Thursday, March 3, 2016

A Week in Dubai

If you've been reading my blog for a while you're probably thinking, "Dubai, again? Really?" Yep, that's right! The Husband and I recently went to Dubai AGAIN, which marked my fifth visit there. I don't have some crazy obsession with the place, don't worry, it's just that two of my siblings happen to live there.. (and I definitely don't mind the fantastic shopping...). Also, it works well as a hub for my family to get together, as my parents live in South Africa, my oldest brother in the States and The Husband and I are all the way on the East side in Taiwan.

Over Chinese New Year break, we made our escape from the miserable weather in Taiwan and headed west for some sun, family time and relaxation in the desert. The weather, by the way, was fantastic! Over the past few years, I've visited Dubai during the summer, which I probably don't have to describe to you? Hello, this is the desert. This time, we could actually do activities outside without turning into human jerky. I highly recommend visiting the UAE in the winter months, your options of activities are much more vast than in the scorching summer months.

My mom also flew in from South Africa to spend the week with us. FOMO? (Just kidding, Mamma!). It was lovely having her there, too! Unfortunately my dad couldn't make it, as he had to work and was also in charge of taking care of the fur children at home.

Burj Khalifa Emirates
I was lucky to get this shot of an Emirates airplane flying over the Burj Khalifa.

We weren't even in Dubai for 12 hours before the mother ship called me home; The Dubai Mall. One of the largest shopping malls in the world, and one of my favorites for a proper shopping spree. And it's not just the shopping; The Dubai Mall is right next to the Burj Khalifa and The Fountains, so that means lots of Instagram opportunities and incredible scenes to admire. We also stumbled onto the Wanderland Exhibition by Hermès, which was incredible as we got to see 30000 items, including pieces from the Emile Hermès private museum.

umbrellas ceiling
A sky of umbrellas decorated the ceiling at The Dubai Mall

I loved all the quality time I got to spend with my family. We don't get to see each other that often, so when we do, we make it count. We were basically laughing, eating and drinking 24/7. I truly treasure my time with these silly folk I call my family.

Cheesecake Factory drinks
Having lunch, and good times, with the family
This time around, I was set on going out into the desert. I haven't been yet, because in the summer months it's just too damn hot. So I was delighted when my sister's friend offered to take us on a desert safari in his Hummer. We went dune bashing in the desert outside Abu Dhabi right before sunset, and it was both terrifying and exhilarating! Although people often spot wild camels in the desert, we weren't so lucky. We did see a few in a gated area, but I couldn't pet them. Entire vacation ruined! 

After driving over dunes and holding on for dear life, we stopped and had a champagne picnic, overlooking the sunset on the horizon. It was magical, and I highly recommend doing this when you're in the UAE.

Desert Safari Abu Dhabi
In the desert outside Abu Dhabi

dune bashing abu dhabi
Desert for days

It was my first time visiting Abu Dhabi (about an hour's drive from Dubai) and I just HAD TO go see the world famous Sheikh Zayed Grand Mosque. I didn't know how "grand" it was until I got to see it with my own eyes. It's mandatory for all females to wear an abaya to cover your shoulders, legs and head. (By the way, entrance to the mosque is free, as so is the abaya rental.)

The mosque took my breath away! The bright white walls, the detailed tiles and gold trimmings, contrasted with the bright blue sky, was magical. I probably took a thousand photos, and really, the photos can't do it any justice. We spent hours there, admiring the details and grandeur of the structure. We even got to go inside! The interiors reminded me so much of the Blue Mosque in Istanbul, although luckily the carpet didn't smell like the one in the Blue Mosque did... By the way, the carpet in the main prayer hall is insane; it's the biggest hand-knotted carpet in the world and measures 5627m2 (60570 square feet). It is absolutely beautiful! 

Sheikh Zayed Grand Mosque exterior

Sheikh Zayed Grand Mosque columns
Beautiful decor and details of the Sheikh Zayed Grand Mosque

The majestic interior of the Sheikh Zayed Grand Mosque

Another place I got to visit this time around was the Dubai Marina. I've heard my siblings mention it many times, and thought that it was just a residential area. I was surprised when we got there to see that it was actually a very impressive area with a beautiful beach, lots of 5 stars hotels, restaurants and a walkway. We walked along the beach and soaked up some sunshine. We explored more of the area and had delicious seafood there.

The Dubai Marina

Dubai beach
Soaking up the sun in Dubai

The day before we flew back to Taiwan, we went to The Westin for their famous Friday Bubbalicious brunch. Now, this is not your regular run-of-the-mill Eggs Benedict and mimosas brunch. This is an EVENT that locals and tourist can't get enough of! It's on the pricey side, but the hotel offers a spread that you can't even imagine, and the alcohol is included in the price, too. (I couldn't help but think of all of my friends whom would have LOVED this experience!)

