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Sustainable Environment In The UAE

The Sustainable Human Project

Meet Phil Dunn – the Dubai resident living off the land, and his wits alone, to highlight food security in one of the world’s most extravagant cities.

We all take the food on our plates and in our fridges for granted. The fact that we can just go to the supermarket and pick up a piece of fruit from the other side of the world, tuck into a steak cut from a cow born and raised on a different continent if we feel like it, or order our dinner online at the touch of a button highlights the incredible privilege we have all become so accustomed to. But imagine growing or nurturing absolutely everything you eat – not just for a day, but for an entire year? That’s exactly what Dubai’s Phil Dunn is doing as part of a fascinating experiment to highlight the ever-growing issues of food security in the region – a subject high on government agendas across the world in the continuing battle against climate change.

A Canadian landscape architect responsible for the design and construction of the urban landscape in The Sustainable City, Dubai – the Middle East’s first fully-operational sustainable community – as the city went into Covid-19-induced lockdown in 2020, and issues of food security were highlighted, Phil came up with the idea of sustaining himself fully on food sourced exclusively inside his home community of The Sustainable City for a full year.

Deciding to put the very landscape he created to the test, Phil’s mission was to ascertain what it takes to eat produce solely sourced from within his neighbourhood’s urban environment, with the support of other residents.

The Sustainable Human Project’s Phil Dunn

“The Sustainable Human Project was conceived as a mixture of a personal challenge and an outward commitment to explore, educate, and engage with the important concepts of food security in the time of a pandemic, and a social sustainability ideal of how growing food together might also ‘grow’ a community’, explained Phil. ‘The challenge of only eating food grown in The Sustainable City for 365 days was one that I thought was crazy enough to keep me wilfully striving, and just possible enough to perhaps, be completed.”

Far from a concept that came out of the blue, the project was something Phil had thought about doing for some time. “I’ve lived in The Sustainable City for five years, and I’d been thinking about doing something like this as I watched the landscape grow around me. When we were forced into lockdown, and food security both globally and locally became a focus as the pandemic unfolded, it felt like the right time to start’, says Phil, who moved to the UAE in 2015. “What we were seeing across the world in the disruption to the food chain highlighted just how vulnerable we were here in the UAE, since around 80 percent of what we buy in the supermarkets is imported produce. So it really was the perfect time for me to stop thinking about starting this project, and actually start the project.”

Now ten weeks into his 365 day experiment, Phil began The Sustainable Human Project on November 10, 2020.

“I started it the day after my birthday, which is November 9. That was part of the personal aspect of this project – I was looking for something revolutionary to do as I approached my 50th year”, says Phil. And how is he finding it so far? “Honestly, it’s been really challenging!’ he laughs. ‘I started it from scratch. I didn’t really have anything in place, even though I’d been thinking about it for a while. But I just said to myself ‘OK Phil, you’re going to do this now. Today’. So I did!”

Despite the challenges he faced by starting without any real planning, Phil is happy with how he kicked off the project.

“It was tough to get the ball rolling, but I wanted to do it that way. I wanted to do it how an average person would, just taking it on without any notice,’ he says. ‘I already had a few things that had survived the summer left in my garden– eggplants, some sweet potatoes, cherry tomatoes, and a couple of other things, but it really wasn’t a lot. I’ve had to create a lot of infrastructure to support the project, and I realized that there was no way I was going to be able to do this all by myself. So I’ve had to rally a few people around to help me out, but people have been so happy help me, which has been great.”

The rules in place for The Sustainable Human Project are simple: Phil grows fruits and vegetables like onions, sweet potatoes, cucumbers, tomatoes and herbs in community garden plots; free-range chickens provide him with eggs, and he can catch fish from a small fish farm inside one of the community bio-domes. The missing elements in the food basket come from a circular economic philosophy where Phil repurposes scrap wood from construction into urban farming tools to be used in bartering with other Sustainable City residents in exchange for items like grains, rice, proteins and oils. And socialising hasn’t been forgotten about. If Phil is invited for dinner, the caveat for accepting the invitation is that he will use the opportunity to spread the word about the amazing cultural diversity of over 80 different nationalities currently living in The Sustainable City. 

With the support of a handful of residents at the start of the project, Phil quickly discovered that there were many more facets to what he was undertaking than he first envisaged. “These first few weeks have already been a huge learning process. At the beginning, I thought this project would be about urban farming and the environment, but I’ve realised how much of it is actually about the social element of sustainability’, reveals Phil. ‘It’s been really great when people find out about what I’m doing – they come and drop off little secret care packages, and I’ve had all sorts of neat stuff being delivered to me, like banana cake or cookies that my neighbours have baked. But people have been really receptive to one of the rules I put in place, which is that if I can’t find what I need in The Sustainable City, then I’ll barter or trade something for it. People are really up for it, so I take scraps of wood that I find around the city, and build things for community gardening or urban farming like little planter boxes and that kind of stuff. And then I’d say to a neighbour  ‘I need rice and olive oil – would you trade with me for this wooden planter box I built? People have loved that concept, and been really receptive. I call it filling in the holes of my food basket.” 

Now getting used to the intricacies of the project, Phil is constantly having to think how – and where – his next meal is coming from. “It does actually feel like I’ve gone back in time. I want to say a much simpler time, but the rules of the project do add another layer of complexity to modern day living because you have to plan so far in advance – like I have to plan what I’m going to eat next week today, at the very least’, he says. ‘In some of my planning, I’ve had to figure out what I’m going to eat in the summertime, how I’m going to deal with it when the weather gets hot, and where I’m going to get my food from.”

As a part of that planning, Phil is relying upon the support of his neighbours. “One of the things I’ve realised is that years ago, in those simpler times, your word was your bond. So if you promised something to someone, that was an agreement, and if one of those people broke the agreement, it was a big deal. It’s sort of like that now when I’m bartering with someone. If I make a plan that I’m going to trade with that person for a certain thing, I go ahead and make my end of the deal and plan that what I’m getting from them is what I’m going to have for dinner next week. If that falls through, its not a life and death thing like it was in the olden days, but it’s a significant hit to my planning.”

Describing himself as “a carnivore of note” before the project began, Phil’s current diet is vastly different from what it was. “I had a terrible diet before I started this, so it’s really been a big change’, he explains. ‘Honestly, my average day food-wise right now is pretty boring. Lately it’s consisted of eggplant, sweet potatoes, cherry tomatoes, mustard greens and chives for dinner, I have salad for lunch, and for breakfast I have a mix of lime and moringa juice. The Moringa is a tree that grows here, and the leaves and pods are super-nutritious, its like a superfood –  the stats are that it has more vitamin C than 20 oranges or something. It took a while to figure out what to do with it, but we discovered that you soak the leaves overnight in water, you get this juice. You have to get used to it, because it tastes very earthy, but I’ll have a litre of that for breakfast. People have also been very kind, and I’ve had more than a few meals dropped off to me from some of the residents here. I think they feel sorry for me!”

