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Deep Scuba diving in Dubai

Weekly Planner: What’s on the Agenda from August 1-7

The year’s hottest month is here.

SUNDAY, AUGUST 1

Love Yorkshire pudding? August 1 is Yorkshire Day, an annual celebration of the historic British county and, to salute it, Reform Social & Grill is bringing back a selection of Yorkshire puddings with eight delicious new fillings. Running all week long, diners can choose from four different savoury puddings: medium-rare beef, pulled pork, roast turkey, and Cajun chicken. And on the sweet side? Nutella and banana, Lotus and vanilla ice cream, white-chocolate mousse and strawberry, or tiramisu. Yum!

Priced AED 60 for four Yorkies, call 04 454 2638 to book.

MONDAY, AUGUST 2

If your kids have been inspired by the action of the Olympics, how about enrolling them into a brand new sporting summer camp? One of the region’s most famous squash players, Kanzy EI Dafrawy – a.k.a. The Flying Daf – has launched The Flying DAF academy – the first of its kind in the UAE – to drive her ambitions for national and global development of the game. 

Based at Jumeirah Mina A’Salam, the high-performance squash academy’s kids summer camp runs until August 21, welcoming three weekly intakes of youngsters to learn more about the game, enjoy some on-court action, or improve their skills under the guidance of professional coaches. Open to all levels, each five-day camp costs AED 800 per child, with attendees provided with snacks, branded tees, and 15% discount on customised equipment.

For more information, check out @theflyingdaf on Instagram.

TUESDAY, AUGUST 3

Fancy yourself as a sommelier in the making? Then head to Souk Madinat Jumeirah and sign up for the new Tasting Tour that takes place every Tuesday from 7pm. Visitors will dive into grapes from Italy, Germany, Syria, France, and Portugal at Trattoria, Publique, Anar, The Noodle House, and Ushna. Priced at AED 395 per person, attendees will also be treated to light bites and a mini food-and-grape pairing lesson delivered by experts at each venue. 

To book, xxxxxxxxxx.

WEDNESDAY, AUGUST 4

Dubai-based Lebanese artist Kristel Bechara’s latest exhibition opens today, showcasing a retrospective of 10 years in the evolution of her art. Running for one month only at DIFC’s Gate Avenue, A Dance of Colours features highlights from her most recent collection, Psychomachia, as well as signature pieces from previous works. We challenge you not to be dazzled by this technicolour spectacular of insightful pieces inspired by modern femininity.

THURSDAY, AUGUST 5

After footage of Will Smith’s first dip into Dubai’s most talked about new attraction went viral last month, mere mortals now have the chance to explore the record-breaking 60-metre pool at Deep Dive Dubai. It’s home to the world’s deepest swimming pool, containing 14 million litres of water filtered and recirculated every six hours using NASA-developed filter technology. The water temperature, meanwhile, is maintained at an optimal 30ºC for optimum comfort as divers swim through Deep Dive Dubai’s incredible sunken city, complete with an abandoned streetscape and arcade.

With 56 underwater cameras covering all angles of the pool, as well as advanced sound and mood-lighting systems, Deep Dive is designed to be enjoyed by divers of all abilities (aged 10 and up) and offers a selection of scuba, freediving, and snorkelling experiences. All courses are delivered by a hand-picked team of international diving professionals and supported by the latest equipment, technology, and facilities – including what will be the region’s most advanced hyperbaric chamber, due to open by the end of this year. Open Wednesday to Sunday, from 12pm to 8pm, experiences start at AED 400 per person, granted only with a prior online booking. 

For more information and to book, visit www.deepdivedubai.com.

FRIDAY, AUGUST 6

Start your weekend in memorable style with a dawn yoga class boasting one of the city’s most spectacular views. Held at Level 54, Address Sky View from 6am every Friday, the 60-minute sessions allow yogis to soak up the incredible Dubai skyline as you improve your strength, balance, and flexibility before enjoying a healthy buffet breakfast at the hotel’s signature dining spot, The Restaurant. Classes are priced AED 160 per person, with an extra AED 100 for breakfast.

To book, e-mail [email protected] or call 04 873 8882.

SATURDAY, AUGUST 7

JBR hotspot Bla Bla’s new poolside Saturday brunch from 12pm-3pm is a fab new weekend deal that you shouldn’t miss. With three hours of unlimited beverages including house and sparkling grape as well as mimosas and sangria, each guest is treated to a grazing tray filled with salads, bruschetta, sushi, summer fruits, and refreshing popsicles – perfect for keeping your cool by the pool. With a live DJ and world-famous bongo player Walter Scalzone to keep the party going, prices start at AED 250 for soft and AED 350 for house beverages, as well as a sunlounger.

To book, call 04 584 4111.

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6 Travel Destinations to Explore with the Kids

Wildlife, beaches, city breaks, and more.

