Monday, April 20, 2015

You know it's summer in the UAE when..

Tis' been a while! I spent the last few weeks working on a TV commercial and thus the unintentional blog hiatus. Anyway, I'm back and I come bearing bad news.. the summer has returned.

While the situation is not so painful as yet, we all know it's only the calm before the storm. So, as a follow up to my 'You know it's winter in the UAE when..' post, here's my take on when you know it's summer in the UAE (cringe)

1. You don't need to go to the beach to get a tan

 

2. You want to shower twice a day (with scalding hot water from cold water tap)

 

3. School's out! 

 

4. It's all melted errthing - lip balms, chocolate, face and more. 

 

5. Your car is a burn hazard - be it your door, steering wheel, gear or leather seats (good luck)

 

6. The need for H2o is so real, you even enjoy the occasional water sprinkler.

 

7. Guarantee you see lots of these.

 

8. And last but not the least, the humidity. Dubai becomes everyone's very own steam and sauna.

Enjoy the next few precious days till real summer gets here - stay hydrated, sunscreened and all that good stuff. What means summer in the UAE for you?

Leave a comment below or tweet me @MonaGir!

Mona xo

Thursday, March 19, 2015

Scoopi Café

Ice cream cravings are truly the most dangerous and so, a particularly strong one led me straight to try out the new ice cream place on the block, Scoopi Cafe on Jumeirah Beach Road. 


They had some interesting gourmet flavors on display such as Medjool Date and Pina Colada along with the regulars such as Creamy Peanut Butter, Tropical Coconut and Mocha Espresso.

I decided to go for it king size and try out their Belgian Waffle topped with Madagascar Vanilla and Italian Nutella scoops which was further topped off with organic maple syrup (let's call it a cheat week worth of calories).

So, here's the deal: you choose your flavor and then they make you a fresh scoop by using liquid nitrogen to freeze the ice cream. Why? This produces smaller ice crystals which makes the ice cream more smooth and flavorful. This process takes about a minute per scoop.


This was my first time trying ice cream prepared with liquid nitrogen and I don't think I can enjoy normal ice cream ever again. The textures of both scoops were so creamy and delicious - the way it was prepared made a world of a difference. Plus the combination of the warm waffles and maple syrup with THIS ice cream was perfection.


Cons - I wasn't a big fan of the presentation - on paper plates with plastic cutlery - but this is not a deal-breaker for me. The flavor of the ice cream itself wasn't anything to write home about, it's the texture that made it so god damn wonderful.

If ice cream is not your thing (I'm sorry, we can't be friends), they have frozen yogurt, sorbet and handcrafted chocolates on offer. Scoopi is also famous for its 'Black Diamond' scoop - priced at AED 2999, it's made with Madagascar Vanilla ice cream, world's most expensive Iranian saffron, slices of black truffle and sprinkled with edible gold. To top it off, the scoop is served in a Versace cup and spoon which you can keep.


Mona xo

Scoopi Cafe
Jumeirah Beach Road (opposite De La Mer Spa)
Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/scoopicafe

Wednesday, March 11, 2015

SS'15 picks

High street fashion heaven is where I was at a couple of weeks ago - the SS'15 collection previews of New Look, Koton, Lipsy, Reiss and Yours London. It was my first time at a collection preview and have to say, all the brands did a phenomenal showcase of their upcoming collections - each one had a unique flavor and some standout looks.

I honestly loved SO many pieces but I powered through and made my top three picks from each of their SS'15 collections. Let's go straight to it, enjoy!

New Look SS'15 collection 

Loving: Sporty, feminine vibe. And dat ice cream clutch doe! (you saw that coming)



Koton SS'15 collection 

Loving: Modern twist on 70s fashion, how divine is the brown look?

 


Lipsy SS'15 collection 

Loving: The monochrome pieces especially, very delicate yet powerful.



Reiss SS'15 collection 

Loving: So effortlessly chic, just look at that green jacket!



