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Places to Spend Friday Afternoons In Dubai

This Is Your Friday Afternoons, Sorted

All hail the 4.5-day work week.

Announcements made earlier in the year came as a surprise to many: UAE made the big shift into a 4.5-day work week, with Friday afternoon, Saturdays, and Sundays as the new weekends. Looking to make the most out of these changes? Take your family and friends to these five Dubai destinations we’ve handpicked just for you. 

The Scene

There’s truly nothing like brunch on a Friday. The Scene is one of Dubai’s most loved family-friendly brunch spots that offers a little bit of everything the parents and kids will love. Located at the heart of Dubai Marina, this quaint Pier 7 restaurant is headed by British TV personality Simon Rimmer. The menu consists of the perfect blend of traditional and contemporary dishes from the UK. In addition, the adults can choose a drink from its extensive beverage menu and pair it up with the restaurant’s classic pub bites. Insider tip: don’t miss out on the pan-fried salmon and rigatoni!

The Scene, Level 4, Pier 7, Dubai Marina, 04 422 2328, [email protected]

Museum of the Future

Keen on doing something a little more laidback but different? Take yourself on a journey to the year 2071 at Museum of the Future. Unveiled earlier this year, the museum gives its visitors a look into the world years into the future. It features seven storeys of surreal walkthrough experiences that showcase new architecture, technology, and other innovations. Aside from its astounding displays, the structure in itself is also a visual marvel. Each and every element of its architecture serves as a representation of different things: the circular shape pertaining to humanity, the greenery as the earth, while the void symbolises the future.

Museum of the Future, Trade Centre 2, Sheikh Zayed Road, 800 2071, www.museumofthefuture.ae

Arabian Tea House

Bearing the prestigious honour of being the first authentic Emirati restaurant since 1997, Arabian Tea House continues to serve its patrons a unique and wonderful dining experience. Situated in the Al Fahidi Historical Neighbourhood, this iconic spot in the city transports its guests into the past with its vibrant interior design, traditional Arabic drinks, and picturesque views of both historical and modern buildings. Make the most out of your visit and order the chef’s personal favourites: karak tea, khabisah, and the dates cake. 

Arabian Tea House, Al Fahidi St., Bur Dubai, Dubai, 04 353 5071, [email protected]

Arabian Tea House, Al Fahidi St., Bur Dubai

Source: www.arabianteahouse.com


Start your weekend right with your special someone by taking them to one of the most romantic restaurants in Dubai. Thiptara offers a classy and intimate space perfect for a lovely night with the beau. Feast your eyes on the gorgeous front row view of the Burj Khalifa and dancing fountain while you’re treated to traditional Thai cuisine that’s highlighted by a scrumptious Bangkok-style seafood spread. 

Thiptara, Ground Level, Palace Downtown, Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid Blvd, 04 428 7961, https://www.addresshotels.com

88 Terrace

Unwind the best way possible this weekend at 88 Terrace. This new Dubai lounge sitting atop the largest rooftop in the city takes nightlife to a whole new level. The up-and-coming exclusive terrace restaurant will overwhelm the senses with its eclectic mix of Mediterranean-Spanish delights. The posh futuristic interiors and scenic views of the Dubai horizon, meanwhile, add to its charm, truly making it a destination not to be missed on your next bar crawl.

88 Terrace, No. EB1, Entrance 8, Bluewaters Island, 056 881 6888, [email protected]


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car mechanic garage in Dubai

Car Trouble? These are the Top 10 Car Garages in Dubai

Let us lead the way.

While purchasing a car is simple, maintaining one is not. To extend the life of your vehicles, you must have regular maintenance performed on them. Each of us desires the highest quality services for our cars in order to prevent frequent breakdowns. Finding reliable auto repair shops that will treat our cars like their own, at a reasonable cost, is also rather difficult. 

According to a recent survey, one car is owned by every two persons in Dubai, or 50% of the population. Even though there are plenty of public transportation options available, most in the UAE prefer to use their own cars. And owning your own car is undoubtedly convenient if you keep it in good condition. To prevent major issues, regular maintenance is necessary for automobiles. As the number of cars rises, so do the number of auto repair shops in Dubai.