Such a dramatic change in Phil’s eating habits have had an obvious effect on his body. “I have lost some weight – that’s a happy byproduct of this whole project,’ laughs Phil. But his health and wellbeing are a priority, so the entire process is being monitored by The  Sustainable City’s Chiron Clinic, who completed baseline medical tests before the challenge and are tracking Phil’s health at regular intervals to ensure any nutritional issues are identified and addressed. 

“I did suffer, energy-wise, at the beginning’, admits Phil. ‘There was definitely something of a transition, from what my wife – who is a naturopathic physician – would say was an unhealthy lifestyle, to something more like her diet, that was almost entirely vegetable-based. The first couple of weeks had a really big impact – I felt like I was on a detox, with headaches and some nausea, so there was definitely a physical transformation going on. But that was absolutely for the better, because it’s the way I want to eat in the future, and after the first five days or so, I felt great. I do feel healthier, and at the same time I’ve been concerned about Covid-19 and all of those things, I feel that I have taken control of my health in a preventative way as well, which is a pretty good feeling.” 

Aside from feeling healthier by increasing his intake of fruit and vegetables, Phil’s carnivorous past may not be a part of his more considered future. “I really do understand the impact – especially now – of what eating meat has on the planet’, says Phil. ‘There’s an aquaponic system here in The Sustainable City which has fish and plants that have a synergistic relationship together. We went to get the fish tested to see if they were OK to eat, and they were fine, so I was able to get fish from the tank if I wanted it. But over the last 2 months, I’ve only been able to eat five fish from there because I just feel so guilty. When you have to go and catch and process them yourself, it’s much different to when you go to a grocery store and just pick it off of the shelf as this nameless, faceless slab of meat. But when you have to go through the whole system of making it into your dinner, it really makes you realise you want to become a vegetarian much faster.”

With the heart of the 365 day project centred around locally-produced food, Phil hopes to reduce his carbon footprint by eating local and supporting and discovering the different avenues of local produce available to us. “The goal is to raise awareness about community gardening from a social aspect, to grow a community by growing together, as well as teaching people about food security and how growing food locally is such an important thing to do for our nation and the environment’ explains Phil. ‘We’re actually so luckily here in the UAE that there are so many organic and local farms that are starting to pop up, offering locally-produced food to the community because that simply wasn’t the case previously. It seems that new businesses like these are appearing all the time, which is fantastic, and we must support them to help nourish and develop the local produce market as much as we can.”

As Phil heads towards his third month as a sustainable human, despite starting the project as something of a personal goal, he would like to encourage others to join him, and start thinking about food in a more sustainably-minded way. “People certainly don’t think about urban farming and growing their own food when they think of Dubai’, laughs Phil. ’I’d love to get the momentum built around this project – I now have all the infrastructure in place and ticking along nicely, and I think it would be a great thing to share that knowledge and the lessons I’ve learned.”

With the hope of encouraging others to think local with their food choices, Phil’s mission is to educate the region about the benefits of eating sustainably, not only for their health, but for the sake of the environment and local economy too. “I’d really love other people to join me on this journey’, says Phil. ‘Aside from the health and environmental benefits, I think a big part of it is that people can create something they need, trading with another grower without any money changing hands – that’s a really neat concept in itself. But the idea of a circular economy, where something that would be waste is turned into something useful, is even more exciting. And urban dwellers are surrounded by those sorts of objects, so it’s really a great opportunity for people to experiment with the concepts of sustainability on so many levels.” 

Follow Phil on his journey @thesustainablehumanproject.

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Ways to Make Moving Day Stress Free

6 Tips to Make Moving Day Less Stressful 

Keep calm and get packing.

Living in the UAE usually means one thing for all of us: we need to move home at least twice while living here. Moving homes is considered as one of the most stressful events in one’s life. This is because there is a lot of worry and anxiety that comes along with the big change of living elsewhere. 

Thankfully, there are steps you can take to make a move less stressful and work smoothly. It all depends on how well you organise your house move before, during, and after the move itself. Being organised when moving your house means you will be less anxious and your dream home will be realised much quicker. Here are six tips to get that house move organised smartly. 

Top tips for a stress-free move

1. Make a To-Do List

You can make a to-do list in a notebook, laptop, or on your phone, but keep it somewhere you can easily access. The key to making a good to-do list is having a list that you can keep editing. Having a list helps keep you in check with what needs doing as you prepare for the move.

Items on the list might include organising the movers, listing maintenance jobs like painting the house, fixing household items, getting maintenance services for the new house, buying new curtains, sprucing up the garden, and so on. Keep your list tidy and in order, with dates of events. A messy list is not easy to read and can end up causing more confusion and stress. 

2. Book a Reputable Mover

Scout movers on social media and read Google reviews or blogs to help you choose a mover that gets the job done well without too many problems. It might be worth spending a little more money choosing a moving company that gets it right and quickly the first time, which will help to keep stress to a minimum on the day. It’ll also save you from having to potentially replace improperly handled items later on.

3. Declutter Before the Move

Would you pay to move things you don’t even need in your home? Of course not. This is why you need to declutter so you can organise your house and move smartly. This may seem like an overwhelming task, but it is really worth it. The aim is to move into your new home with only the items you love and need. 

The best way to start the decluttering process is to work through the house room by room. Give yourself time to declutter before you move too, as it will be challenging to try to do the whole house in one week. Allocate certain days when you will have energy and give yourself at least a month before the move to start. You may even do small sections – like the cutlery drawer, laundry room, or spice cupboard – in the evenings

Have a box dedicated to donations nearby so that you can easily place items in it as you declutter. Remember: as you declutter, keep the vision of how you want your new home to look and feel in your mind. This will help you decide what to keep and what to let go. 

Ways to Make Moving Day Stress Free

4. Have a Packing Plan

Before you start packing, create a plan. Planning out what to pack saves you time and money in the long run. Firstly, pack things that you don’t use daily. This means you get some items that don’t interfere with your daily life packed away before the move. Secondly, pack items according to the zone they are used for based on the new house. Another group of items you may want to pack before the movers arrive are sentimental and fragile items as these could get damaged or lost during the moving process. It may be best to organise these yourself. 

Label all your boxes and items clearly so that the movers know what to put in which boxes and where they will go in your new home. Labels are essential instructions about what to pack and where, so label items, cupboards, or drawers in advance with tape to let the movers know where they should pack them. You can also colour code your labels; blue for the kitchen and red for the bathroom, for example.

Tips on How to Make Moving Less Stressful

5. Moving Day Tips

  • List all contacts on your phone. Have the numbers of the movers, maintenance company, estate agent, clearing companies, and other key players on hand to contact immediately when required. 
  • Communicate clearly with movers. So often, I see people get frustrated because the movers are not sure of their clients’ expectations. Be clear when communicating what you expect from the move with the supervisor. Labelling boxes, spaces, and furniture in advance really helps movers know what to pack where. 
  • Get childcare or petcare. If you have children or pets, plan ahead to get them daycare for moving day. It will definitely help to reduce the stress of moving as the last thing you need on this day is focusing your attention elsewhere. If daycare is not possible, think of ways to keep the kids entertained like activity books, new games, and snacks. 
  • Wear comfortable clothes. Dressing comfortably makes everything else easier to manage. Wear clothes that you do not mind getting dirty, but also make you feel cool and comfortable. 
  • Drink lots of water and have snacks. Moving in the UAE can often be hot work. Stay hydrated and keep up the energy levels with protein snacks and fruit. 
  • Stay calm. Finding ways to keep the serotonin levels high is smart. Sleep well the night before, eat a nutritious breakfast, and remove yourself from stressful situations for a moment to do some deep breathing and refocus on the main objective – which is to move smartly.  