With spring break for students and Eid al-Fitr holidays on the horizon, parents across the country are putting family vacations back on their radars. Admittedly, it feels a little counterintuitive to address family-friendly travel destinations considering we’re residents of the UAE. Not only was Dubai ranked the world’s number one destination in 2023, according to Tripadvisor, but Abu Dhabi was also named the world’s best city for a family getaway in 2022 by the experts at The Family Vacation Guide. Still, we’d be remiss not to reveal our favourites, and this guide features a bit of everything – wildlife, history, beaches, theme parks, and enough adrenaline to excite children of all ages.

Costa Rica

It may seem like an unlikely choice to begin with, but Costa Rica is actually one of the world’s best places to holiday as a family – particularly if an adventure is in order. This tiny Central American country has it all – untouched wilderness in the form of tropical rainforests and legendary volcanoes, an excellent ecotourism system, and additional security resources in areas frequented by tourists. We’d go as far as saying that it’s the ultimate starting point if Latin America is on your bucket list. And if the likes of waterfall rappelling, white-water rafting, or whooshing along ziplines feels too intense, you and your little ones can build sandcastles on Costa Rica’s beautiful palm-backed beaches.

Stay: The Springs Resort & Spa
See: The majesty of Arenal Volcano, Costa Rica’s most famous volcano, before discovering the ancient secrets of cacao through the Rainforest Chocolate Tour.
Do: Walk through the clouds at the truly unique ecosystem of Monteverde Cloud Forest Biological Reserve.

Iceland

Iceland regularly ranks among the safest countries in the world, making it a no-brainer for those new to travelling with the kids in tow. It also boasts a whole host of otherworldly attractions, each guaranteed to impress even the most jaded of teenagers. Nicknamed the “land of fire and ice”, this Nordic island nation is one of the best places to see the northern lights, especially between September and April. Elsewhere, activities such as whale watching, puffin tours, and dog sledding cater to all ages. As for an activity that’s unique to Iceland? Living like a Viking, of course! Head to Viking Village, where you’ll dine on traditional Viking meals as actors in Viking and Valkyrie costumes dance, sing, and tell stories – it’s just the right amount of kitsch.

Stay: Reykjavik Marina
See: The Golden Circle – Iceland’s most popular sightseeing route – by taking a bus tour that departs from Reykjavik.
Do: Bathe in the Blue Lagoon, arguably the most famous of Iceland’s many geothermal pools.

Japan

While travel is always engaging, opening the minds of young explorers, few places are as fascinating as Japan. In the capital of Tokyo, futuristic museums, robot-themed restaurants, and bullet trains stand seamlessly alongside ancient traditions like tea ceremonies. The city is also home to some of the best theme parks in the world – Joypolis and Tokyo Dome City included – with the likes of Tokyo Disneyland and DisneySea under an hour away from the city centre. Your kids will also love immersing themselves in cultural obsessions such as anime, manga, Hello Kitty, and Harajuku style. As for activities you all can enjoy as a family? A hands-on taiko drumming class, a walk through the Arashiyama Bamboo Grove, and a visit to the whimsical Ghibli Museum.

Stay: Hotel Gracery Shinjuku
See: The snowy faces of wild macaques bathing in hot springs at Jigokudani Monkey Park.
Do: Attend a Matsuri festival to indulge in street food and observe locals carrying huge, intricately decorated portable shrines.

Jordan

History, natural wonders, surreal landscapes – that is the appeal of Jordan in a nutshell. As for its famously hospitable people? Just the proverbial cherry on top. Located within a four-hour flight of Dubai, the capital of Amman will appeal to history buffs as it was once home to ancient Roman and Byzantine civilisations. The beautifully restored Roman Amphitheatre, for example, was built in the built in the 2nd century and used to hold 6,000 spectators during its heyday. Adventure-seeking families, meanwhile, can snorkel off the coast of the Red Sea and ride in the back of a 4×4 across Jordan’s seemingly endless desert. Above all, it’s the ancient Nabatean capital of Petra that’s carved from sandstone that makes this Arab country a real winner, especially if an easily accessible holiday is what you’re after.

Stay: Petra Bubble Luxotel
See: The Treasury – Petra’s most famous monument – late in the afternoon, when the whole facade is bathed in a reddish-pink glow from the walls all around.
Do: Float in the mineral-rich waters of the Dead Sea, the lowest place on Earth.

Kenya

A dream destination for any family with a safari on its bucket list, Kenya features an embarrassment of riches when it comes to incredible wildlife and natural beauty – but more on that in a second. This East African country has long been popular due to exhilarating offerings like hot air balloon rides over the Maasai Mara National Reserve and feeding and photographing a herd of Rothschild giraffes over breakfast at Giraffe Manor. They famously visit morning and evening, poking their long necks into the windows in the hope of a treat before retreating to their forest sanctuary. Still, going on safari is what brings people of all ages to Kenya, with older children in particular getting a thrill out of spotting lions, cheetahs, elephants, and zebras from a 4WD with a pop-top roof. It is the ultimate game of I-Spy, after all.