Both the cost and quality of service must be taken into account when selecting an auto repair centre. In addition, narrowing down a single service provider to handle all of your car’s needs is also a hassle. After conducting thorough research, we’ve compiled a list of the top 10 car garages in Dubai that would be able to provide all required services and have the greatest teams of qualified specialists.

UNIQ Auto Spa

UNIQ Auto Spa, Best Car Garage In Dubai

UNIQ Auto Spa

UNIQ Auto Spa is a leading car mechanic garage in Dubai, offering a highly equipped team of mechanics and technicians who take pride in delivering excellent services using cutting edge tools and technologies. They provide mechanical, body repair, car wrapping, ac service and repair, as well as the finest automotive polishing and detailing service. In addition, they deliver numerous other services with unrivaled workmanship, such as leather repairing and restoration, automotive repainting, sticky button cleaning & refurbishment, Gtechniq ceramic coating, and paint protection film installation. At Uniq Auto Spa, they believe that only the best will do for your car, offering total auto maintenance and repairs for all brands and models that are available in the region.

No matter what brand or model your automobile is, they are committed to going above and beyond to give you the best car care service. They provide all auto-related services under one roof. Their specialty lies in care, maintenance, and protection. With a team of more than 30 members, from mechanics to artists, and years of experience in the industry, you are guaranteed to receive service that is worth your money!

UNIQ Auto Spa, Warehouse #4, Galadari Complex – behind Gold & Diamond Park – Al Quoz Industrial Area 3 – Dubai,  (054) 797-9680, uniqautospa.com


Carcility is a well-known facility for automobile services in Dubai. They are committed to provide their clients a hassle-free service at a reasonable cost. You can take your automobile there for servicing, rapid repair, parts recovery, and car washing all in one place. You can choose your car servicing hours with Carcility by making an online appointment in advance.

Carcility, Technohub 1,2 Dubai Silicon Oasis, 056 216 9004, caricility.com

Radiant Car

Radiant Car is another excellent location in Dubai for car recovery services. Since its founding in 1998, it has been loyally offering specialist repair and maintenance services to all of its clients. Radiant Car is renowned throughout Dubai for its best professional conduct and skilled, experienced experts that use specialised tools to repair your car. They offer a wide range of services, including denting and painting as well as repair and maintenance, transmission repair, electric and diagnosis, air conditioning, and services for your car’s spare components.

Radiant Car, Umm Ramool Road, Al Rashidiya, 050 656 3664, [email protected], radiantcar.com 

ZONE Auto Care

Since the last 40 years, Zone Auto Care has been offering its services in Dubai. It offers every type of service your car needs, from accident repairs to car detailing. This vehicle garage in Dubai is famed for its committed clientele and reasonable costs. It has branches in Sharjah, Dubai, and the Al Quoz Industrial Area.

ZONE Auto Care, Plot No. 7-12, Opp. Emirates Driving School، Al Quoz Industrial Area 3, 04 340 9820, [email protected], zoneautocare.com

Service My Car

The Service My Car centre is one of the best auto repair facilities in Dubai. The company was founded in 2019 and has since been offering its devoted consumers 24/7 authorised services. You only need to contact Service My Car if your vehicle requires annual maintenance, repairs, design work, or any other ancillary services. They will pick up your vehicle from your home, take care of the required work, and then return it to your door. They give various offers on all of your services at regular intervals.

Service My Car, Al Moosa Tower 2 – 1402-1403 – Sheikh Zayed Road, 800 266 5464, [email protected], servicemycar.com

Premier Car Care

Premier Car Care can be your next stop if you’re worried about enhancing the performance or appearance of your vehicle. They provide Dubai residents exceptionally high-quality care services that also boost performance. Premier Car Care offers a variety of denting and window-tinting services in addition to repair, maintenance, and air conditioning services. It also offers a number of environmentally friendly packages that can be used to swiftly and affordably customise and update your vehicle.

Premier Car Care, Workshop No. 3, St No. 10 Al Quoz Industrial Area 3, 04 339 4770, [email protected]premier-carcare.com

Z Degree

Z Degree is most popular for their tire replacement service. In addition, it offers services outside of their garage. They will come to you with all the necessary equipment once you simply phone them. The best part of having your automobile fixed in Z Degree is that you may switch your payments to low-rate easy installments options. Along with offering car maintenance services, they also sell high-quality tires that can be ordered online and fitted wherever you like. In Dubai alone, they operate at six branches.