6. Organise While Unpacking

Once your belongings have been safely moved into your new home, you need an unpacking plan. Identify zones for items before unpacking the boxes and move the boxes into these zones. This reduces the amount of disarray that could result whilst unpacking. Organising items into categories while you unpack will save you time later, bringing you closer to your goal of a calm and clutter-free home. 

Once you have moved, remember to review the zones in your home after a couple of weeks. People need time to adjust to a new space, and often what seemed like a good idea for storage may not be functional once living in the space for a while. Keep moving items until you find that sweet spot where all items are stored in zones, are easily accessible, and have a place of belonging. 

Key in door

Ask yourself the following: “Does my new home look and feel like the vision I had?” “Is there anything that needs to be replaced or bought?” “Does everyone in the family have the zones they require to live productively and successfully?” Do not expect everything to be perfect in the first week. Give yourself time to adjust and, with careful review, it will soon become the home of your dreams. 

Fern McGahey is a professional home organiser at Calm The Clutter. Visit @calmtheclutternow or www.calmtheclutternow.com for more information.

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Red hands holding together with heart shape

No, This Is Not Your Typical Advent Calendar

Let the 24 days of giving back begin!

‘Tis the season of overindulgence, late nights, and way too many social events, but at Gaggler, we’re doing things a little differently, taking this holiday season to give back instead. Here, our 2022 advent calendar will help you mark the 24 days until Christmas by conserving our oceans, educating a child, empowering underprivileged women, and more. Click on each image to get started.

December 1: Plant a Seed

With its ability to stay green in harsh desert environments, Ghaf is the country's national tree because of its cultural significance. Now, not only can you plant a seed with the help of social enterprise Goumbook, but you can also join its Community Planting Day and plant it yourself. Learn more at www.goumbook.com

December 2: Repair Local Reefs

Are you a diver, an underwater photographer, a marine biology student, or a marine biologist? Support the marine conservation efforts of Freestyle Divers by joining its environmental monitoring programmes to get involved with protecting local reefs. Learn more at www.freestyledivers.me

December 3: Enrich a Life

While there are no statistics available on the number of people diagnosed with autism in the UAE, we know that it's on the rise, so volunteer with Dubai Autism Center if helping those with special needs is something close to your heart and you have time to spare. Learn more at www.dubaiautismcenter.ae.

December 4: Educate a Child

Operating 1,687 schools across Pakistan, The Citizens Foundation has been educating children from underprivileged families since 1995, and you can support the cause by sponsoring a child's education or an entire classroom. Learn more at www.tcf.org.pk.

December 5: Caffeinate Differently

The Bee Café in Abu Dhabi is the first in the country to be operated entirely by people of determination, so supporting it with a visit is a must-do. The café is part of the Bee the Change campaign, which aims to increase the employment of people of determination. Learn more at @beethe_change on Instagram.

December 6: Save a Preemie

The world loses a newborn every 10 seconds, so let's live in a world where all premature babies – including those from vulnerable populations – have access to an incubator by donating to the founders of the portable and life-saving Embrace incubator. Learn more at www.embraceglobal.org.

December 7: Offer a Safe Space

Skateistan has been empowering Afghan girls through skateboarding and education programmes since 2009 and, now, it's expanding to 20 locations – starting with Jordan. Help the award-winning international NGO write its next chapter by making a donation. Learn more at www.skateistan.org.

December 8: Scour the Seas

Whether you sign up as a temporary or permanent volunteer, you can make a difference for the local dolphin population by volunteering with UAE Dolphin Project. As for why your help is needed? Not only are dolphins “ecological indicators” of the status of the sea, but sightings have also declined drastically in the past few years. Learn more at www.uaedolphinproject.org.

December 9: Empower Underprivileged Women

Empowering underprivileged women through sustainable crafts, Al Ghadeer UAE Crafts deserves your patronage. Looking for unique Christmas gifts? Head to its e-store and opt for something that features Sadu, a traditional weaving technique that plays a central role in the social lives of Bedouin women. Learn more at www.alghadeeruaecrafts.ae.

December 10: Gift a Meal

Partnering with UAE Food Bank to guarantee responsible distribution, the Gift a Meal initiative is on a mission to ensure that no one ever misses a lunch. Join the movement to help feed an individual in need – gifting a meal will only cost you AED 10. Learn more at www.makemymeal.ae.

December 11: Help a Sister

The first licensed non-profit shelter in the UAE that runs specifically for the care of women and children, the Dubai Foundation for Women and Children is always seeking volunteers who are professionals and highly skilled in educational, vocational, and recreational training, so lend a hand if you fit the bill. Learn more at www.dfwac.ae.

December 12: Remember the Forgotten

SmartLife is an NPO/NGO that reciprocates the immense hard work of blue collar workers by educating them to walk towards a better tomorrow and unleashing their hidden potential. As for how you can chip in? Anything from donating your time and passion to help to sharing creative ideas and marketing skills. Learn more at www.smartlifefoundation.org.

December 13: Buy a Doll

For each personalised doll sold that you purchase from Dumyé, a doll is gifted to a child in need. Not only can you choose your ethically handcrafted doll’s body colour, eye colour, hair colour, and hairstyle – that’s over 140 unique combinations at your fingertips – but it also makes for a present suited to a budding philanthropist. Learn more at www.dumye.com.

December 14: Grant a Wish

Make-A-Wish exists for only one reason – to grant wishes to children and young people fighting life-threatening conditions. You can make a difference to a child's life by volunteering as a wish granter, an office worker, a translator, a fundraiser, a speaker, or event staff member. Learn more at www.makeawish.ae.

December 15: Raise Awareness

Pink Caravan is a UAE-based breast cancer initiative that falls under Friends of Cancer Patients (FoCP) for early detection of cancer, and you can play your part in raising awareness about this disease by donating money, registering as a volunteer, or even joining the medical team. Learn more at www.linktr.ee/pinkcaravan.

December 16: Serve the Sick

Equip a struggling hospital or clinic by making a financial donation to Project C.U.R.E., the world’s largest distributor of donated medical equipment and supplies to resource-limited communities across the globe – it has been serving the sick and dying in over 135 countries since 1987. Learn more at www.projectcure.org.

December 17: Support Health Equity

Another global non-profit rooted in improving public health, PATH comprises a global team of innovators working to accelerate health equity by advising and partnering with public institutions, businesses, grassroots groups, and investors to solve the world’s most pressing health challenges. Donate now and your contribution will be matched – win-win. Learn more at www.path.org.

December 18: Protect the Planet

Shop with purpose by turning to Azraq's e-store for essentials like soap, shampoo bars, bamboo toothbrushes, reusable face masks, and more. The Dubai-based organisation is on a mission to end the destruction of habitat and slaughter of wildlife in the world's oceans in order to conserve and protect the marine ecosystem and species. Learn more at www.azraqme.org.

