Hair: Iles Formula Haute Performance finishing serum.
I was recently introduced to the Iles formula range that just launched in the UAE – and I fell in love. My personal favorite from the small, but curated range was the haute performance finishing serum, which is a lightweight serum (paraben free) created by celebrity hairstylist, Wendy Iles, which can be applied on damp hair for UV protection or on dry hair to help nourish the hair. A subtle lovely scent, with ingredients like macadamia and argan nut oil, tucuma seed oil and hydrolised silk.
available at Hair Lab in Palm Strip
Skincare: Murad Retinol youth renewal serum and eye serum
I always hear about how Retinol has changed a lot of women’s lives when it comes to skincare, but I must say – I never really dabbled in it and this is the first time I’ve started using it. Quite pricy, but if you’re looking to introduce retinol into your skincare in a gentle way – this is it. I tend to use it around twice a week at night – both the serum and the youth renewal eye serum. It does help with minimizing fine lines, but I definitely feel my skin has gone brighter and smoother.
Body: Fenty Beauty Body Lava
This is one product I couldn’t wait for from Fenty Beauty and the first product to sell out – The Body Lava. In a gel oil form, I personally believe there aren’t enough body shimmer products on the market. It smells lovely,but quite too greasy for my liking so I wouldn’t apply too much product.
Available at Sephora
Concealer: Dior beauty one coat camouflage everlasting concealer
I’m always on the lookout for concealers as I rarely ever find one I actually adore this new one from Dior, which is waterproof, light yet high in pigment, as well as it being hydrated and still gives a matte finish – pretty much all the things I look for in a concealer.
Drugstore: Essence make me glow
I only got introduced to Essence recently – a European drugstore beauty brand. I must say I was impressed with the product selection and quality, and the prices are incredibly affordable. Comes in two shades, I love the gold one – highly pigmented, smells like fresh laundry and even though the product is in liquid form, it’s not too watery. The illuminator only costs AED22 which I find crazy.
The hotel: COMO Shambhala Estate, Ubud, Bali The Location: secluded space in Ubud, Bali – around 15-20 mins from the city The design: understated luxe, spacious – in the most breathtaking jungle and greenery. You really get the perfect mix of luxury and nature. The room: The large and spacious estate has 30 rooms and suites split between 5 residences (that all have different sanskrit names and have their own large pools). We stayed in a retreat pool villa, which was a breathtaking two floor, two bedroom villa with a gorgeous infinity pool. The toiletries: Every COMO hotel uses their spa brand for toiletries – the COMO Shambhala brand. The restaurants: There are two restaurants at the hotel:
-Kudus House: A 150 year old former Javanese residence, We had breakfast there everyday, and they also service traditional Indonesian food for dinner (the chicken satay was out of this world).
-Glow restaurant: COMO Shambhala’s healthy restaurant. I’ve honestly never had tastier and satisfying healthy food. Their gluten free pizza with mushrooms is heavenly – think I had one every day. The coffee: I wish the coffee was as good as Uma Ubud, it was from a nespresso machine The spa: Their spa is truly wonderful, with a window view of the tropical rainforest. I booked in for the signature Shambhala massage, which was a Balinese massage – as well as the Taksu massage, which is stronger. Highly recommend Widi for an authentic Balinese massage. The spa itself offers over 20 treatments – including Acupuncture. They also have a lovely Pilates room, for mat pilates classes as well as a reformer and cadillac machine. The pool: Each residence has their own pool, but the hotel also has their main pool in the centre of the resort and a 25m lap pool The gym: There’s a gym at the resort, and each room has their own yoga mat (which is signature for COMO guests) The service: I can truly say you don’t know incredible service till you’ve tried the service at COMO Shambhala. Some of the nicest staff, incredibly helpful – and they think about things before you even get the chance to think about them yourself. Everything is personalized to your needs and each room gets their own personal assistant – our assistant, Eka was amazing and really made the biggest difference to our stay. She assisted with everything from our small to larger enquiries, schedule for the day to making our stay even better. Extra notes: The resort offers wellness programs starting from 3 days, so it’s definitely something I’d look to return to very soon. One of my favorite trips thus far!
I rarely do facials, but if I do – the best part is the facial massage. This month, I ask Skin expert, Rebecca Treston from Euromed about Facial Massages: Are they essential? What is it good for? How often should we be doing them? Is there such thing as too much?