Z degree, 4th Street – Al Quoz – Al Quoz Industrial Area 4, 800 933 4733, myzdegree.com

Open Bonnet

For more than 70 years, Open Bonnet has offered maintenance and garage services, earning the trust of its patrons. This shop offers a variety of repair services, battery support services, automobile inspection wash services, and air conditioning services. Additionally, Open Bonnet offers high-quality tires and other essential automotive accessories. Open Bonnet features a well-performing, round-the-clock hotline system. It is highly renowned for its fleet servicing solution, at-home services, and pre-purchase inspections that help you connect with your drivers, employees, and other relevant information.

Open Bonnet, DTEC – Dubai Silicon Oasis, 058 951 2500, [email protected], openbonnet.com

GT Auto Centre

One of the top garages in Dubai is GT Auto Centre. It offers different types of services, such as automobile detailing, body work, paint, dent removal, accident repair, refinishing, and car washing, among others. On request, it also offers a pre-service value so that the consumer can budget for his service fees ahead of time. The majority of insurance companies advise their clients to visit GT Auto Centre.

GT Auto Centre, Near The Garden Centre – Street 17A – Sheikh Zayed Rd – Al Quoz Industrial Area 3, 04 323 7106, [email protected], gtautocentre.com


QuCars is a leading automotive repair and service facility for both small and large-scale automotive demands. It is situated in the heart of Dubai, and is a division of Golden Workshop, which was founded in 1980. They are well-known for providing services like insurance repairs, collision repairs, paint refinishing, and mechanical and electrical diagnosis. They are one of the experienced and trustworthy experts and service providers for auto maintenance. Their team of highly skilled professionals are equipped for maintaining commercial vehicles including vans, buses, trucks, bikes, etc.

QuCars, Al Asayel St – Al Quoz – Al Quoz Industrial Area 4, 04 220 9800, [email protected], qucarsauto.com


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Travel Guide to Kathmandu

Making a Case for Nepal’s Chaotic Capital

Yes, Kathmandu belongs on your bucket list.

Something’s not right. Because Nepal is home to some of the world’s most spectacular treks, Kathmandu is perceived as merely a gateway to the dramatic landscapes of Everest Base Camp, Annapurna Sanctuary, Manaslu Circuit, and more. The Nepalese capital is where hikers purchase camping gear, board domestic flights to Lukla and Pokhara, and tend to their aching muscles with cheap massages and even cheaper dal bhat platters post-trek. As for those who hate hiking? The city never even makes an appearance on their bucket list.

What happens in this process, however, is a lost opportunity to discover the UNESCO-listed sites of Kathmandu Valley, temples dating back to the third century, elaborate thangka art, and a perpetual showcase of human resilience. Following the 7.8 magnitude earthquake back in 2015, Nepal has continued its reconstruction efforts – even amidst the pandemic – vowing to provide a roof over the country’s most vulnerable residents. And the ultimate address to escape the chaos of Kathmandu come dusk? Dwarika’s Hotel.

A Visit to Kathmandu

Sleeping In

Kathmandu isn’t quite where you would go to ‘get away from it all’. Noisy, polluted, and overpopulated, it is a city that’s more catered to travelers than tourists. And then there’s the traffic – that notoriously nasty traffic. Luckily, the public spaces at Dwarika’s promise respite. While the guest rooms are spacious, it’s the wide and atmospheric courtyards that offer the best vantage point to admire the architectural grandeur of days gone by. Accenting the palatial cluster of traditional red-brick buildings are sunken fountains, lush pomelo and persimmon trees, and a light scattering of religious shrines. Arguably the most striking detail can be found at the outdoor swimming pool that’s inspired by 12th century Malla Dynasty baths: water gushing out of stone spouts depicting mythical creatures.