Yours London SS'15 collection 

Loving: I'm a sucker for anything floral, so there you go.

 

What was your favorite collection? Least favorite? Let's compare notes - tweet me @MonaGir or comment below!

Mona xo

Wednesday, March 4, 2015

Ladies Night at Healey's

This weather, am I right? I decided to take full advantage of this not-so-long lasting winter and headed down to Healey's Bar and Terrace for their 'Pink Ladies Night' with my friend, Juhi. (wave to everyone)

First impression: Healey's has a cool, modern ambience and their resident DJ was matching this vibe with some seriously on point lounge music. Their menu featured a really good variety of food, light snacks, drinks and bonus - shisha.

Image provided by Healey's Bar and Terrace

Pink Ladies Night every Wednesday

We started off with some Chocolatinis (vanilla vodka + chocolate ice cream). My sweet tooth was purring - the cocktail was well-balanced and quite delicious really.

And to top off this sugar rush, we got a surprise strawberry vodka ice cream as a bonus ladies night treat! Overall, Healey's had a great relaxing atmosphere - just right especially for an after-work evening out.

*Pink Ladies Night is from 8 to 11 PM every Wednesday and offers three of either a featured cocktail or sparkling wine.

Photo credit: Juhi Roddam

How was the food, you ask?

Chicken satay, jalapeno poppers, chicken wings, corn and oh, we kept the light snacks coming. While these might not be ground-breaking choices for the menu, the snacks were tasty and I particularly enjoyed the chicken satay - very juicy with some great bursts of flavor. 

For the shisha fans - they have some wonderfully smooth shisha, we tried and loved the grape mint one. Most importantly, it stayed smooth through the evening.

After an enormous amount of snacking, we further indulged in a half-and-half pizza - one half was their Marco Polo Pizza (chicken, mushroom) and the other was their Frutti de Mare Pizza (shrimp, calamari, mussels). The crust was light and crispy, the pumpkin and onion puree on the Marco Polo pizza was divine and the seafood was paired perfectly with the pesto base in the Frutti de Mare pizza.

Photo credit: Juhi Roddam

I was very impressed by...

The terrace was pretty crowded and that's usually an excuse for bad service but Healey's was truly at the top of their game. The service was one of the best I've seen so far - the waiters were friendly, attentive and alert. As mentioned, we had shishas as well and not even once did we have to bug someone to change our coal because it was done in a timely fashion.

I definitely recommend the 'Pink Ladies Night' at Healey's to those looking for a chill night out to catch up with girlfriends over some delicious cocktails, food and shisha.

Healey's Bar and Terrace
Bonnington Jumeirah Lake Towers
Tel: +971 4 3560574
Pinterest: http://www.pinterest.com/bonningtontower

*This was a sponsored post but as always, all opinions are my own.

Mona xo

Tuesday, February 24, 2015

Subscription Box Roundup - UAE edition

I absolutely love the idea of subscription boxes! What's not to love - they get delivered straight to your door, they serve as great gifts (both for yourself and others) and you get to try a whole new bunch of things every month. #win

There are quite a few subscription boxes that have popped up over the last year, so thought I'd do a little round up and share what's out here in the UAE across beauty, lifestyle, food, kids (plus moms) and pets.

Beauty

Glambox 

Glambox is easily the most popular of the subscription boxes in the UAE. For those who don't know, Glambox is a monthly beauty box that delivers a selection of beauty samples to your doorstep.

Subscription starts at AED 239 for three months.

I've used Glambox over the last year now and I am quite happy with it. They do have their off months - tiny samples, repetition of products etc but overall, I've discovered lots of good products through them.

Zanedo

Zanedo is another beauty box that's been around the block for a while. Their offering guarantees 2 full size products each month along with samples of other products.

Subscription starts at AED 189 for three months.