Massage is important because it brings oxygen and fresh blood to the area, especially if someone can’t afford to do regular treatments. When you massage the skin, you can improve the circulation, exercise the muscles and relieve any tension from your face, similar to the way in which a body massage would. Those who cannot afford to invest money or time in regular facials can really benefit, which is why at-home tools such as Clarisonic has become popular. If you want to experience a clinic-based facial massage treatment then Venus Magic Hands is a great option. This non-invasive treatment uses B.E.A.M technology (Bio Electrical Acceleration Management); this activates the muscles, and increases blood circulation, by sending electric pulses through the nervous system. After just one treatment, you will rejuvenate the skin and achieve a radiant complexion.
Ideal for… a really lovely lunch in Jumeirah 1 Restaurant name and location: Society Cafe & Lounge, Jumeirah Beach Road Cuisine: Cafe – European Atmosphere: Quiet, and relaxed What they say: A space where every person and ingredient has a place and purpose, Society Cafe & Lounge is an engine of bursting flavours inspired by the cultural culinary landscape of the time. A menu boasting gourmet favourites presented in a casual setting, Society Cafe & Lounge promises a culinary treat regardless of palette or time of day. A homegrown concept brought to life by a diverse group of personalities driven by a common vision, Society Cafe & Lounge pays homage to the city that it sits in – Dubai
What to order:
-Beetroot salad: fresh, comes with candied pecans and feta – yum.
-Mushroom croquettes: My favorite starter – comes with truffle aioli and pink pepper.
-Lobster roll: a little different to the usual lobster roll but still good nonetheless – comes with sweet potato fries.
-Mushroom rigatoni: delicious, but would definitely be better if it was more el dente.
-Cereal Tres leches (a must order, and probably their most instagrammed dessert)
Service: The service could’ve been a little better, but otherwise the staff were super sweet.
What I loved:
-The interiors: Industrial, minimal with lots of natural light. I’m a fan.
-Their breakfast menu looks really good, so I definitely have to come back for that! They also serve pastries and freshly baked cakes – I recommend the almond croissant with your coffee.
-Their coffee and tea selection: wish more restaurants focused on this. They serve Blacksmith coffee.
Haircare: Rene Furterer Karite Nutri day cream
I recently traveled to Paris with Pharmaceutical hair brand, Rene Furterer – fell in love with the brand. One of my favorite products was the Karite Nutri day cream, which is a leave in lotion (that you don’t rinse out). Smells great, a lovely leave in that you can apply on dry and wet hair – highly recommend it if you’re someone that has really dry ends (the cream is hydrating, but doesn’t weigh your hair down).
Drugstore buy: Rimmel Insta Duo contour stick
Love a good drugstore buy – this Rimmel contour stick is a failsafe product if you’d like to contour and don’t know how. Great handbag staple, easy to blend – contour on one side, and a highlighter on the other side.
Lips: Lime Crime Plushies in Milk tea
Tried Lime Crime’s plushies after someone I know highly recommended them. Heads up, Lime Crime was the first brand I wore when I got into matte lips, but I did really love the plushies range because of the fact that you actually felt your own lips. Soft matte and hydrating – I love it in Milk Tea, a gorgeous dusty rose shade.
Available at Sephora
Mask: Glamglow #glittermask
I must say – I’m not usually a big fan of masks, but I love pretty products and Glamglow are definitely the most innovative beauty brand when it comes to masks. Comes with an applicator brush, the mask helps with firming, lifting ones and contours the skin. A black glitter mask, you can apply it generously on your skin and can peel off after 20 minutes.
Highlighter: Zoeva strobe gel in Corona
I’ve been loving Zoeva products recently, and all over the strobe gel (always down for a glow). In gel form, the formula is super lovely. it’s a product you can wear under make up, without make up or over make up – and you still get the pigmented yet natural finish. I personally love them in all shades, but my favorite is Corona.