Stay: Baobab Beach Resort and Spa
See: The Great Rift Valley, a geological force that almost separated Africa into two, creating one of the most serene landscapes in the world.
Do: Plan your trip between July and October in order to witness the extraordinary spectacle of the Great Migration, an annual movement by millions of wildebeest.

Sri Lanka

Another easily accessible destination for residents of Dubai? The coastal city of Colombo, which happens to be pretty relaxed compared to most capital cities in Asia. The kids – regardless of their age – are bound to appreciate the many attractions of this teardrop-shaped island. Family-bonding on pristine beaches aside, you can feed orphaned elephants at Pinnawala Elephant Orphanage, climb Little Adam’s Peak in Ella, absorb the country’s colonial past in Galle, and dine on interesting local delicacies like string hoppers. Incidentally, mass tourism hasn’t returned to Sri Lanka since civil unrest and the pandemic overlapped, which means you can enjoy the island with fewer crowds. Bonus: it’s also a lot more affordable than some of the other recommendations in this list.

Stay: Living Heritage Koslanda
See: The world’s biggest concentration of leopards, sloth bears, sambars, jackals, peacocks, and crocodiles at Yala National Park.
Do: Take the iconic train journey from Kandy to Ella, viewing scenic hillsides and lush tea plantations along the way.

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Emirates Airline Festival of Literature returns in 2023 with old friends and homegrown talent

For the first time ever, this year’s festival will feature sessions in multiple regional languages.

Ebtisam Al-Beiti, a Dubai-based former nursery teacher, wrote her first book during lockdown in an outpour of creative energy. Published in 2021, Can I Go Out Now? debuted at the literature festival that year, and the first edition of the book was also part of the Ministry of Education’s Reading For Pleasure project.

This year, she’s back with another book for toddlers just learning to read: Citrus the Smoothie Sloth. Already in its second edition, it’s about a cheeky little sloth that likes to make smoothies from rainforest fruit. 

Over the last 15 years, the literature festival has been a firm fixture on Dubai’s social calendar and has matured into a developed platform for young and upcoming authors with its goal of creating a sustainable literary ecosystem for the UAE and the region.

“I think the festival is an amazing platform for upcoming authors, especially for [visitors and attendees] to see local talent as well,” Al-Beiti told Gaggler. “They get to experience meeting the authors, talking to the authors, specifically for my age group — which is much younger children aged four to six — it’s during these early years that it’s important for kids to interact with authors and to really encourage them to start reading and to develop a reading culture.”

Friendships Old and New

The theme for this year’s literature festival is “Old Friends,” a fitting commemoration of the festival’s 15th anniversary. “It’s a very special year for us,” shared Tamreez Inam, assistant festival director and head of programming. “So when we were thinking of the theme, we thought of ‘Old Friends’ as a way to honour the authors who have been to the festival before, many of whom are returning for the 15th anniversary. But of course, we have new authors and new friends as well.”

‘Old Friends’ is also a reference to a quote by Al Mutanabbi, Inam explained, where he said a book is an old friend — the only friend you’ll ever need. “So we’re playing on that as well for the theme.”

In a first for the festival, this edition will break new ground in a bid to expand its reach by holding sessions in regional languages apart from Arabic and English. “For the first time, we’re going to have sessions in Malayalam, Filipino, Italian, Urdu, and Hindi. We really want the festival to be a celebration of all the communities that live here in the UAE,” said Inam. “It’s going to be our largest festival ever.”

What to Expect 

The Emirates Airline Festival of Literature will be returning for its 15 anniversary from February 1-6, 2023, bringing together more than 250 writers and thinkers from over 50 countries in nearly 300 sessions spread out over six days. 

The festival kicks off with Desert Stanzas, a signature event and integral part of the festival consisting of a night of poetry and performances under the stars in the desert. “Then we just have a whole six days of all kinds of conversations: fiction, non-fiction, lots of children’s events, and something for everyone,” said Inam, who revealed she’s most looking forward to the special commemorations in honour of the 100th anniversary of the publication of The Prophet by acclaimed Lebanese author Kahlil Gibran, as well as his 140th birth anniversary.

As for Al-Beiti, she’s looking forward to attending all of the sessions for children. “I attended David Walliams’ [session] last year and I absolutely loved it; I think I laughed more than the children! So I will definitely be attending David Walliams’ again this year.”

As for UAE-based authors on her watchlist? “We’ve got Kathy Urban, who I’m very, very excited for, and of course the legendary Julia Johnson as well. Also looking forward to Beverly Jatwani.”

“I’m so excited that as much as we have international authors, we get to attend the local authors as well.”

The Emirates Airline Festival of Literature will hold author talks, workshops, special events and more at the Intercontinental in Festival City and the Mohammed Bin Rashid Library from February 1-6, 2023. Buy tickets here.

