Thursday, February 20, 2014

In the foothills of the Himalayas: My week with Macklemore at Ananda Spa

Okay, I didn't spend a week with Macklemore. That's more of a Daily Mail headline, and the only time I read those is when I am eating lunch back at my desk in Abu Dhabi. I did spend several days at Ananda Spa, a beautiful place near Rishikesh at the same time as the recent four-time Grammy Award-winning American rapper Macklemore, aka Ben Haggerty, and his lovely fiancee/manager-of-things/producer Tricia Davis. I have to say, it was a pleasant surprise when the pair of them strolled in to morning yoga class.

How great is this picture? I think Macklemore may have just had a head massage. 

Tuesday, February 18, 2014

Tales from Ananda Spa: In a meditation room, in pranayama breathing class, in a beautiful spa and hotel high in the Himalayas...

…there is no escaping technology and the people who abuse it.

An Indian woman enters a 45-minute class designed to teach people how to use their breath to become more centred and mindful, and overcome stressful situations as they arise. The class already has about seven eager students, most sitting cross-legged on meditation cushions, some with their backs to the wall. The class had started five minutes earlier, and the woman has ignored a sign outside the room suggesting that was too late to join.

Sunday, February 16, 2014

Well hello Delhi! Or, more properly Namaskar

Indira Gandhi International Airport

I've arrived. More on this trip, much later.

Thursday, February 13, 2014

Check out the gorgeous vertical garden at the DNA Center for Integrative Medicine & Wellness

This place, in The Collection at the St Regis Saadiyat Island Resort, is totally amazing. More on it to come, but anyone who watched that cheesy but addictive Shonda Rhimes Grey's Anatomy spinoff Private Practice will have a feel for what's going on here: wellness, wellness, wellness...

Not to mention this incredible, jaw-dropping vertical garden in the lobby. You just do not see many of these, because they are quite difficult to maintain. My recent bougainvillea success has me thinking…

Monday, February 10, 2014

My bougainvillea lives!

There is lush bougainvillea growing all over Abu Dhabi and those little bursts of colour are one of my favourite small pleasures of living here. But last summer I bought a lush bougainvillea of my own for my balcony, and it promptly went on strike. Refusing to flower or really do anything. It grew some new leaves, but they never went anywhere (dried up and fell off) and it was so dormant I thought it was half-dead. I even considered throwing it out. Then this week I noticed little buds, then today, this!

I have never had anything close to a garden, meaning I have never known the inner joy that a moment like this brings. On another note, I did learn the hard way not to playfully swat a lush bougainvillea plant (check out the cool pic on that post! I never realised, if I do say so myself). I just wanted to pass on my story again to save anyone else from learning the lesson the hard way. 

Thursday, February 6, 2014

Overheard in the newsroom: I'm a-heading on a vacation edition

I feel like I had a vacation with him.

I'd be really cross if a piece of ceiling fell on my head!

Editor A: You know what they need for a shock campaign?
Editor B: Tasers?

Do you go to Toys R Us to get your cutlery?

Jet Blue is the budget airline that's not disgusting.

I don't know how to phrase it to even ask the internet.

Air Bud: he's like the Free Willy of the canine world.

Club Uno Dubai: Dining with strangers is actually pretty cool...

...check out my piece on the recent Peroni Privato dinner I attended at the fashion designer Nadine Kanso's house in Dubai.

Soon I am going to post pics of the gorgeous Ethical Muse organic jute totes and Bil Arabi scarves we left with - mine says "I love you in Arabic", in Arabic in gorgeous neon green stitching.

What I don't say: Every single person I met was so nice, and interesting, and creative, and warm, but when I mentioned that I lived in Abu Dhabi and was headed back there (in a Careem car!), they all expressed varying and increasingly hilarious expressions of shock, horror and pity. I can only compare it to the inevitable overly apologetic reaction I get every time a European assumes I am American.

Anyway, Abu Dhabi is pretty cool Dubai people! You need to check it out. And that dinner was totally awesome.

How to be a happy expat

Because a cloud wall makes you want to take a selfie.  After 10 years living in the UAE, some of that time happy, some miserable and ...