December 19: Start Fundraising

The first licensed online donation and crowdfunding platform in the Middle East, YallaGive is all about fundraising with a smile. Campaigning for a charity or a personal cause? Start fundraising through the platform or donate to one of its many active campaigns to make a difference. Learn more at www.yallagive.com.

December 20: Join the Movement

Like the idea of simultaneously looking cool and giving back? Not only is the activewear and streetwear clothing by The Giving Movement entirely sustainable and made in the UAE, but the brand also donates AED 15 to its partner charities for every single item sold. This is conscious consumerism at its best. Learn more at www.thegivingmovement.com.

December 21: Break the Cycle

A locally based philanthropic organisation with a global outlook, Dubai Cares has been on a mission to break the cycle of poverty by ensuring all children have access to quality education since its inception in 2007. Here in the UAE, you can participate in initiatives that are linked to its global mandate – Walk for Education, Volunteer Emirates. and Volunteer Globally included. Learn more at www.dubaicares.ae.

December 22: Donate Your Locks

This holiday season, chop your locks in the name of making a cancer survivor more beautiful and confident – and what could be more beautiful than that? Enter: Locks of Hope, a campaign that provides wigs to individuals who have undergone chemotherapy with the help of both DHL and Friends of Cancer Patients. Learn more at www.focp.ae.

December 23: Get Social

With the need for improved animal welfare more urgent than ever, you can help the dedicated staff at Ras Al Khaimah Animal Welfare Centre. Unable to adopt or foster a pet? Volunteer! You can head there to socialise with its adorable animals, taking the dogs for walks or spending time with the cats. Learn more at www.rakawc.com.

December 24: Save a Life

Founded in 1986, the Dubai Health Authority's Blood Donation Center is the city's main blood donation center and committed to providing a safe supply of blood to all DHA hospitals and private hospitals in Dubai. You can also donate platelets, a type of blood cell that is essential for blood clotting and helps the likes of leukemia patients and premature babies. Learn more at www.dha.gov.ae.
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Wooden Live Well

You, But Better: The Gaggler Agenda for December

Mark your calendars.

December 3: Rediscover Dubai

Explore a side of the city that you may not know with the UAE National Day Food & Chai Tour. Guided by three homegrown brands that are passionate about exploring the city and showcasing street flavours – Frying Pan Adventures, Project Chaiwala, and Rove Hotel – you’ll head to one of Dubai’s most historic neighbourhoods for three hours of traditional snacks and local tidbits.

Learn more here.

December 4: Understand Scent

You know the region’s love of perfume – now roll up your sleeves and actually make one yourself at the Arabic Perfume Making Workshop led by social enterprise alBeqsha. Conducted in English, the hour-long session will be held at art and events space The Workshop in Jumeirah.

Learn more here.

December 10: Watch This Space

Movie screenings continue (almost) daily at Cinema Akil throughout the month of December, with the independent cinema platform in Alserkal Avenue hosting a flawlessly curated selection of movies. Also on the roster? Making Waves, the globe-trotting film programme celebrating Hong Kong cinematic arts by showcasing an eight-film programme from December 9 to 14.

Learn more here.

December 12: Heal from Heartbreak

Coping with the breakdown or end of a committed romantic relationship is never easy, and there could be collateral damage, but healing is made a little easier with the free Heartbreak Support Group at The LightHouse Arabia. Designed for men and women over the age of 21, it’s led by a clinical psychologist and aims to provide a safe space to share, connect, seek support, and explore the challenges that come with break-ups.

Learn more here.

December 15: Take a Walk

Hone your street photography skills with the Creekside: Street Photography photo walk hosted by Gulf Photo Plus. Not only will this three-hour trek teach you techniques to overcome unfavourable lighting conditions – regardless of the camera or cell phone in use – and tips on how to compose an image, but it will also take you on a route through Dubai Creek that is laced with culture and history.

Learn more here.

December 16: Catch a Classic

The festive season brings with it a Christmas favourite as The Nutcracker returns from Russia to Dubai Opera. A treat for the whole family, Moscow Ballet “La Classique” pairs its artistic ballet mastery with lavish costumes and magnificent stage sets to take you on a journey back in time to the beautifully nostalgic world of Clara and her beloved nutcracker doll.

Learn more here.

December 20: Feel Festive

For a festive twist on a quintessentially English tradition, book your spot at the Christmas Afternoon Tea hosted by Anything To Eclair on BreakBread. Expect to dine on Sausage Rolls, Cranberry & Kumquat Scones, and Black Forest Yule Log alongside a selection of teas and mulled wine.

Learn more here.

December 24: Cultivate Awareness

According to Mayan belief, working with cacao – a.k.a. food of the gods – allows one to cultivate awareness on an emotional and spiritual level, guiding you in the direction that you need to take. And that’s where the Heart Opening Cacao Ceremony & Sound Healing Journey at Yoga House comes in. Led by energy, sound, and breathwork practitioner Lisa Oxford, the ceremony will open your heart in order to release what no longer serves you.

Learn more here.

December 27: Ring in 2023

With 2023 on the horizon, make a beeline for the Casting Your Visions meditation session at Illuminations. Led by healer therapist and life coach Jana Reddy, this hour-long New Year meditation ritual will help your visions come true by rooted your resolutions in a resounding ‘why’ so that they’re not lost after a few months.

Learn more here.

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Tile ideas to add style to home

Tile Time: Adding Personality to Your Home

Here’s how to do it right.

The use of tiles in the interior space has been common practice for centuries, with the first use of decorative tiling dating back to Egypt in 4,000 BC. Long before carpets adorned floors, tiles were used to cover compacted mud and concrete and finish off interior spaces.

They were not only used on floors, but also fixed to walls in place of paints to depict art forms, with mosaic tiles used on walls to create elaborate finishes, along with simpler results such as plant or nature scenes. The Romans were particularly fond of mosaics, which they used to decorate floors, walls, and the poolside areas of their villas.

Mosaic patterns are still popular today, especially those featuring bold colours like reds, blues, and greens. In recent years, there has been a resurgence in popularity for tiling as an alternative to wallpapering or painting, with homeowners looking for something different that will stand the test of time – without being costly to maintain.  

wall with tiles

Keeping It Classic

Tile is one of the most versatile and beautiful materials for flooring. It can take on any style and look, from modern and sleek to traditional and timeless. Patterned tiles became a popular addition in Renaissance times and are popular once again.

When trying to create a classic, Renaissance-style theme, think tiles in sage green, royal blue, and creams with pretty flower motifs to create an authentic look. Such tiles were also prominent in the Victorian era (1830s to 1900), when patterned tiles were used to decorate floors and fireplace surrounds, in keeping with the era’s tendency to over-decorate spaces. 

Wondering how to accent a period property authentically? Simply choose motif tiles with darker hues such as burgundy, navy blue, dark green, and red. Motif tiles are also the style used in many Grecian designs. Go for blues and whites and complete the look with smaller, glass mosaics. 