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Everything We’re Looking Forward to This Year

2023 will be a good one.

With Mercury in retrograde until January 18, the start of the new year brought with it technology breakdowns, communication issues, plans gone awry, and all-round chaos. But it’s not all bleak – between hotel launches, new restaurant openings, the return of beloved festivals, and a handful of big names headed to Dubai, there’s plenty to look forward to in the months ahead. Welcome to 2023. 

Hotels

Another year, another slew of staycation spots to consider. Dubai is set to welcome several new hotel properties in the coming months, but none will be quite as decadent as Atlantis The Royal. Expected to debut in March, the resort will feature 90 swimming pools, 17 restaurants, a day-to-night entertainment venue from Tao Hospitality, the largest jellyfish aquarium in the world, and more. Also opening soon and taking up residence on Palm Jumeirah? NH Collection Dubai The Palm. Incidentally, this 533-room hotel marks the first property by Spanish luxury brand NH Collection in the UAE.

Elsewhere, FIVE Hotels will launch a third property – FIVE LUXE – bringing its signature party atmosphere to JBR, while Kempinski will unveil a luxe floating hotel aptly named Kempinski Floating Palace off Jumeirah Beach Road. And if you’re curious about that architecturally striking building in Business Bay, we can reveal that come September, it will be home to The Lana. Designed by Gilles et Boissier, its interiors will reflect both the waters of Marasi Marina and elements of Emirati culture. As for a more affordable option with personality to spare? The always-hip Mama Shelter is scheduled to open later this year, giving tech-savvy millennials a new social hotspot in Business Bay.

Festivals

The sheer diversity of Dubai makes for a calendar packed with festivals catering to all manner of interests. With shopaholics catered to – the ongoing Dubai Shopping Festival will run until January 29 – the rest of you can mark your calendars, starting with Quoz Arts Fest from January 28 to 29. Themed ‘Shift Away’, the popular festival returns to Alserkal Avenue for two days of art, culture, markets, food trucks, workshops, and plenty of surprises. The upcoming tenth edition will be headlined by Syrian rapper Bu Kolthoum and Palestinian artist Saint Levant, both of whom will make their UAE debut.

The start of February will be all about celebrating storytelling as the Emirates Airline Festival of Literature returns its 15th edition, this year taking place at InterContinental Dubai Festival City and Mohammed Bin Rashid Library. On the roster? Comedian David Walliams, best-selling author Cecelia Ahern, Succession star Brian Cox, Indian politician Shashi Tharoor, and plenty more. Foodies, meanwhile, should make a beeline for Taste of Dubai. Taking over Dubai Media City Amphitheatre from February 3 to 5, this three-day event is popular for its bite-sized portions of beloved dishes from some of the city’s best restaurants alongside live music, appearances by some of the region’s best chefs, interactive masterclasses, and more.

High-brow entertainment comes courtesy of InClassica, a festival anchored in an engaging repertoire of classical music performed by talented musicians from around the world. Kicking off with a performance by the Çukurova State Symphony Orchestra, Massimiliano Caldi (conductor), and Fumiaki Miura (soloist), the event will be held from February 12 to March 10. The following month will immerse us right back into Dubai’s culinary scene as the Dubai Food Festival celebrates its 10th edition, which will take place April 28 to May 7. Expect offerings ranging from unique dining experiences and beach pop-ups to gastronomic set menus at affordable prices.

Heading off for the summer? You can look forward to the Dubai Home Festival upon your return. With incredible deals offered on furniture, homeware, and appliances across the city from October 13 to 27, an exciting home makeover awaits. A month later, you can dive into design through workshops, talks, and experimental mediums at the region’s largest creative festival, Dubai Design Week. Additionally, Downtown Design – the commercial centrepiece of this annual design festival – will be a certified zero carbon event.

Performances

Considering January alone entailed exclusive performances by Beyoncé and Tom Jones, we can assume the rest of the calendar will be packed with big names. Singer-songwriter Ashanti will be joined by Fat Joe and Ja Rule at Coca-Cola Arena on January 21, taking the stage to belt out R&B classics. The City Walk venue will also host Oscar-winning composer Hans Zimmer on both January 27 and 28, as well as Scottish musician Lewis Capaldi’s rescheduled concert on October 7.

Over at Dubai Opera, culture buffs can catch performances by legendary Egyptian pianist Omar Khairat on February 3, British electronica star Bonobo on March 11, and monk-turned-storyteller Jay Shetty on May 11. And if loud and cheery megamusicals are more your speed, you’ll want to book your spots for Shrek The Musical (February 22-26) and West Side Story (April 25-30) before tickets sell out.