Incidentally, Dwarika’s is the brainchild of the late Dwarika Das Shrestha, who was determined to collect, protect, and replicate the intricately engraved wooden structures that were being desecrated in favor of more modern versions, starting with a pillar that was cast aside to be used as firewood. Today, the family-owned property boasts an astounding collection of artefacts from the 13th century onwards, with beautifully carved doors, pillars, and window frames at every turn – all exhibiting the very best of Kathmandu Valley’s craftsmanship. But don’t let this emphasis on heritage fool you. While the founder’s vision is reflected in each of the 83 rooms and suites, they all feature creature comforts like air conditioning and a well-stocked minibar.


Stepping Out

Admittedly, Dwarika’s Hotel is much closer to the airport than the city center, but you’ll appreciate its location when it’s time to wake up at 5am for what can only be described as a truly awe-inspiring day. Several local airlines (like Buddha Air and Yeti Airlines) run hour-long mountain flights on a daily basis, providing passengers a front-row seat to the breathtaking, snow-capped mountains of the Himalayas – Mount Everest included. This one’s a must-do, hands down.

Closer to sea level, two major attractions are easily accessible from the hotel, starting with Pashupatinath Temple. Arguably the most famous religious site in all of Nepal, this Hindu temple complex is only an 11-minute walk away from Dwarika’s and the definition of sensory overload. Amidst this riot of colors, sounds, and smells is an opportunity to observe cremation ceremonies, devotees bathing in the sacred Bagmati River, and dreadlocked sadhus dressed in canary yellow and eager to pose for photos in exchange for a few hundred rupees. As stray dogs vie for a spot in the shade and monkeys scamper from temple to temple, we suggest you silently vow to embrace this country and its people wholeheartedly, curious stares and all.

In stark contrast to this parade of human and animal activity at Pashupatinath is the nearby Boudhanath, one of the largest stupas worldwide. Here, Buddhist monks silently walk clockwise around its base, prayer flags of all colors flutter in the wind, and pilgrims spin the many cylindrical prayer wheels that contain scrolls of Buddhist mantras. Like the rhythmic activities that humans turn to in times of stress, the repetitive nature of this environment feels relaxing, meditative almost.

Best Things to Do in Kathmandu

But that’s Nepal for you – full of unexpected surprises that have nothing to do with mountaintops. Case in point: the yak cheese by Himalayan French Cheese that you can sample at the weekly farmers’ market hosted by Le Sherpa restaurant. Another unexpected discovery? The aptly named Garden of Dreams. Because Kathmandu can be as frustrating as it is fascinating, you’ll be in dire need of some peace and quiet after a few hours of exploration. And with its ponds, pergolas, and amphitheater, this neoclassical garden guarantees just that.

Those in search of the city’s creative spirit, meanwhile, can distance themselves from the smog, noise, and impatient motorcyclists at Baber Mahal Revisited. Built in 1910 and once belonging to the Rana dynasty that ruled Nepal from 1846 to 1951, this complex houses the likes of Siddhartha Art Gallery (the city’s first contemporary art gallery) and Chez Caroline (beloved for its weekend brunches). Bonus: it’s nowhere near the hectic tourist hub of Thamel.

Also in the vicinity awaits Raithaane, a restaurant that comes highly recommended by Pauline Driard, founder of Pauline’s Rooftop Bar and an expat who has lived in Nepal since 2009. “Taking diners on a culinary journey through ethnic Nepali cuisines, this tiny joint is hidden in the courtyard of a traditional Newar house and rediscovers the ancestral ingredients that modern-day Nepalis have forgotten,” she says. “Just thinking about the buckwheat fries and rikikur potato pancakes served with yak butter and spring onion achaar – a delicious spicy sauce that accompanies everything here – makes me want to drool.”


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veterinary clinic dubai

10 Top Veterinary Clinics in Dubai

Only the best for our furry friends.

Whether it’s vaccinations, annual exams, or one of those uh-oh moments when you need to see a vet ASAP, you’ll want to choose one who offers the best possible services. However, there are many options of vet clinics in Dubai – that’s why it can be hard to decide which one is best for your needs. We put together a list of the top veterinary practices around the city.