Tile ideas

Current Day Tiles

Tiles are the perfect way to create a bold, personal statement in your home. Today, tiles are available in many different sizes, finishes, and materials that allow you to put your personal stamp on your space.  Depending on your taste and the concept you want to achieve, you can go for a higher-end, elegant Carrara marble tile versus a natural stone (which can be layered unevenly for a rustic finish) or a hardwearing granite tile (which will stand the test of time).

With a little imagination, you can also easily create your coveted design using the appropriate tiles and colour selections. It doesn’t matter what kind of space you’re looking to fill or what finishes appeal to your particular tastes; no matter which direction you go with these tiles, there’s sure to be something out there that will help you achieve the look and feel of your dreams.

ways to add style to your home with tiles

Cultural Influence

Tiles can be so much more than just something to cover the floor or walls. They can be a way to bring culture and environment into your interior, creating a space that is both beautiful and relaxing. Culture and environment can be visible through tiles. Specific styles such as terracotta bring a Mediterranean feel to the interior, the natural colours instantly relaxing the space.

A classic Middle Eastern style is a beautiful combination of vibrant colours and floral or geometric patterns – inspired by Islamic architecture – laid out to create elaborate motifs, instantly transforming a space with the intricate design. Terracotta tiles come in many colours ranging from natural earthy tones like browns and greys to warm yellows and oranges. This means that they will work well in any type of room – kitchen, bathroom, and bedroom included.

Tile with mosaic design

Tiling Your Space

Tiles are a versatile and cost-effective way to add style, texture, and colour to any space in your home. They can also be used in a variety of different ways that don’t require you to use them as flooring or wall cladding.

Although tiles are usually found in bathrooms, kitchens, and general flooring areas, they don’t have to be relegated to these spaces. They can be just as effective on a wall service in the lounge area, for example. This will break up the paint and add texture to the room, along with additional sound insulation. It also provides a visual relief from the usual finishes.  

Tiles can also be added to a space to create a border, division of space, or focal point. By using contrasting colour and patterns, you can create a truly unique space. Another way to include tiles is to use them to create a form or art, either on the floor or wall. Consider placing geometric shaped tiles to create an interesting feature.

Bathroom tile ideas to add style

To bring some charm into your space without feeling like it’s too much, subway tiles are a great option. These tiles don’t need to be patterned to create a sense of style. They can be simple and modern, or even go in the opposite direction and be rustic. Either way, they’ll look great in any room with an industrial feel. 

Kitchen tile ideas to add style

Because they’re so cheap and simple, you won’t have to worry about them clashing with other elements of your decorating scheme. The subway tile is an easy way to spice up your space without going overboard on patterns or colours. By choosing a simpler tile, you will be able to spruce up the rest of the room with colour and personal objects.

Leanne Cooper is a Muscat-based interior designer. Visit @leanneclaire81 for more information.

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House of Pops restaurant van

Of Ice Cream and Ingenuity – Meet Marcela

The entrepreneur on her vision, lightbulb moment, and more.

Did you know that tomorrow is Women’s Entrepreneurship Day? Created to celebrate, empower, and support women in business in order to alleviate poverty, the day is marked annually on November 19. Supporting the initiative, we’re continuing our series on female entrepreneurs today. In the past, we’ve spoken with the likes of Leena Al Abbas, Claire Lambert, Mona Kattan, and Emma Burdett about their entrepreneurial journeys, proving that the insights of Dubai’s female self-starters bring with them countless nuggets of wisdom. Case in point?Marcela Sancho, who is all about bringing guilt-free treats to the city.

After popping out for ice cream with her partner one afternoon in 2018, she was shocked by the lack of healthy options on offer for those looking for something that wasn’t packed with sugar, preservatives, or calories. Tapping into her partner’s extensive experience in the region’s frozen treats business, Marcela set about creating a refreshing and healthy alternative to what was available, co-founding House of Pops in the process. Not only is it the only Dubai-based ice cream brand with zero plastic packaging, but itsvegan all-natural fruit pops also contain no preservatives, colourings, E-numbers, nor refined sugar.

Marcela Sancho

WHO?

Marcela Sancho

FOUNDER OF?

House of Pops

Age?

34

What was your ‘lightbulb’ moment?

One day, I was with my partner, out for ice cream and shocked that we couldn’t really see anything that was healthy on offer. Everything was high in sugar, high in fat, and packed with empty calories. Health and wellness had become a global trend, and more UAE consumers were moving into this category at the time, so that was our opportunity to take up the challenge and fill the gap in the market.

What was your vision when you first launched your business?

We wanted to be the number one choice when people thought of healthier ice cream, and create the healthiest form of ice cream that we possibly could. We wanted to be the first to bring the change – a disruption into this category – and believed we could have a strong share in the ice cream business, especially since my partner had extensive experience in the industry. Our mission was to provide consumers with an option to delight themselves guilt-free and, so, House of Pops was born. We launched our products at a farmers’ market and sold 100 pops that day. That was a great day.

best Ice Cream Dubai

Has the pandemic affected your business negatively or positively?

It had a positive effect. When people were locked at home, they were looking for something to indulge in to make themselves happy, and House of Pops was the perfect solution as a healthy treat. We already had a very strong e-commerce structure in place, so we were able to cope with the demand. We experienced a channel growth of 10 times its size before COVID-19.

What drives you every day?

The passion to achieve sustainable growth for the business, tackle new opportunities of development from the product range, and expand the brand internationally. The business has been working for four years – we’ve successfully opened several shops and want to expand our franchise model. It’s been sold to other countries in the GCC, and this is where our focus is at the moment.

Do you have a favourite business mentor?

Jim Rhon and his practical approach. He preaches accountability. This is very powerful, as he made me realise that I can change and drive change in my life and in my business. I stopped pointing out why things went wrong, justifying it with external factors, and started to ask myself what I could’ve done differently or better. This is how I learned. He also explains why it’s important to not only have clear priorities, but also allocate energy and a share of mind to them to get results. When time is limited as an entrepreneur, this becomes very helpful.

Which books/podcasts/blogs do you follow, and why?

I usually like to listen to interviews. You can learn a lot from other people’s experience, irrespective of the field they are in. From sportsmen like MMA fighter Conor McGregor to Michelle Obama, it gives me the motivation and sense of community that I need. I can relate to a lot of the struggles that they speak about, and how they overcame them to reach the place where they are today.

What’s one piece of advice that you would give to a budding entrepreneur?

Set your concept and give it a try. Have your goals straight. Speak to people in the field. Understand challenges that you might face so that you don’t repeat them again. Read a lot about your idea and your concept. Be like a sponge.

What are five things one must consider before launching a business?

  1. Make sure that the insights make sense.
  2. Make sure that the business is scalable – it should be a business, not a hobby.
  3. Understand the financials on bringing the idea to life. Do you have them or do you need external investment?
  4. Have the right skills to develop the idea. If you don’t have them, get the right team (outsourced or in-house).
  5. Find something unique in your proposition. This will make you build a successful company. We are at a time where a lot of services and products are being offered, so ask yourself, ‘Why people would choose my product?
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Items to Organise the Wardrobe

6 Items to Get Your Closet – and Life – in Order

Tackle that clutter already.