Restaurants

Dubai’s dining scene evolves at a dizzying pace, now boasting a whopping 11 restaurants recognised by the Michelin Guide. Yet to meet the newcomers? Mott 32 (elevated Chinese cuisine), August (French-Mediterranean fare), and Sumosan (contemporary Japanese dishes) have just opened their doors, each debuting in January and adding something new to discover. As for what’s to come? Above Eleven will take over the rooftop of Marriott Resort Palm Jumeirah, serving Peruvian bites and colourful cocktails. Nearby, acclaimed Spanish chef Dani García will launch a one-of-a-kind steakhouse by the name of Leña – his first venture in the city of Dubai. Bebek, meanwhile, will add a playful spin to Turkish food in Jumeirah.

Pairing Mediterranean cuisine with the effortless glamour of a bygone era on Pearl Jumeirah, Bungalo34 will be the first beachside dining concept from Tashas Group (of Avli and Flamingo Room fame). Another new eatery by an already beloved talent? Hoe Lee Kow, described as “unconventional Korean BBQ” by chef Reif Othman. And if a global name from the world of gastronomy is what you’re seeking, Dinner by Heston Blumenthal at Atlantis The Royal is the one to beat. Incidentally, even Dubai’s new beach clubs will bear big names in 2023. Case in point: Nobu by the Beach, which will also take up residence at Atlantis The Royal. Other beachy spots set to debut in 2023? Ría (a new restaurant and beach bar at Club Vista Mare), Ayla (the latest addition to The Club at Palm West Beach), and Baoli (a swish import from the shores of Cannes).

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You, But Better: The Gaggler Agenda for January

Mark your calendars.

January 4: Usher in 2023

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 New Year Full Moon workshop at Illuminations comes in. Accenting a cacao ceremony with sound healing in time for the first full moon of 2023, the session will help enhance one’s well-being and communication with divinity.

Learn more here.

January 8: Reap the Rewards

According to the Chinese zodiac, 2023 will be the Year of the Rabbit, one in which past sacrifices will be rewarded generously. Celebrate your upcoming stroke of good luck at Dubai Opera, where traditional elements, national characteristics, and regional culture will be highlighted at the Chinese New Year gala.

Learn more here.

January 14: Follow the Light

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 pay tribute to the work of Italian pianist and composer Ludovico Einaudi at L’Alliance Française.

Learn more here.

January 21: Tap Your Toes

Theatre of Digital Art is an immersive art space that continues to diversify, hosting everything from perfume-making workshops to breathwork meditation sessions. We’re marking our calendars for What A Wonderful Jazz, an evening of  jazz starring Sher Oston and his orchestra of 22 world-class musicians who take jazz, opera and pop classics to the next level.

Learn more here.

January 22: Embrace Imperfections

Take a cue from the Japanese and give a new lease of life to something broken during the guided Kintsugi fusion workshop taking place at the upcoming UnleashYou Retreat. Combining creative arts with a coaching approach, this half-day event is designed to refresh from within and inspire creativity.

Learn more here.

January 26: Chant Along

Did you know 2023 opens the Emerald Gate and the year of 7? According to the experts at SEVA, it’s a powerful time to sit in our power and embody this mighty energy. Enter: the Chanting to Be in Our Power session. Led by Eda Gungor, it invites participants to chant along with the Ajai Alai mantra in order to activate higher chakras, bring us out of depression and anger, and dissolve the challenges in front of us.

Learn more here.

January 27: Crash the Party

Expand your culinary horizons at the Taste of Owambe supperclub hosted by Man like Mus. Inspired by Nigerian “Owambe” parties, this intimate dining experience introduces attendees to classic festive dishes (think: jollof rice with lamb chops, peppered beef and grilled plantain, and more) and illustrates why the food is the best part of every Owambe party.

Learn more here.

January 29: Join the Journey

Today’s your last chance to intensify the score at Sky Castle, which responds to crowd flow and fluctuations. Located in d3, this interactive installation features a cluster of inflatable arches that span in a colourful symphony across public space. The movement of visitors powers and progresses the soundscape, stimulating colour changes to evoke the joy that sunshine brings after every storm.

Learn more here.

January 30: Seek Support

With life abroad bringing with it plenty of hard truths, the new Expats in the UAE Support Group hosted by The LightHouse Arabia is a great tool to help anyone who is new to the UAE. Hosted on a monthly basis, these sessions will offer a safe and supportive space to discuss the joys, the challenges, and everything in between that can arise when living as an expatriate.

Learn more here.

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Welcome to the Best of Gaggler, 2022 Edition

Settle in for some quality reading time.

2022 is drawing to a close and, with it, ends another year of Gaggler sharing the expertise of astrologers, avid travellers, life coaches, health experts, wellness gurus, and more with women in the UAE – and beyond. Today, we’re looking back and taking stock of the past 12 months by rounding up some of our most memorable features when it comes to empowering women.

Laid out in chronological order, these articles represent the best of our magazine as a female-focused platform. As for the Gaggler woman? She is resilient and resourceful, empathetic yet deeply aware that you need to put on your own oxygen mask before attempting to help those around you. There are also a handful of special mentions, starting with a peek into our founder’s bag, which contains six must-haves from the online store we launched earlier this month. We also revisit two topics that warrant more attention in the year ahead: money management and sleep hygiene. Read on.