Modern Vet

modern vet, best veterinary clinic in Dubai

Founded in 1995, Modern Vet is one of the longest standing veterinary practices in the country. Modern Vet Hospital is the only multi-specialty, referral, 24-hour emergency veterinary hospital in Dubai with departments in Cardiology, Neurology, Orthopedics, and Soft Tissue. It also offers grooming and vet physiotherapy with the most sought-after vet physiotherapist in the UAE and has been featured in the media for several groundbreaking accomplishments. In 2021, Modern Vet was the brand behind two pioneering surgeries: a PDA heart surgery on a Pomeranian puppy and an advanced PRAA surgery on a 900-gram kitten. In both cases, the animals would not have survived without treatment. In May of 2021, a completely paralysed cat regained her ability to walk again by following the treatment plan created by Modern Vet’s Physiotherapist.

Modern Vet’s Downtown location is unique in its design by and of itself, with high-friction tiles so pets don’t slip and consultation tables that give clients the capacity to remain close to their pets during examinations and simple procedures. Planned with pets and humans in mind, the clinic is cosy, friendly, and very ‘sniffable’. They balance out their curated interior with a strong emphasis on technology and the latest in medical equipment. The goal? To improve the veterinary team, pet, and client experience in Dubai. 

The most spacious Modern Vet Clinic can be found in JVC. The 200-square-metre practice is a full-service clinic offering everything from routine check-ups, spays, and neuters to more complicated orthopedic and soft tissue surgeries. The team has over 275 years of combined expertise within the practice of veterinary medicine and is proud to have the most international team of veterinarians, nurses, and support staff in the country, so no matter where you may be from, you will find someone at Modern Vet who will understand your pet’s needs.

Modern Vet Clinic JLT is small, warm, and charming. The clinic exudes an intimate vibe, but most importantly, pets are allowed on the couch – which must be why they love it here! Clients are encouraged to relax and get comfortable so that all patients feel like they never left home. Another extra accent that makes Modern Vet JLT feel like home is the beverage station in the lobby stocked with tea and coffee for pet parents, and a “muzzle-level” treat bar for the pups, where they can pick out a snack after their visit.

Modern Vet, www.modernvet.com, Villa 795, Al Wasl Road, Umm Suqeim 1, [email protected], Fortune Tower, Cluster C, JLT, [email protected], Platinum Residences, JVC, [email protected], South Ridge Tower, Downtown Dubai, [email protected], 800 82

City Vet

City Vet has been performing quality basic veterinary services since 2012. It offers surgical and anesthetic services available to aid with surgeries, including emergency services. Their focus is mainly on dental health, neutering services, and routine check-ups. City Vet has locations on Al Wasl Road, in Mirdif, JVT, Al Ain, Abu Dhabi, Al Barsha, and Meydan. City Vet also houses an equine clinic located in Al Qudra.

City Vet, Villa 881, Al Wasl Road, Al Safa 2, 800 3990, [email protected]

Energetic Panacea Veterinary Clinic

Energetic Panacea Pet Clinic was established over 10 years ago, originally opening its doors as one of the first holistic veterinary practices in Dubai. Over time, they expanded into performing traditional veterinary services such as spays, neuters, and diagnostic procedures. This veterinary clinic is also one of the few in Dubai that offers a hydrotherapy pool for dogs needing an extra push when it comes to physiotherapy.

Energetic Panacea Veterinary Clinic, Villa 444, Jumeirah 2, Al Wasl Road , 04 344 7812, [email protected]

Zabeel Veterinary Hospital

Zabeel Veterinary Hospital is one of the few vet clinics in the country with the latest in diagnostic imaging such as MRI and CT. Their rooms are fully operational to house and work on most surgeries. Zabeel Veterinary Hospital is equipped to treat all kinds of animals including large, small, domestic, or wild animals.

Zabeel Veterinary Hospital, Z’abeel 2, near Sheikh Zayed Road, 04 334 0011, [email protected]

Petzone Veterinary Clinic

Petzone came into our lives in 2009 and has achieved recognition from the community. It is a family-run clinic that treats domestic animals for the most part. Petzone is committed to the welfare of all animals and their services include dental hygiene, dermatology, radiology, ultrasounds, and basic surgeries. They also boast a huge retail section that you can check out while waiting for your turn.