Do you dream of owning a wardrobe that looks like it belongs in a magazine or high-end boutique? Well, you can have it with the help of just six nifty items. But before you start to organise your closet, spend at least a day giving it a thorough declutter as this is part of the journey of having your dream closet – it’s an inefficient use of your time and money organising and arranging items that you don’t wear, need, or use.

To organise your closet, you should only have what you need and love to wear. Your closet should be your sanctuary, making you feel beautiful and invigorated. Read on for some practical tips on how to get your wardrobe organised in a way that works for you, making your space calm and clutter-free.

rack with clothes

1. The Velvet Hanger

For every closet I have organised, I have always highly recommended the velvet hanger. You might ask why. Why would you replace all the hangers you already have, even if they are in good condition? Usually, wardrobes have hangers of all shapes and sizes – the skinny wire one, the larger wooden ones, the regular plastic ones and, sometimes, the broad suit ones. If you have limited space in your closet, the first way you will make more space is by removing any broad hangers. 

Firstly, velvet hangers are slim with a versatile neck that swivel, making it easy to put clothes in and out, ensuring the clothes are facing the same direction. Secondly, the velvet hangers are a great organiser for the closet as they prevent clothes from slipping. Thin synthetic fabrics or silks are very slippery and can become wrinkled or look messy in your closet. Velvet hangers ensure all the pieces are well presented, keep their shape, and make your clothes look like they are in a store – especially when you choose one colour for all your hangers.

closet with organizers and clothes

2. The Drawer Divider

This is an essential organiser for the closet as it makes everything visible. Drawer dividers come in different shapes and sizes. Some are simple plastic extendable dividers that can fit in most drawers – these are perfect for folding T-shirts, shorts, leggings, and tops, keeping them neatly in rows within the drawers. 

Another divider is the box of different sizes, like the SKUBB series from IKEA that keeps different types of items together, like accessories or underwear. For bras and underwear, Amazon sells a set of drawer dividers that keep each item apart, making it very easy to see them all. The key to organising your closet is to make each item visible and accessible in a sensible space. Drawer dividers help you do just this. 

3. The Pull-Out Storage Box

So often, wardrobes have deep shelves, making it very difficult to reach items at the back of the shelf. By pulling some clothes out, others get knocked over – even if they are in neatly folded piles – so you end up with a messy bunch of wrinkled clothes in no time. To solve this problem, use storage boxes that fit exactly on the shelf, which you can pull out to access the back of the shelf.

Any box can work for this purpose, but it should ideally fit most of the surface area of the shelf in order to maximise the closet space. Measure your shelf carefully and refer to these dimensions when buying your storage boxes. I would recommend buying a box covered in fabric as it gives a softer feel and looks attractive when you open your closet door. My favourites are the STUK series from IKEA. 

4. The Pants Hanger

What is a pants hanger, you may ask? It is a hanger with multiple bars to hang more than one pair of trousers or scarves on. These are wonderful space savers and keep your trousers neatly folded as well as highly visible. It’s wise to get ones that are non-slip as most trousers slip. I would dedicate a space on one side of the closet to use this closet organiser, keeping your trousers in one zone.

When arranging your hanging closet, it is imperative to have zones based on the use or look of your clothes. For example, zones could be trousers, shirts, dresses, and skirts – all based on the length of the items. Alternatively, zones could be work clothes, occasion wear, and casual wear – based on the purpose of the items. It needs to work for you, so choose a style that you love to look at everyday, keeping in mind that it needs to be practical as well.

closet orginizers

5. The Shoe Box

Shoe storage is an ongoing battle for many closets around the world. It’s usually a problem because there are more shoes than there is space. The way to work around this is to store vertically. Most closets have a shoe space in the bottom half and there are options to maximise this space vertically. You can insert a wooden or wire shoe rack inside the closet. You can also use stackable shoe boxes to increase visibility, but they require the luxury of space. 

Another option is to store shoes in deep drawers if you have some under the bed, or have a separate unit with baskets to store shoes in. Having shoes visible in your home creates visual clutter, so I highly recommend using an organiser that hides your shoes within your closet. The less visual clutter you have in your home, the calmer it will feel. 

6. The Shelf Insert

The shelf insert is a versatile closet organiser that helps maximise vertical space. Another benefit of this handy piece is that it creates more visibility for all the pieces in your closet. An efficiently organised closet should have all items easily accessible and visible to the user. Shelf inserts are incredibly valuable in closets that have deep shelves as items at the back are often not seen because it’s dark and things can get lost behind other piles of clothes.

You might be wondering what you can put on a shelf insert. Clothes can be folded and put on shelf inserts. Handbags and shoes can be stacked on shelf inserts. Makeup and accessories can also be placed high up. There are many different types of shelf inserts that you can choose to suit your style of closet. Black wire racks work for dark closets, clear acrylic stands from Muji are perfect for displaying accessories, and white shelf inserts match white closets and therefore create a uniform look. 

closet with clothes

To maintain your beautifully organised closet, there is a simple rule you need to follow: anything new coming in means something else needs to go out. Over time, your closet will get fuller and more cluttered as you buy more. Be mindful about what you buy, making sure it is what you really want and not an impulse buy. Donate regularly to keep your wardrobe calm and clutter-free – it should be inspirational, not an eyesore. 

Fern McGahey is a professional home organiser at Calm the Clutter. Visit @calmtheclutternow or www.calmtheclutternow.com for more information.

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Wellness Calendar for November

You, But Better: The Gaggler Agenda for November

Mark your calendars.

November 1: Speak Up

We all know the impact and importance of interpersonal relationships – and that’s where the Open Communication workshop at Illuminations comes in. Led by intuitive healer and spiritual teacher Neus Ventura, the session will focus on both personal relationships and healthy partnerships, guiding participants on how to effectively communicate about everything ranging from everyday nuisances to more serious matters.

Learn more here.

November 5: Follow the Glow

Candlelight Concerts bring the magic of unique, one-of-a-kind concerts played by flickering candlelight to locations worldwide – which now includes Dubai. The upcoming 65-minute performance will feature the music of Tchaikovsky’s Nutcracker and more alongside a ballerina performance at The Theatre in Mall of The Emirates.

Learn more here.

November 7: Revisit a Myth

Choreographer Boris Eifman has mastered the tragicomedy genre. Case in point: The Pygmalion Effect, a ballet interpretation of the archetypical story of Pygmalion, the sculptor who fell in love with his creation, a statue of a beautiful young woman. Two productions will run at Dubai Opera across two days, November 7 and 8.

Learn more here.

November 7: Revisit a Myth

November 8: Dive Into Design

Design buffs have reason to celebrate once again as Dubai Design Week, the region’s largest creative festival, returns for its eighth season. Expect everything from experimental mediums and talks to temporary pop-ups, workshops, and even children’s activities. This year’s edition is focused on designing a sustainable future, so the theme ‘Design With Impact’ will entail a series of immersive installations that demonstrate innovative design thinking.

Learn more here.

November 12: Make a Connection

Alserkal Art Week returns to Alserkal Avenue, this time spanning nine days of art and design. Reminding us that everything eventually intersects, the event will feature thought-provoking exhibitions, a Majlis Talks programme, intriguing slow art walks by curators, conversations with artists, and more.