Keeping the Kids Motivated While Homeschooling

A kid studying on tablet

No parent will ever say that home schooling during the pandemic was anything other than incredibly tough. Technical challenges aside, ensuring children stay on-track with their studies and adding ‘teacher’ into the mix of roles didn’t make the lives of parents any easier. To help them navigate the return of remote learning earlier this year, we shared five key pointers on how to maintain a healthy home-schooling schedule.

Read the article here.

What an Accidental Dating Guru Wants Women to Know

Jon birger dating guru smiling

An award-winning business journalist, Jon Birger admitted to venturing into the self-help genre with a “snooty attitude” when he wrote his 2015 book Date-onomics, which analysed modern-day dating by crunching numbers. Having returned to the genre with his 2021 release Make Your Move, the author became more comfortable with advising single women worldwide, encouraging them to question the clichés that come with romance. To mark Valentine’s Day, we shared 10 takeaways from our conversation with this accidental dating guru.

Read the article here.

Let’s Delve into the Inner Workings of Board Membership

Career Out Of Board Membership

The basic structure of a board of directors varies depending on the needs of the organisation and any specialties within a specific industry, such as its regulatory environment. You can have boards as large as 30 members (non-profit boards) or as small as nine members (typical for a Russell 3000 company). We delved into the nuts and bolts of what you need to know about being on a board of directors and how to create one of your own.

Read the article here.

This Isn’t Your Typical Island Getaway

Beach chairs with umbrella

Not everyone is keen on the idea of long-haul travel. That’s understandable. And that’s where our travel guide to Bahrain came in – the only archipelago in the region, it’s only a mere 70-minute flight away. Between its UNESCO World Heritage Sites, trendy eateries, old-school souks, cultural institutions, and endless island-hopping opportunities, it’s also seriously underrated – especially if a quick getaway is all you can manage.

Read the article here.

A Men’s Coach on Encouraging Your Man to Open Up

tips for a men to open up

Men can seem like a bit of an enigma at times, appearing stoic, emotionless, carefree, and even indifferent. The keyword here is ‘appearing’. The truth is that they feel more than you think. Yes, a man wants to unburden his troubles, but the conditions need to be psychologically safe. Most men fear that their truth will hurt the person they want to be honest with, so they decide to say nothing. Enter: relationship coach Adil Hussain, who shared advice on how you can be the safe space for the man in your life.

Read the article here.

Why Women with Money Can Create a Better World

Financial Advice for Women

Much of the research around how and why women feel the way they do about money management isn’t surprising. According to statistics, 81% of women said they’ve personally been a victim of negative stereotypes – including about their investing abilities. In this article, we revealed what you can do to overcome fear or unconscious bias and feel more financially confident.

Read the article here.

Here’s How to Create an Inviting Living Room

living room with a wallpaper of leaves.

When you think of your lounge, do you think of a space to unwind and relax in, a meeting place where you can entertain friends and family, or a vibrant area where your children can play? Lounge rooms have many different functions, depending on the occupant’s needs, but they have one function in common – they should act as an inviting space where people want to spend their time. Our resident expert on all things interiors shared her tips on making your lounge reflect your needs.

Read the article here.

The 101 on Cohabiting in the UAE

A man and woman painting a wall

The UAE government recently announced amendments to a number of major personal and family laws, changing life for both current residents and those considering a move to our shores. Still confused about what exactly is and isn’t legal when it comes to cohabitation – arguably the most significant in these law changes – and the potential outcome for couples who have a child out of wedlock? You’ll find our conversation with a family law specialist illuminating.

Read the article here.

Making Amends: The Journey to Healing

Have you ever been anxious about a quarrel with a friend, sibling, or spouse? We’ve all been there. Guilt is a given, but your fury may overtake you and cause you to say things you don’t consciously mean. While you can’t take back what you’ve said after you’ve said it, you can tap into the insights of a mental health coach on how to fix things.

Read the article here.

Welcome to Sober October

Non alcoholic drinks Recipes

Non-alcoholic concoctions have soared in popularity across the globe in recent years, but arguably, they’re most favoured in the Middle East owing to cultural and religious factors. In honour of Sober October, we made a pitstop at Dubai’s first dry bar, NoLo, in search of easy recipes for you. The venue is anchored in creative zero-proof cocktails served in a dimly lit setting accented by lounge music and city views.

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Why Self-Care Is Crucial for Working Women

Self-Care for Women

The term ‘caregiver’ comes with an entourage of emotions and labels. The focus is always only on the person being taken care of, with associated emotions ranging from guilt to selflessness. By association, the word ‘care’ has come to take on the meaning of only being directed towards others – more so when you’re a woman, the ultimate caregiver. Here, we reminded our readers that caregiving begins with taking care of yourself, so you can recharge your batteries and share your best with others.