I’ve been using Lumees since I discovered it a couple of years ago. Since then, the brand has become a lot bigger and other brands have been following suit (I’ve dabbled with a couple, and the Lumee still wins). Not only does it work as the most durable phone cover (it has protected my phone from endless falls), it gives you the best light on a night out. I personally have the duo, which has a light on both sides. The picture above was taken on my iPhone 7 plus Lumee case in dim lighting. To shop, click here
Restaurant: New Shanghai at The Dubai Mall
If there is one cuisine I will always constantly crave (other than Thai food), it’s modern Chinese food. I was super excited to hear about New Shanghai having just opened a few weeks ago at The Dubai Mall – basement level, right by Eataly. A chain from Australia and Shanghai, the space is actually gorgeous, the dishes are incredibly affordable and actually really good, which is usually not the case when it comes to affordable restaurants these days. My favorite dishes included the sweet corn soup (which comes with chicken), the dumplings (they make them fresh in-house), the sweet and sour chicken, Kung pao chicken and the rainbow beef (crispy and flavorful). They could have had more of a selection when it came to dessert, but definitely heading back. http://www.newshanghai.com.au
Music: Bose Soundlink Micro
When it comes to headphones and speakers, the ones I never switch up are Bose. The wireless headphones I got last year are with me whenever I’m working out or traveling. I recently got my hands on the soundlink micro to do the job when I can’t use bigger speakers, and I must say I was incredibly impressed. Comes in 3 color ways – black, navy and orange (I have that one), the speakers fit in one hand, are waterproof, have a strap you can attach to backpacks or bikes – and the highlight of it all, was the sound. The custom-designed transducer reproduces sound better than any speaker of its size.
Weekend: Check out my guide on The Huntr here. I’ve joined the site as Music and nightlife editor.
Highlighter: Anastasia Beverly Hills x Amrezy highlighter
I live for highlighters, it’s no secret. Anastasia created one of my favorite highlighters, so I knew this would be a winner. A limited edition collaboration with beauty influencer, Amrezy – the gel formula illuminator comes in the most beautiful gold shade and blends in easily to create a dewy finish.
Available at Sephora
Tinted Moisturizer: Shiseido Waso Color-smart day moisturizer
Obsessed with the Waso range, I’ve also given up using foundations during the day – and focusing on healthy skin instead. I’ve been using this tinted moisturizer for the past month (they also have an oil-free version, which is just as good). Adapts to your skin color, and brightens the skin – giving it a dewy finish. I also love the fact that it has SPF (30) and is paraben free.
Toner: Aesop Bitter Orange Astringent Toner
To be very honest, I only recently started using a toner, and it’s made such a big difference to my cleansing routine. My first step is to use face wipes to remove the make up I have on my skin, before using a cleanser – and finish off with a toner to remove any make up or dirt left post cleansing. I love Australian brand, Aesop for their natural products and this toner is so great if you have combination to oily skin. I must say, I always found a toner useless till I started using this.
Available at Bloomingdales
Face mist: MAC Fix+ in Rose, Lavender and Coconut
I never use primers, and rely on mists. I have been using the MAC Fix+ one for years, and still is one of my favorite mists on the market. It’s a great refresher mist, as well as a setting spray. As someone that also buys products based on scents, I love the fact that MAC launched it in three new scents – with none of them being too empowering.
Fragrance: Christian Louboutin perfume oil in Tornade Blonde
I have a whole ritual when it comes to fragrance, and a part of that is applying pefume oils on pulse points, because they do last all day and when it mixes with your fragrance, it creates a unique scent. Super pricy, but it’s made from some of the most expensive, and purest oils. The Tornade Blonde is a floral and feminine scent. Notes also include Rhubarb, sweet Bulgarian Rose, Citrus Orange flower petals and Cedarwood.
Ideal for… an elegant and chic Arabian night out Restaurant name and location: Ninive at Emirates Towers Hotel Cuisine: Middle Eastern Atmosphere: cosy, relaxed and super chic. What they say: Everything started from its geographical location.
The restaurant is suspended, as though floating, in the heart of a sweltering city district, in the center of the world, yet in the middle of the desert.
It is somewhere between a garden and a contemporary urban majlis. In Islamic culture, the majlis is the space where one meets to make decisions, the place where official assemblies take place.
It needed a name that represented this meeting, or confluence, of influences, preserving its link to the history of the region.Now, according to researchers, the Hanging Gardens of Babylon, the only Wonder of the World never found, would have flourished in ancient Ninive, one of the oldest cities of Mesopotamia. It was also the capital of the Assyrian empire in the seventh century BCE.