I did have a Zanedo subscription as well and was happy with the quality of the products that I received. I chose not to renew because I was not happy with the variety of samples.

Lifestyle

Box Therapy

Box Therapy is a fairly new monthly lifestyle box which aims to bring you products from across the board - beauty, decor, fashion, fitness, food and more. This is one is my favorite right now because there's just a little bit of everything.

Subscription starts at AED 396 for three months. They also have a promotional 1-month subscription option for right now for AED 162.

il.box

il.box is a bi-monthly box curated by the team at Khaleejesque, a lifestyle and culture magazine. Aimed to be the Gulf's first luxury subscription box, it will be delivered every two months along with the print issue of the magazine and will contain limited edition pieces as well as products from local Arab artists and businesses. Also included will be an exclusive invite to a special event and a luxury golden prize in one special box.

Subscription cost runs quite steep for this one, starts at AED 622/per box and AED 2484 for a yearly subscription (5 boxes). I took a peek at their January box on their website and I'm super tempted!

Food

Munchbox

Munchbox is a weekly snack box packed with nutritious, healthy snacks which are vegan, natural and free of artificial coloring. You can choose between their two boxes - Light for low-fat snacks or the Surprise Me box for if you're feeling adventurous. They have over 40 different snacks which they mix up for each delivery so you don't get bored.

Subscription starts from AED 49 per box per week. They also have a one-time delivery option if you just want to order them once in a while which starts at AED 59 per box.

Goodybox

Goodybox is a monthly snack box consisting of all natural and organic snacks. Each box contains a mix of 7 - 10 snacks and can be purchased on a one-time or a monthly subscription basis.

Subscription starts at AED 149/month and a one-time box is priced at AED 175.

Redcoffee24

Redcoffee24 has a monthly subscription for fresh coffee beans! They currently have four different varieties of coffee beans: Kenya AA, Nicaragua Maragogype , Rwanda AA and India Plantation AA.

Subscription starts at AED 40 per pack (227g) per month.

Kids + Moms

The Happy Box

The Happy Box is a monthly box which contains themed and educational projects for parents and kids to enjoy together. Great way to introduce new activities to kids every month!

Subscription starts at AED 705 for three months or AED 250 for a one-time box.

KenziBox

KenziBox is a monthly box which has four themed arts and crafts activities (including all the materials and instructions) for your kids to play around with.

Subscription starts at AED 525 for three months and a one-time box is priced at AED 185.

Mama's Box

Mama's Box is a monthly box for expecting mothers and mothers with kids up till the age of one. Each box is personalized with items corresponding to either your pregnancy stage or your baby's age. So, all your moms-to-be and new moms, they've got you covered.

Subscription starts at AED 705 for three months or AED 250 for a one-time box.

Pets

Petbox

Petbox is a monthly box for your furry little fellows. Based on your pet (dog/cat) and its size, Petbox will put together a box filled with treats and toys for them to enjoy every month.

Subscription starts from AED 564 for three months. You could also get a one-time box for AED 199.

Pet Pack

Pet Pack offers Pooch Packs and Purr Packs for your pets on a monthly basis. Each pack contains toys, treats and other surprises for your dog/cat!

Subscription starts at AED 537 for three months and a one-time box is priced at AED 199.

Waggiebox

Waggiebox is a monthly box for your dog which consists of healthy treats, dog products that are quality assured and even discounts to vets, daycare and grooming salons. I'm definitely looking to try this one for Illis!

Subscription starts at AED 189/month for tiny dogs, AED 199/month for small dogs, AED 209/month for medium dogs and AED 219/month for big dogs.

And that brings us to the end of my discoveries on this topic! Any that I missed? What are your favorites? Let me know in the comments below or tweet me @monagir.

Mona xo

Thursday, February 5, 2015

January '15 Favorites


The Skimm
These days, we are exposed to a crazy amount of information which makes it quite difficult to sort through all the news (or even read any of) and get to the important stuff. The Skimm helps with just that. It's a daily email newsletter service that reads through all current topics/news, simplifies it and sends a daily update to your inbox in a fun, very easy-to-read format. Best of all, it's free!