Read the article here.

6 Tips to Make Moving Day Less Stressful

writing a to-do list

Living in the UAE usually means one thing for all of us: we need to move home at least twice while living here. And while moving homes is considered as one of the most stressful events in one’s life, there are steps you can take to make the process smoother. It all depends on how well you organise your house move before, during, and after the move itself. Here, we shared six expert tips to get you started. 

Read the article here.

Special Mentions

Monica Malhotra: What’s in My Bag

Always trying to do more and constantly on the go – in today’s world, being a working woman is no simple task. One woman who fits this description is Monica Malhotra, the CEO of Gaggler. We had a chance to peek into her handbag, discovering her everyday essentials and discussing the importance of self-care in the life of a female entrepreneur.

Read the article here.

Stressed About Money? Consider This

Calculator coins money book with pen

Have you ever felt lost, overwhelmed, or inadequate when it comes to money and wealth? Have you ever felt others were born with a financial playbook that you never got? People often feel shame, anxiety, and feelings of inadequacy because they can’t budget, have debt, or don’t know how to make an investment – but no one was born knowing how to earn and best utilise money. And that’s where the advice of a finance coach comes in.

Read the article here.

Over 40? It’s Time to Revisit Sleep Management

Sleep Management Tips for Over 40s

Sleeping peacefully or counting sheep? Any age can experience sleepless nights and insomnia, and often, this can be traced back to external life stressors like work, personal issues, or illness. Unfortunately, around the age of 40, we have another equation to factor in: menopause. To that end, we tapped a menopause wellness specialist on how to get better shut-eye in your 40s.

Read the article here.

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5 Travel Trends That Will Dominate 2023

Where we’ll go and why.

Optimism is the name of the game when it comes to travel in 2023. After a few years of overwhelming uncertainty and instability, travel is set to make a triumphant return, making travellers bolder than ever before. And nothing will be off limits – while some of us will go off the grid in the name of adventure, others will return to old favourites in search of that warm and fuzzy feeling. Elsewhere, evolving technology will make us more savvy planners. Let’s dive in.

Off-Grid Getaways

Following the path less travelled, burnt-out city dwellers will escape reality by going back to the basics on their trips in 2023 – think: staying in cabins, learning survival skills, and dining on campfire cuisine. Chalk it up the upheaval of recent years that saw political unrest and natural disasters accent the global pandemic.

Planning Ahead

Speaking of which – remember when you were terrified to make travel plans in light of flight bans and border closures? Well, those days are behind us. Travellers will (finally) feel comfortable with locking in trips ahead of time as opposed to waiting until the eleventh hour. Translation: book ahead if a particularly popular destination is on your bucket list.

Nostalgia Tourism

After a couple of years in isolation, family reunions and multigenerational trips will also trend in 2023. Travellers – especially millennials – will seek a feeling of familiarity, returning to destinations that they know and love. Heavy on the feel-good factor, simpler trips rooted in railway rides or seaside R&R will also be popular.

Virtual Voyages

‘Try before you buy’ will influence our holiday choices in the year ahead as technology allows us to experiment with different travel experiences, courtesy of the Metaverse’s ever-evolving 3D virtual space. That’s right – your online avatar will be able to visit a destination before you do, perfect for those anxious about the unknown when it comes to travel.

Revenge Travel

A self-explanatory term that began to dominate the travel industry in 2022, revenge travel will continue to trend in 2023. With the pandemic causing havoc on people’s vacations, revenge travel refers to ‘taking revenge’ on coronavirus, with travellers fervently making up for lost time by booking their dream trips – rising inflation be damned.

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New years evening in Dubai

8 Ways to Celebrate New Year’s Eve in Dubai

Let the countdown to 2023 begin!

If there’s one place to be during New Year’s Eve, it’s definitely Dubai – the city has mastered the art of ringing in a new year. And with numerous ways to celebrate the coming of 2023, it can be a little tough to settle on only one. Enter: this round-up of the best in town.

Lotus Mega Yacht

This luxurious boat will take you on a journey past famous Dubai sights like the Burj Al Arab, Bluewaters Island, and Atlantis, The Palm as you cruise in style. Enjoy live cooking stations while you soak up city skyline views, or enjoy some fun in the sun at the onboard swimming pool with your friends and family. Various entertainment decks feature live music and dancing, perfect for getting into the NYE spirit!

Lotus Mega Yacht, Berth L, Dubai Marina, lotusyatch.com, 054 581 5288

New years evening,  Lotus Mega Yacht

The Penthouse

Say goodbye to 2023 at one of Dubai’s most beloved rooftop lounges, The Penthouse. This hotspot will be hosting a night of festivities on December 31 with contemporary Japanese food, live music, and entertainment by local DJs. You’ll enjoy delectable cuisine while watching fireworks over the marina at midnight, so make sure you book your table early. 