This name requires authenticity, it induces a thousand stories that carry the legend.
This is how Ninive was born.
What to order:
-Fattoush (the best fattoush I’ve had in a while, tastes very fresh)
-Beef fatayer (cinnamon, pine seeds and raisin)
-Manti (fresh and doughy)
-Chocolate donuts and Turkish ice cream
-Almond Kunafeh with orange and almond sorbet (insane, tastes like an almond croissant)
What I loved:
-La Cantine is one of my favorite places in Dubai, so I was excited to try this new concept by the same owners.
-They offer shisha in some interesting flavors – mastic, vanilla and cinnamon to name a few.
-They play a range of Arabic music to some lounge tunes.
-You do get some gorgeous views of Downtown and DIFC from the restaurant.
-Their unique and mismatched plates – you can really tell the whole restaurant was thought through.
This month, I took questions from some readers for my skin guru, Rebecca Treston from Euromed Clinic to answer. I got several questions from women that wanted to define cheekbones without injecting fillers – and Rebecca shared her thoughts and recommendations…
Aside from fillers, you can opt for treatments that define the cheekbones by contouring the face. One such example is Ulthera. This is the only skin rejuvenation procedure that uses ultrasound imaging, which has been scientifically proven to yield highly effective results for facial contouring. During treatment, a micro-focused ultrasound technology delivers energy to different depths in the skin (dermal or even deeper to the connective tissue). To lift the cheekbones using ulthera, you must target the treatment to the SMAS (Superficial Musculo Aponeurotic System) on the lower face. The SMAS is a continuous fibromuscular layer of the face which is covered with the adipose tissue (fat) and the skin and interlinks the muscles of the face, midface and neck. By using Ulthera procedure on the SMAS the lower face is tightened and in turn as the muscles are tightened, this can lift the cheekbones.
Another option to define the cheekbones is radiofrequency, however, you need to choose the correct treatment to create the right result. By using revital radiofrequency, which is a safe, non-invasive, no downtime procedure, the supportive framework of the skin can be tightened which in turn can contour the face and lead to the cheekbones appearing more defined.
There is a new emerging treatment, which combines several technologies to contour the face. This is called facial contouring and uses RF (Radio Frequency), US (Ultrasound) and Near Infrared (NIR) to offer immediate, visible and subtle improvements. The Ultrasound technology used safely and effectively targets, hard-to-remove, fat deposits, naturally reduces and eradicates the fat cells without damaging skin or shifting fat to other areas; while the Radio Frequency stimulates the cells to restructure collagen, improve elasticity, tone, tighten and further contour the skin. Each technology penetrates different layers of the skin, combination treatment is always more effective and therefore can be used bi-monthly.
Ideal for… an authentic trattoria experience in Dubai Restaurant name and location: Ravioli and co, Burj Daman, DIFC Dubai Cuisine: Italian Atmosphere: It’s quite new, and quite hidden – so it was fairly quiet. What they say: Tortellini, tagliatelle, gnocchi, and of course ravioli, all make up some of the fresh pasta that are available at Ravioli & Co, an authentic Italian Trattoria which opened in November 2017 in Burj Daman, in the DIFC district. Specializing in fresh pasta made daily by an in house sfoglina (pasta lady), this homegrown licensed concept is redefining the way the city interprets a traditional Italian dining experience.
Opened by three friends who met through their second passion, interior design and furniture the venue is a reflection of their characters; friendly and warm.
What to order:
-Cuore di burrata- heart of burrata, so creamy
-Funghi Gratinati – baked mushroom with parsley, garlic and pecorino cheese
-Puff pastry cake with Toma cheese, porcini mushroom on cheese sauce – highly recommended, feels like comfort food
-Tagliatelle with fassona beef ragout (all their pastas are fresh and handmade, so you really do get the best kind of pasta here.)
What I loved:
-There’s valet available, so you don’t have to worry about DIFC parking.
-Homegrown concept which is always nice.
-Licensed – so you can enjoy a glass of wine with your lunch and dinner.
-The space is super cute and feels like a little home – loved the rustic feel and wooden tables.
-The bread basket was delicious – everything tasted so fresh.
What I didn’t love as much:
-Don’t expect a full on Italian dinner – the menu is quite simple, and no pizza.