The hotel opens all of its restaurants, and guests can sit outside under the palm trees in the sun. Each table has a server who makes sure your champagne glass is filled to the brim at all times. The buffet selections were overwhelming, to say the least. Delicious Chinese, Thai and Indian dishes, a sushi bar, an outrageous seafood spread, cheese, cheese and more cheese, Mexican and Mediterranean food, chocolate fountains and and and... We literally ate and drank for 4 hours straight. Needless to say, we were all five kilograms heavier and not sober when we rolled out of there in the late afternoon. Another awesome experience that I'd love to do again!

sushi dubai
Sushi madness

seafood buffet
Fresh seafood

Although we only spent a week there, we did so much that I felt we were there for a month. I don't think I'll ever get sick of visiting the fam in Dubai, we have a blast every time. And there's still things that I'd love to do... Next time, I want to go for afternoon tea at the Burj Al Arab, and I'm still obsessed with the idea of taking a hot air balloon ride over the desert. Also, I still haven't been to all of the souks. And last, but not least, I want to pet a camel, dammit. So badly!

Dubai winter
Winter in Dubai

You can read the ramblings of my previous trip to Dubai here.

Wednesday, February 3, 2016

FRANCO FLORENZI Watch Review: Effortlessly Elegant

franco florenzi watch review
Franco Florenzi Messina Costa watch
Quality. Classic. Elegant. These are the three words that came to mind when I first received these beautiful watches from Franco Florenzi; EXACTLY my type of accessories! Effortless, stylish timepieces that will stand the test of time.

I wasn't familiar with Franco Florenzi when they first reached out to me for a collaboration opportunity, but quickly realized after checking out their lust-worthy Instagram account, that they have a huge following and devoted fans of their stunning timepieces and bracelets. I totally get it; people love quality and simplicity at a reasonable price. And that's exactly what they offer!

I thought I'd share with you some pics of the watches, so you can admire their beauty. You can also check out the entire collection here. One of my favorites is this one, called the Vicenza Buffon. Can you ever go wrong with a classic white dial with a black nylon/leather strap? As far as I'm concerned, it's a must have in everyone's collection! 

franco florenzi watch review
Franco Florenzi Vicenza Buffon watch
I'm also a huge fan of these Messina watches, with the interchangeable nylon straps, in a variety of different colors. You can literally change the strap every day to match your outfit. The dial comes in black or white, and you can also choose silver or rose gold casing. Here I'm wearing the Messina Lazarro, another favorite because of its nautical look.

franco florenzi watch review
Franco Florenzi Messina Lazarro watch with interchangeable straps
If you're in the market for a new watch, one that will last you for years to come, I highly recommend this collection from Franco Florenzi. The quality really is fantastic! And I'm sure you'll be able to find a color, or color combination, that tickles your fancy. 

Franco Florenzi is based out of England, but offers worldwide shipping. Go check out their effortlessly elegant collection of watches here, and be sure to follow them on Instagramwhere I also contribute pics regularly!

Monday, January 11, 2016

Celebrate Moments of Joy with Flowers and Cakes


Flowers are perfect mood changers and they bring both joy and inspiration to your loved ones. Flowers are associated with celebrations and festivity. It has been easier to get flowers for all of these occasions because of online flower delivery. And for time immemorial, flowers are considered to be ideal gifts for several occasions. An array of fresh blooms is sure to bring a hard-to-beat smile on your beloved’s face. You can get an extensive collection of floral arrangements such as bunches and bouquets of roses, lilies, sunflowers and orchids which is sure to make her heart skip a beat.

Flowers are not just beautiful but they are divine too. If you are scrambling hard at the last minute, it is best to go with combo of flowers and cakes which makes great gifts for almost every celebration. If you are planning to surprise someone on their birthday, go for moist and succulent cakes which are baked using the premium quality of ingredients. The cakes are baked with utmost perfection which will ensure that the sweetness of the occasion is maintained. 

People have used these as a means of communication and they have also assigned symbolic meanings to various flowers. Since they are language of emotions and feelings, they are best suited for occasions like Birthdays where you can complement it with flowers and give it as the perfect gift for the occasion. You can order birthday cakes and flowers online as you get multiple options to choose from and at the same time, you also get an online delivery of birthday cake and flowers.

There was a time when cakes were traditionally baked at home but with the gradual passage of time, people find it hard to take out time amidst their hectic schedule and for all such occasions it are best to go for online flowers and cake delivery in Dubai. You will never be limited with choices when it comes to choosing a perfect flavour for your loved ones, you can choose from vanilla, butterscotch, blueberry, chocolate and other delectable flavours too. Cake delivery in Dubai can be done the same day too with its express delivery options which allows you send freshly baked cakes at their doorstep.


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