The Penthouse, FIVE Palm Jumeirah Hotel, thepenthouse.co, 052 900 4868

Penthouse

CE LA VI

This 54-floor restaurant in Downtown Dubai is another great place to ring in the new year, courtesy of incredible views of Burj Khalifa and delectable Asian-inspired cuisine. Bonus: a special guest star or two is expected to drop by! CE LA VI offers a wide selection of à la carte dishes, so you can tailor your meal to your liking. Celebrating with several friends? Ask about the special packages for groups.

CE LA VI, Tower 2 – Level 54, Address Sky View Hotel, celavi.com, 04 582 6111

Roof top dining

Dubai Opera

Ready to ring in the New Year with a little class? Dubai Opera has got you covered. With a stellar line-up of bands, DJs, and performers playing live all night, this will be one of the best NYE parties in Dubai. Meanwhile, a gourmet dinner with canapés, starters, main courses, and desserts will be served.

Dubai Opera, Downtown Dubai, dubaiopera.com, 04 440 8888

Opera house

A Cappella

The NYE bash at this one is going to be one for the books. DJs Alban and Ron will be spinning live sets while you dance, enjoy a delicious meal, and take in the best view of the fireworks display at Atlantis. Whether you’re looking to relax with close friends or dance with a crowd of strangers, this year-end party promises to be unforgettable.

A Cappella, The Palm Fountain, acapelladxb.com, 058 971 9542

bar

Nikki Beach Dubai

Shake off your resolutions and dance until you drop at Nikki Beach Dubai. This one-of-a-kind venue has everything you need to have a night to remember: great food, fantastic music and drinks, and some of the best views of fireworks over the city skyline. Here, performers will include Dutch DJ Bakermat, who’s famed for his tropical house and techno beats.

Nikki Beach Dubai, Pearl Jumeirah, dubai.nikkibeach.com, 04 376 6000

Nikki Beach Dubai

Lucia’s

Want to ring in 2023 on a musical note? Then consider Lucia’s at Address Sky View. The Italian cuisine here makes it one of the most popular restaurants in the city. As for December 31? Lucia’s is taking things to a new level with an outstanding celebration that will feature popular jazz combo Bandakadabra, saxophone sensation Anastasia McQueen, and Italian musician Mr. T-Bone. 

Lucia’s, Sky View, luciasdubai.com, 04 422 4321

Lucia’s

Sal

Usher in the new year with a bang by spending it at Burj Al Arab. This iconic hotel’s open-air afterparty will take off at midnight and continue late into the night. There’s a minimum spend of AED 5,000 per person, but you’ll get access to amazing food, plenty of drink options, and live entertainment to fuel you all night long.

Sal, Ground Mezzanine Floor, Burj Al Arab, jumeirah.com, 800 032 3232

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Where to Celebrate UAE National Day in Dubai

Let the festivities begin.

In Dubai for the long weekend and unsure how to spend it? Check out the best spots to view the spectacular fireworks planned to celebrate the UAE’s 51st National Day. The festivities will run from December 2 to 11 and include way more than just fancy firecrackers – most venues also feature kid-friendly entertainment, shopping, dining outlets, and cultural activities such as henna-painting, camel rides, and traditional dances. Read on and start planning.

fireworks at al seef dubai creek

Al Seef

Head down to the creek on December 2 to take in the air and enjoy fireworks with an iconic view in the midst of Old Dubai’s mix of traditional and contemporary architecture. The family-friendly festivities will start from 4pm onwards, with a parade expected at 7pm. And at 8pm, the sky will light up in the UAE flag’s colours in the city’s historic district. Don’t forget to check out the waterside shops and eateries while you’re around.

Al Seef, Dubai Creek, alseef.ae/en

the pointe dubai palm jumeirah fireworks

The Pointe

The Pointe on Palm Jumeirah will host an array of activities throughout the day at the event plaza – perfect for anyone headed there with kids – topped off with a spectacular National Day fireworks and dancing fountain show that can be seen from any of the fountain-facing restaurants at 9pm on December 2.

The Pointe, Al Mirziban, Palm Jumeirah www.thepointe.ae/en

bluewaters ain dubai fireworks

Bluewaters Island and The Beach

These two popular beachfront destinations – both opposite JBR – will provide spectacular waterfront and Palm Jumeirah views for the upcoming fireworks at 8pm on December 2. The fun starts at 5pm, so get there early to secure a good spot and enjoy the multitude of food and shopping options in the vicinity.

Bluewaters Island, bluewatersdubai.ae/en/ and The Beach, opposite JBR, www.thebeach.ae/en/

dubai festival city fireworks

Dubai Festival City

Catch a concert by Emirati singer Fayez Al Saeed at 8pm, followed by a spectacularly choreographed show that brings together lasers and light alongside fire and water elements at 9pm, ending the night with a set by DJ Bliss at 9:15pm. The celebrations will continue over the weekend.

Festival City Mall, Dubai Festival City, www.dubaifestivalcitymall.com/home/

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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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