Petzone Veterinary Clinic, Al Thouraya Building, Showroom # 2Al Wasl, Sheikh Zayed Road, 04 346 7870, [email protected]

Pet Connection

One of the many perks of Pet Connection is the huge parking facility at the front end of the practice. Pet connection treats both exotic as well as domestic animals. Although it is not one of the older practices in Dubai, it does boast three consultation rooms, surgery, and recovery rooms, and an on-site laboratory. 

Pet Connection, Al Barsha 1 SummerLand Building, 04 447 5307, [email protected]

Al Barsha Vet Clinic

Al Barsha Vet Clinic provides pet medical and sanitary services, its expert caregivers assuring your pet’s comfort. The clinic constantly encourages staff to learn new treatments for you and your pets, treating dogs, cats, rabbits, guinea pigs, and more.

Al Barsha Vet Clinic, Al Barsha 1, 04 340 8601, [email protected]

Pawsite Veterinary Clinic

Pawsitive Veterinary Clinic is a veterinary-owned and led clinic with state-of-the-art facilities, and offers 24-hour emergency veterinary care. The company offers a broad range of mainly small animal veterinary services – including both routine and advanced surgery – to meet all of a pet’s health and well-being needs (from microchipping and neutering to more complicated surgeries and leading-edge diagnostic technology).

Pawsite Veterinary Clinic, IT PLAZA, Dubai Silicon Oasis, 04 255 9497, [email protected]


British owned and managed, 2Feet4Paws opened its doors in Dubailand in 2015. It can provide you and your pet the full range of veterinary services for every stage of their life, from first-time vaccinations and early health checks to a lifetime of preventive care to keep them happy and healthy as long as possible.

Shop 1, Durar Building, Wadi Al Safa 5, 04 552 0213, [email protected]

Vienna Vet

With state-of-the-art equipment and a full in-house laboratory, Vienna Vet offers a wide range of services from routine vaccinations and neutering to sophisticated medical treatments, dermatology, dentistry, oncology, and geriatric care. The surgeons here perform soft tissue orthopedic surgeries, too.

Villa 55 Al Thanya St, Umm Suqeim, 04 330 8555 , [email protected]


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A Guide To Sustainable Homes

Welcome to Sustainable Homes 101 

Start by mastering these basics.

I’m sure you’ve heard of sustainable design, but do you know what it really means and how to achieve it in your space? There are many different aspects to consider when designing a sustainable interior, but once you nail these, you will have achieved an interior that’s healthier all around for you, your family, and the environment!

Sustainable Design

Sustainable design is essentially the inclusion of natural or untreated materials (think: bamboo, reclaimed bricks and woods, and organic fabrics such as cotton, linen, wool etc), along with the selection of furniture and finishes that have been manufactured by using sustainable practices. This includes taking into account the impact the manufacturing process has had on the environment and the lifespan of the product(s).

Why It Is Important

This approach inspires a wellness-based home design by improving indoor air quality and ensuring fewer emissions of VOCs (volatile organic compounds) in the interior space which will lead to a holistically healthier space, aiding in improving the mental and physical health of the occupant. Harmful VOCs such as carbon dioxide and carcinogen formaldehyde are commonly found in finishes, furniture, and cabinetry.

Prolonged exposure to these harmful chemicals may result in many negative health issues, such as cardiovascular and gastrointestinal problems, along with degrading cognitive performance (poor memory, concentration, etc). That is why it is so important to cleanse the air from these toxic chemicals and avoid the emission of their fumes in your home wherever possible. By creating a sustainable interior, you are not only improving your own health, but also contributing to a positive, long-term environmental impact by reducing waste – essentially lowering your own carbon footprint.

Cleanse the Air

Clean air is arguably one of the most important aspects of good health. Harmful toxins are frequently found in the home due to certain furniture and the use of household appliances such as gas ovens, heating, poor ventilation (exterior air entering and unable to escape), and household chemicals.  Breathing in these fumes will cause headaches, fatigue, and eye irritation – to name a few symptoms – and so it’s important to rid the home of these toxins as efficiently as possible.