Learn more here.

November 18: Swing and Sway

Located at Souk Madinat Jumeirah, Theatre of Digital Art is an immersive art space that continues to diversify, hosting everything from exhibitions and yoga classes to breathwork meditation sessions. We’re marking our calendars for the immersive Jazz Music Night, a unique 90-minute jazz performance accented with stunning 360-degree projections.

Learn more here.

Swing and Sway

November 20: Take a Walk

Explore a side of Dubai you may not have seen and hone your street photography skills with the Karama: People & Places photo walk hosted by Gulf Photo Plus. Not only will this three-hour trek teach you techniques for difficult lighting conditions and tips on how to compose an image, but it will also take you through a route in Karama that is laced with culture and history.

Learn more here.

November 21: Grasp Your Grief

Grief is a truly complex process and affects us all – now start to understand it. The LightHouse Arabia is hosting its annual Evening of Remembrance from 6pm to 8pm, designed to help participants understand the nature of grief, its impact, and how to support someone who is grieving. The event will take place both in-person and online via Zoom.

Learn more here.

November 25: Test Your Palate

If you love chocolate and drink coffee, but have no idea what the term “single origin” means, the Coffee & Cocoa Pairing Workshop is perfect for you. Hosted by artisanal chocolate factory Mirzam, it features samples of chocolate from the Maps collection as well as single drip V60 coffees from El Salvador, Ethiopia and Brazil. You’ll receive not only instructions and handouts, but also detailed suggestions for pairing options from Mirzam’s Master Barista.

Learn more here.

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diwali in abu dhabi

5 Places to Celebrate Diwali in Abu Dhabi

Go all out for the Festival Of Lights.

In Abu Dhabi and looking to celebrate Diwali in style this month? We’ve curated a list of experiences ranging from fine dining to family fun to help you ring in the Festival of Lights with lights, colour, and sparkle. Diwali will take place on Monday, October 24 this year and will be one of the most significant holidays for Hindus who reside in the UAE.

Apart from the religious festivities, celebrations include decorating homes with clay lamps, known as diyas, and creating decorative patterns called rangoli on the floor using coloured powders or sand. Most important, though, is the quality time spent with family and friends and indulging in delicious food and desserts. Read on to make your plans. And if you’re in Dubai, don’t worry – there’s plenty to do there too.

Diwali in UAE

Martabaan

Head down to Emirates Palace this weekend to take in the air and enjoy an all-day outdoor street food adventure with six stalls showcasing Indian street food and sweets at the Diwali Mela from October 22-24 between 11am and 7pm. There will be special Diwali gifts for every table, as well as Martabaan sweet boxes are also available to purchase.

Martabaan, Emirates Palace, Corniche Road, Abu Dhabi, 02 690 9000

Bollywood Parks

Bollywood Parks is at a prime location on the border between Abu Dhabi and Dubai, so it’s a great reason to stop by – whether you’re heading in or out of the capital. It really is a memorable destination on its own. It’s the first Bollywood-themed park in the world, and only 56 minutes from the heart of Abu Dhabi. The traditional Indian street dancers are the best part, along with the theatre performance that happens multiple times during the evening.

There is a lot to do apart from the customary performances. There’s the rocket-shaped gravity ride, carousels, vibrant hang gliders, and the Bollywood Sky Flyer, which holds the record for the largest swing ride in the world. From food and rides to just soaking in the vibes inspired by your favourite blockbusters, there is something for everyone at this theme park.

Bollywood Parks, Sheikh Zayed Road, Dubai, 800 262 9464, www.bollywoodparksdubai.com

diwali celebration in abu dhabi

Osmo Lounge

There is no better location than Osmo to celebrate Diwali in Abu Dhabi. Visit the terrace to enjoy a variety of healthy street snacks, nibbles, and treats while admiring the magnificent Yas Bay fireworks. Live stations will provide typical fare like chaat, pani puri, freshly grilled tandoori skewers, a variety of samosas, and tea. You can order off the à la carte menu or enjoy the benefits of the limitless meal and soft drink offer for just AED 200.

Osmo Lounge, Yas Bay, Yas Island, Abu Dhabi, 02 208 6900, www.hilton.com

Yas Bay Waterfront Fireworks

Yas Bay Waterfront Fireworks

What better way to celebrate the Festival of Lights than to visit Yas Bay and take in the breathtaking fireworks display? You can enjoy this spectacle that will light up the sky on Monday, October 24. To experience a wonderful light show for the Festival of Lights, be there by 9pm.

Yas Bay Waterfront fireworks, Yas Island Yas West, Abu Dhabi, www.yasbay.ae

Capila Pool Bar & Grill

Capila Pool Bar & Grill

If you’re in Abu Dhabi for the weekend after Diwali, the Hilton Abu Dhabi Yas Island will continue to celebrate the Festival of Lights on October 29, and invites guests to enjoy a memorable Diwali. You can visit the spice market at Capila Pool Bar & Grill and DIY your own delicious chaat. The exquisite masala bike will serve tantalising Indian dishes while the tandoori BBQ will dish out succulent tikka. As no celebration is complete without dessert, guests can end their meal with indulgent Indian sweets. The Hilton Abu Dhabi Yas Island’s façade will come to life with a special 3D animated light show, and you’ll have a view of the fireworks at Yas Bay.

Capila Pool Bar & Grill, Hilton Abu Dhabi Yas Island, 02 208 6900, [email protected]

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Tips for Bathroom Organization

10 Tips to Better Organise Your Bathroom

Easy tips for a calm and clutter-free bathroom.

The bathroom. A place of both sanctuary and shame. A safe haven where we can relax and rejuvenate or a cluttered mess that causes us nothing but stress. If your bathroom falls into the latter category, it’s time for a change – declutter and organise this space. 

By decluttering and organising your bathroom, you can make it more efficient and easier to maintain. This will free up time for you to relax and enjoy yourself without having to worry about cleaning up after yourself. In addition, by decluttering your bathroom, you can also help to improve its air quality and make it more pleasant to spend time in. But how do you transform your bathroom into a sanctuary? Here are some tips to get you started.

1. Clear Out All Expired and Unused Items

Have you heard of a clutter magnet? Well, bathrooms are known for this. In just a little time, bathrooms can become overcrowded with all sorts of items from toiletries and makeup to medicines and even pet items. The first major step of organising a bathroom is to declutter it completely. 

Dedicate a time and place to do this. You will need floor space or a large table to unpack all items. Go through each item, check the expiry date (if any), and decide whether the item is used frequently, needs to be kept for long-term use, or ought to be discarded.  

set of bathroom essentials

2. Sort Items According to Category

As you go through the decluttering process, place items in groups of function or use. For example, you start to find many hair products like gel, spray, and shampoo, so group these hair products next to each other. Other categories can include makeup, hair, face, body, medicines for cold and flu, child medication, adult medication, first aid items, vitamins and supplements, hair removal, female hygiene, and dental hygiene. 

3. Store Items Based on Frequency of Use

Once you have gone through all your items, use bins to combine each category and find a suitable space to store them. Remember to store frequently used items close to the front of the cupboard or top drawers where you can get to them quickly. If something takes too much effort to store away, we tend to place items on the countertops. Try to avoid this as it creates a cluttered look. 