Above
Sofitel Dubai Downtown

Love: Uninterrupted views of Burj Khalifa, fancy but with a no nonsense vibe
Place for: Date night, a chill evening out
Recommend: Falafel sliders and making a reservation (especially for the weekend)



Forest Essentials Advanced Soundarya Age Defying Facial Serum with 24K Gold
Forest Essentials is a luxury Ayurveda brand based in India. I bought this product on my recent trip to India and it's been working wonderfully for me. It's 100% natural, helps eliminate fine lines and pigmentation and the packaging is just gorgeous (I just had to say that, total sucker for packaging). I've seen a very noticeable reduction in pigmentation and my skin feels a lot more hydrated, so two thumbs up! Their products are not available in stores in UAE as yet but they do offer international shipping.


I'm a big fan of online shopping and Boohoo is my most recent haunt. They have a great selection of styles which are quite young and fresh and they have a plus-size section as well which runs up to size 24. The above two dresses are part of my January haul - I'm totally big on prints.


This game has ruined my life but I'm honestly hopelessly addicted. I'm not usually one to play games on my phone but this one sucked me right in. The basics of the game is joining dots as you can tell but oh, it's so much more than that. Give it a go and let me know how you get on, I've just made my way up to level 56!
Free, Available for iOS and Android


Scented candles are a no-brainer - they make the atmosphere so much more relaxed and calm, which everyone could use especially after a work day. My current favorite is the Ginger Lime candle from Pure Candles Dubai. All their candles are made of soy wax and are eco-friendly, made right here in Dubai. 


That's it for my favorites from January! Tweet me @MonaGir and let me know what some of your favorites are from last month! 

Mona xo

Tuesday, January 27, 2015

5 things to do when you start freelancing

I've just recently started out as a freelancer in the video production world and so far, it's been an interesting ride! I'm learning a lot, meeting a whole bunch of new people and spending time trying to perfect a work schedule. While I add some method to the madness, I wanted to share some of the tips I've picked up along the way, especially for when you're starting off!

Promote shamelessly

While self promotion is hard, it's the only way to survive in the freelancing world. Make sure all your profiles are up-to-date and listed wherever possible online, so people can find you with a quick search and see that you're open for business. Nabbesh is a great resource for freelance jobs in Middle East across various fields of work.

Card up

This is an oldie but a goodie - business cards are so important for when you meet that random person who you have absolutely no common connections with. Business cards give them something to remember you by and hopefully when projects pop up, they will dig it up and contact you.

Spread the word

The best way for you to get started is to spread the word amongst your circles - both close and extended. You never know, they may as well be your first clients or know someone who is looking to hire a freelancer. Another way to spread the word is by attending relevant networking events and joining Facebook groups related to your line of work. This way, you can also stay updated with current and possible future opportunities directly.

Adopt a discipline

When you begin freelancing, you experience this whole new sense of freedom and flexibility in terms of work/play. It's almost too easy to take a quick nap or binge watch TV shows before you realize that you've wasted a whole day (or more). It's really up to you to stay motivated!

Clients still work normal working hours so it would be wise for you to work the same hours so they can reach you easily. So, make sure to set those hours for yourself and actually work during then. The same applies to knowing when to stop working, don't exhaust yourself. (workaholics, take note)

Switch up your work areas

Most freelancers usually work from home and though it's convenient, I think it's important to get out of the house and work at a different location once in a while, just for the sake of your sanity. A change of scenery will give you a break and possibly some much needed inspiration.

Hope this helps. Most of this is still work-in-progress on my end, so wish me luck. If you have any input for me, please do share in the comments below - I could definitely use some tips! 

Mona xo
 
Site Design by Designer Blogs
UA-54556877-1