Plants are commonly praised for their ability to cleanse the air. Whilst this is true, certain plants are more effective at removing toxins than others. Plants such as peace lilies, devil’s ivy, and rubber plants do a great job of purifying the air and also enhance wellbeing-inspired interior by calming the mind due to the presence of nature. Materials such as cork can also help with toxin abortion by actively drawing the VOCs into fibres to wilt away instead of allowing them to freely flow in the air. Some useful tips to improve indoor air quality include:

1. Keep the air moving.  

Ventilate the home as much as possible. Open doors and windows regularly, and let mother nature help blow out those harmful toxins, especially when cooking or cleaning.

2. Avoid including products in your home that are known to have a high VOC count.

This includes things such as furniture made by using particle board. The manufacturing of these types of products can be made using formaldehyde, which is highly toxic.

3. Avoid using harsh chemicals in the home.  

Although chemicals such as bleach and ammonia are included in many products and commonly used in cleaning, the strong fumes they omit will linger in the air for a long time and can take over an hour or even days to fully expel! Try replacing it with organic products or solutions such as vinegar, lemon, or bicarbonate soda mix instead.

4. Use water-based paints if painting walls or furniture.

These paints are healthier for both the indoor air quality and the environment.

5. Where possible, use materials that are organic or reclaimed.  

There will be no toxic chemicals present due to the nature of their fibres and how they’ve been finished, making them a healthy addition to your home.


The finishes used in many households are responsible for a significant amount of poor indoor air quality. When purchasing new furniture, installing permanent fixtures, or painting a surface, first think about the fumes they could omit. The traditional glues used when installing carpets contain toxic chemicals, which contaminate the air. Oil-based paints that contain Benzene and Xylene in their composition do the same. These harmful VOCs can cause potential health issues, so avoid them as much as possible.

Along with glues and paints, composite materials used in particle boards to make up furniture contain formaldehyde, which is an extremely toxic chemical. It can take up to five years (on average) for the fumes that are embedded within the material to fully dissipate. If you can’t avoid the use of particle boards in your home, make sure the material is sealed completely to avoid any leakage of the gases into your home.

Particle boards use glues with harmful toxins to stick the composite materials together. If you need to use them, make sure they are efficiently sealed to stop unwanted fumes from leaking out.

Use Sustainable Materials

When choosing soft furnishes such as bedding, throw cushions, rugs, curtains, and carpets, go for sustainable materials. Try organic fibres such as natural cotton, linen, cashmere, and wool. These materials are aesthetically pleasing and widely available. They’ve been found to exhibit health benefits, further surpassing their sustainable harvesting, such as hypoallergenic properties that allow for fewer asthmatic episodes and improved eyesight. Natural cotton can also relieve skin issues, such as psoriasis and general rashes.

Consider sourcing furniture made with hard sustainable materials such as fast-growing bamboo, rattan, untreated woods with FSC certification (Forest Stewardship Council), natural stone, marble, and clay.  These also offer great alternatives to floor and wall treatments.

Essential Sustainable Home Design

But don’t forget that not all materials need to be organic in order to be sustainable. Reclaimed materials such as brick, wood, and reused fabrics – such as leather – are also considered sustainable. If any chemicals were used in their manufacturing, they will be long gone. Their reuse is also great for the environment! Repurposing materials ensure they will not unnecessarily end up in a landfill.  

Essential Sustainable Guide

The Manufacturing Process

How was it made? What materials did they use? Were any of the components recycled? These are all questions that are asked when determining whether a product is sustainable. Also, consider what will happen to the product at the end of its life cycle. Can it be repurposed, recycled, or broken down and made into a completely new item? Failing these criteria, can the materials be returned to our natural ecosystem?  

Making sure these important factors are adhered to ensures that the environment is not negatively affected, and landfills aren’t overwhelmed. A lot of people don’t realise what happens to items when they hit the landfill. Some items don’t just biodegrade over time; they can release toxic fumes as (and if) they decompose. Because of this, landfills are responsible for a third of the world’s greenhouse gas production, making them a huge problem for environment sustainability and directly impacting global warming.

A great approach that sustainably conscious designers are adopting is called Cradle to Cradle (C2C) versus Cradle to Grave (C2G). C2C aims to replicate natural systems by focusing on products that can be recycled and upcycled and, failing that, are biodegradable – thus resulting in waste prevention. 


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wellness events in Dubai

You, But Better: The Gaggler Agenda for August

Mark your calendars.

