Saturday, January 31, 2015

Snap caption: The best thing about Yas Mall is this camel made out of Lego at the Lego store

I'm not sure if it's the fez or the cheeky half-grin on his face or those eyelashes, but I'm smitten.

If you are looking for more reasons to go to Yas Mall, I wrote this list just before it opened. The Virgin Megastore is pretty righteous too.

Nicole Richie and her pink bob and her pop-up shop took over The Beach at JBR this weekend

Nicole Richie, pint-sized reality star, founder of House of Harlow 1960, had a big turnout for her pop-up shop at The Beach JBR as part of Dubai Shopping Festival over the weekend. The National interviewed her here.
Nicole Richie walks Dubai through a basic black shift.

Tuesday, January 27, 2015

Luckiest guy in the world wins Dh200,000 + two awesome cars through the Dubai Shopping Festival's Mega Infinity Raffle

 I feel like Ali Mohammed could look just a little more chuffed, considering he just won twice in one week in the Dubai Shopping Festival's Mega Infinity Raffle: that's Dh200,000 in cash and two Infinitis - a QX60 and Q50 - worth Dh500,000.

The 36-year-old Emirati government worker has been very dedicated to this contest, having entered in each of the last 18 years and never winning. He bought both tickets from the Enoc/Eppco petrol station near Al Wasl Club in Oud Metha and could hardly believe it when he got the second call.

"I couldn’t sleep the whole night – I could barely believe what was happening to me,” said Ali.

Monday, January 26, 2015

Kevin Spacey skipped the SAG awards to mentor theatre students in Sharjah, which just makes me love him more

There he is, looking decidedly non-terrifying on the stage at the Sharjah Institute of Theatrical Arts Sunday night, instead of in Los Angeles picking up his Screen Actors Guild Award for his chilling work portraying Frank Underwood on Netflix's House of Cards.

Overheard in the newsroom: Monday madness edition

British dates are not nice.

Do you deliver - yes or no?

We love our gun ranges in the States.

What is a grilled cheese sandwich?

You don't love your country!

Sunday, January 25, 2015

Ace Hardware in Abu Dhabi: Book & Bean is no longer

What it used to look like.
What it looks like now.
One of the capital's only used bookstores, Book N Bean at Ace Hardware on Yas Mall, has closed. Admittedly, I had not been to Ace Hardware in eons, so who knows when this happened?

Still, it makes me very sad. I loved looking at all the used books, and buying some of them, I loved the coffee, and I loved popping by to watch these passionate players on Friday mornings.

Friday, January 23, 2015

Nicole Richie bringing her House of Harlow 1960 to Dubai Shopping Festival this week

Fresh from the most successful matchmaking in history (her brother-in-law Benji Madden marrying Cameron Diaz), Nicole Richie is traveling to the UAE to host a pop-up shop during Dubai Shopping Festival. You can meet her if you like: she's holding a meet-and-greet and styling session on January 30, 6pm, at The Beach across from JBR. I'd ask her how to get one leg inside a dress she's selling (but that's just me, a solid size 10-12-14).

If you go to The Beach for any length of time, I strongly recommend buying something and getting your parking validated. I am still smarting from the Dh120 I had to pay for my Giuliana and Bill Rancic interview in late December. Didn't read that one? Catch up here.

Thursday, January 22, 2015

Lululemon headed to the UAE

Andrea Marcum, a totally ripped yoga teacher and founder of U Studio Yoga from Los Angeles, did more than teach a couple of really tough but inspiring yoga classes at Bodytree studio in the capital last week.

Marcum stopped me in my tracks before we started a Thursday-morning hip-opening session when she said 'Lululemon is coming here. They wanted me to tell people'. She said a store was due to open in September, but didn't know whether it would be in Abu Dhabi or Dubai.

Now, Marcum is an official Lululemon ambassador, so I consider this some pretty good intel. I'm checking with the company officially, too, and will report back.

I feel like this has The Dubai Mall written all over it, but time will tell. Lululemon is famous for its store-opening stunts, so that will be fun to watch out for too. At the moment there isn't anything on the website about a UAE location. There is a Facebook page, UAE Loves Lululemon, but it never really took off, with just 85 likes.

If ever there was a brand that would do gangbusters here, it's this much-loved (and mocked) Canadian chain of yoga clothes. Yoga classes are filled with it here, so people obviously already buy it like crazy when they are traveling. I remember marvelling at how much there was in my first Abu Dhabi yoga class. And then later, giggling at this exchange.

Even with more and more yoga gear available here, from sites like or yApparel in Dubai, it's seems to still be that one little symbol yogis seem to strive for.

Bets on where the first store will be? Let me know if you see, please?

(Marcum also teaches at the portal My Yoga Gaiam, a US$10-a-month site I use to cut down on the crazy-high cost of doing regular yoga classes in the UAE).

UPDATE: I tweeted this blog at Lululemon and they favourited it. Hmmmm...

Tuesday, January 20, 2015

Tim Hortons delivers if you spend Dh100

You know the Canadians will be in. Just saying.

Overheard in the newsroom: The something ridiculous edition

The charcoal guy? He better hope he doesn't see me again.

Sorry habibti, no can do.

Q: How was Beirut?
A; I didn't get out of the hotel.

Want lunch? We're having dirty Indian Chinese.

Who said something ridiculous this week? I remember us all going 'oh that's ridiculous'.

Everybody and everything wants to move to the UAE.

He's eating some humble pie. Some humble, falafel pie.

We had a fluffy white cat who's now a fluffy grey cat.

I'm going to go get a coffee. Green tea won't cut it.

I can't wait to get home to see my phone.

Aerial violinist Caitlin De Ville performs at Mall of the Emirates in Dubai

The Zambian-born electric violinist has been turning things up a notch with three performances daily - at 5, 7.30 and 9pm - and will do so until Wednesday night.

Thursday, January 8, 2015

Overheard in the newsroom: Brrrrr it's Thursday edition

I wonder how long the toilet seat has been missing?

No, no, no, not on top of the soup.

What is ICYMI?

Unless you are sitting on his lap, no way you pay that kind of money.

She has a condition that covers almost everything.

Editor A: I thought you didn't like mushrooms?
Editor B: Thank you for knowing that.

Wednesday, January 7, 2015

Canada's beloved Tim Hortons in the UAE: You know it's a big deal when...

...the launch of a new coffee flavour is billed by the PR as "one of the biggest events of the month", held at SkyDive Dubai hosted by Virgin Radio's Kris Fade. Not to mention the proliferation of outlets in every mall and gas station since 2011 and this 2013 marking of the thaw in Canada-UAE relations.

(As an aside, when my father was visiting over Christmas, we stopped to take a picture of him at the Dubai Mall outlet. A nice Arab man who noticed us stopped and said "welcome home". Aw.)

Remember how excited we got about the first few in Dubai and Abu Dhabi?

UPDATE: Okay, yes, it was the launch of the Dark Roast. Slightly disappointing.

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 ...