4. Store Medicines Safely and Accurately

Medicines need a dedicated zone to be stored in, ideally out of reach from children. They should also be clearly labelled and discarded if expired. It is not worth using any medicine after it has expired as you have no idea how it has changed chemically or what its effects may be. 

One unique thing about medicines is that they can accumulate very quickly. You may often buy new medicines when the family is sick and then very rarely use them all up (think: nasal sprays, cough medicines, supplements, and creams). Sometimes, you could also end up with duplicate items because you’ve forgotten what you already have at home

Quick Tips to Organize and Declutter a Bathroom

5. Use Hidden Storage

Bathrooms don’t usually have lots of storage as they are small rooms primarily filled with sanitary ware. If you purchase additional storage for your bathroom, buy closed storage so items can be hidden from view. Too often, I see open shelves or trolleys that have become clutter magnets, resulting in messy bathrooms. 

An organiser for the bathroom will always tell you to keep it clean and hidden. Examples of hidden storage can include wall-mounted cabinets like the ENHET series from IKEA, baskets with lids, and moveable chests of drawers. 

6. Fold Towels Attractively

Storing your towels beautifully can make your bathroom so much more attractive. Ensure you have good towel racks to hang your towels neatly so they can dry properly. When storing extra towels in the bathroom, there are many ways to fold your towels so that they can look beautiful and organised. Two common ways are to roll them or fold them, so the edges are not visible. 

10 Bathroom Organization Tips

7. Keep Surfaces Empty

This is key to keeping a bathroom calm and clutter-free. On your sink countertop, you should only have the items you literally use every day and maybe not even all of those. If a wall-mounted cabinet or drawer is nearby, keep your toiletries out of sight. Using a container with a lid is an option for bathroom storage, too. 

8. Don’t Buy More Than You Need

When you have limited space to store items, you have to be mindful of how much you buy for that storage space. Try to use up all your toiletries before you buy more. Have no more than one extra stock of essential items like toothpaste and shampoo. If you have a large storage area elsewhere in the house, you are fortunate to create a space for extra bathroom stock that doesn’t encroach on the current bathroom storage. 

9. Maximise Cupboard Space

Bathroom cupboards often have a large open space under the sink without shelving, and various bathroom organisers can help maximise this space. One idea is to attach wire racks or clear holders inside the cupboard doors to store items. Another idea I highly recommend is getting shelf inserts or modular, stackable drawers from KEYWAY at Homesmiths. 

Usually, a lot of vertical space goes to waste under the sink. Using a shelf insert, like IKEA’s Variera range with clearly labelled bins, increases the surface area for bathroom storage. Stackable drawers are also a great way to enhance the storage space; each drawer can contain a different category of items. Labelling the drawers will help keep items in order and make it easy to find items quickly.  

bathroom space

10. Calm the Space with Scents and Plants

Calm your home and create that sanctuary spa feeling by appealing to your senses. Think about how you can add fragrance to your bathroom – candles, diffusers, and incense are all ways to bring in a scent you love. Bring plants into the bathroom, too, as greenery makes us calm.

Both real and artificial plants work, as they both add to the atmosphere of being in natural surroundings. Hanging plants in a macrame hanger really suits the bathroom as you are not taking over the bathroom floor area and many corners in a bathroom are usually covered in tiles and very stark. Plants will soften these spaces creating a sanctuary you love to visit every day. 

Fern McGahey is a professional home organiser at Calm the Clutter. Visit @calmtheclutternow or www.calmtheclutternow.com for more information.

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wellness events in Dubai

You, But Better: The Gaggler Agenda for October

Mark your calendars.


October 1: Laugh Aloud

If laughter really is the best medicine, then consider Riaad Moosa the cure. The South African doctor-turned-comedian famed for his observational humour returns to Dubai for one night of stand-up comedy at The Theatre in Mall of the Emirates. Audiences will also get a chance to attend a screening of the award-winning actor’s latest release, New Material, the sequel to his hit movie Material.

Learn more here.

October 3: Recognise the Signs

With the pandemic resulting in a rise of eating disorders worldwide, the Getting to Grips with Eating Disorders and Body Image webinar hosted by The LightHouse Arabia is a great tool to help university students, university educators, and young adults gain a better understanding of what an eating disorder is and how they develop. The session will help recognise the warning signs, learn about treatment, and learn practical tips for supporting young people with such issues.

Learn more here.

October 5: Lose Your Blues

A collision of singing, dancing, and plenty of laughs awaits as Footloose The Musical makes its way to Dubai Opera for four days of performances. Whether you’re loyal to the 1984 original starring Kevin Bacon or only familiar with Craig Brewer’s 2011 remake for a new generation, this is a stage adaptation you don’t want to miss.

Learn more here.

October wellness events in Dubai

October 7: Broaden Your Perspective

At the intersection of art, science, and technology is Festival X, a one-of-a-kind event that hopes to attract and create a community of open-minded artists, scientists, and tech experts coming together and sharing knowledge. Taking place at Alserkal Avenue from October 7 to 9, it will feature exhibitions and talks (free to attend) alongside shows (priced AED 150) and workshops (priced AED 1,200).

Learn more here.

October 11: Go Green

Vegan or not, foodies across the city ought to experience the culinary prowess of French chef Vincent Caudet. We recommend booking the Fusion Vegan 5 Course Secret Menu, which encourages diners to keep an open mind and surf the vegan trend, returning to nature through a selection of 100% plant-based products.

Learn more here.

October 16: Embrace Imperfections

Take a cue from the Japanese and give a new lease of life to something broken during the guided kintsugi art workshop taking place at the upcoming UnleashYou Retreat. Held at Dubai Polo & Equestrian Club, this daylong event will also feature a coaching session using the art of mandalas and another that delves into the correlation between music and interpersonal relationships.

Learn more here.

Embrace Imperfections

October 25: Think Global

Impulse purchases, cultural performances, street food, extreme rides, and family-friendly attractions – if you want to pair the return of cooler weather with a little old-fashioned fun for all ages, Global Village is where it’s at. Season 27 is set to begin on October 25, bringing with it 80 different cultures across 26 pavilions as well as plenty of new entertainment offerings.

Learn more here.

October 27: Watch This Space

Advocating tolerance and unity through film, META Film Fest marks the first film festival to take place in the country in five years – and it promises to be a big one. Spanning three days, this brand new film festival will be held at Vox Cinemas at Nakheel Mall and feature movie premieres, international blockbusters, and regional feature films. Cast members and celebrities from the Arab world, Hollywood, Bollywood, and even Nollywood are expected to make an appearance on the red carpet.

Learn more here.

October 30: Catch a Classic

It’s never too early for young ones to develop a taste for ballet, especially if it’s a production that the whole family can enjoy. Enter: The Sleeping Beauty: A Bite Size Ballet at The Theatre in Mall of the Emirates. A unique spin on a classic, this 60-minute show is the perfect blend of classical elegance and immersive fun, capturing children’s attention and telling the story adapted specifically for younger audiences.

Learn more here.

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