved items that I have found in Dubai. Set up by three sisters, frustrated with the lack of secondhand shopping outlets in the city, My Ex Wardrobe is quickly gaining coverage and popularity. Cleverly, though, the girls have added a bit of signature 'Dubai glam' to their their monthly pop-up-shops, by hosting them in bars around the city. So, instead of rummaging through dusty racks of clothes in a dingy charity shop, My Ex Wardrobe throw social evenings, complete with free drinks, snacks, pampering and some seriously fabulous bargains. Both the embellished pink shift dress, originally from French Connection (1) and the pretty crocheted number (2) I purchased at their last event in August. Sellers give their items to the sisters before the event, then MEW sell on their behalf, at set prices, eliminating the hassle of haggling. There is usually a really great collection on sale, of both high street and designer pieces (the never-before-worn Louboutins, one size too small, almost broke my heart), so the majority of customers don't leave empty handed! Definitely my favourite choice, I'm even thinking of having a wardrobe clear-out and selling at their next event later this month.

Let me know if you've heard of any other thrift shop outlets in Dubai, I'd love to hear of some more...