August 1: Shop Responsibly

The Rethink Summer festival at d3 continues to keep residents entertained, but one event in particular is encouraging sustainability, too. Hosted by upcycled fashion store Reborn, an ongoing pop-up held until August 26 will help you both spruce up your summer wardrobe and give back – the collection is made from recycled materials that are 100% cotton. Additionally, AED 11 is donated to UNHCR for every item purchased.

Learn more here.

August 5: Reconnect with Nature

Come summer, family-friendly excursions are always a good idea, so The Turtle Trip by UAE Trekkers wins our vote. Taking participants to some of the most scenic places in Oman, the two-day jaunt is rooted in the best time of year to see the baby turtles hatching and the big mamas laying their eggs in Ras al Hadd. You’ll also explore the canyon and waterfall cave of Wadi Shabb followed by a sea safari.

Learn more here.

August 7: Take the Wheel

In Sanskrit, the word ‘chakra’ literally means ‘wheel’, describing the circular whirlpools of energy that work to keep the life force (prana) flowing through us. Enter: the Chakra Yoga course at Yoga House, which is designed to give participants an understanding of the chakra system and how it is related to one’s health, well-being, and yoga practice over a span of four weeks.

Learn more here.

wellness events

August 11: Shift Your Perspective

A collective exhibition featuring ten female artists from around the world, Eyes Wide Shut embodies a visual exploration on a wide range of socio-political issues through multidisciplinary mediums such as painting, collage, and installation. Hosted by Firetti Contemporary, the exhibition wraps up on August 12, so take the evening to join these women as they challenge preconceived notions and expose blind spots.

Learn more here.

August 12: Prioritise Yourself

It’s no secret that women always put the needs of others before their own, and that’s precisely where the Embracing the Goddess Within session at Illuminations comes in. Led by Neus Ventura and created exclusively for women, this 60-minute meditation session will help you embrace your own feminine energy to open your ability to receive. It’s a beautiful opportunity to understand the power of your own ying energy and use it to embrace your uniqueness and your magnetic ability to manifest. 

Learn more here.

August 17: Join the Community

Glitches and Stitches has created quite the creative community in Dubai and, this month, it’s hosting its monthly Craft Jam at Kave in Alserkal Avenue. A hybrid of co-working and networking sessions for creatives of all sorts, the event inevitably turns into a hub of ideas and inspiration over a span of three hours. It’s open to all, so bring in supplies for your latest project and join at one of Kave’s large communal tables.

Learn more here.

Wellness Calendar for August

August 20: Expand Your Imagination

JamJar continues to host adult workshops that dig a little deeper, with the Process Art session led by Yusra Ismael inviting participants to discover the Zentangle Method. It’s an easy-to-learn and relaxing way to create beautiful images by drawing structured patterns that are dubbed ‘tangles’. You create tangles with combinations of dots, lines, simple curves, S-curves, and orbs, all elemental strokes that can help improve one’s self-esteem and creativity in a fun way while staying calm and focused.

Learn more here.

August 23: Customise a Candle

Considering the significance of fragrance in the Arab world, From The Arabs is a home fragrance brand that was created to reinvigorate Emirati culture with scents, infusing traditional scents usually found in Emirati homes (think: bokhour and incense) into candles. Led by From the Arabs’ team of experts, the Candle Making workshop at d3 will teach participants how to create their candle scent and design their very own candle.

Learn more here.

August 27: Catch a Classic

P. Tchaikovsky – The Best of Swan Lake, the new showcase at The Theatre in Mall of the Emirates, is sure to appeal to ballet aficionados and otherwise. Featuring soloists from leading European dance companies like the Paris Opera and La Scala, this performance promises to be outstanding and suitable for all ages. Audiences will see the best of this classic, a touching story about Prince Siegfried and Swan Queen Odette, love, and fidelity.

Learn more here.


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International Day of Friendship

6 Ways to Celebrate International Friendship Day

Celebrate Your BFF tomorrow!

Living as an expat in the UAE without your family close by (or even in the same time zone) can be lonely, and that’s why your friends become your family and closest confidants. We suggest that you take this opportunity – it’s International Friendship Day tomorrow – to salute your besties and high-five their awesomeness with a proper celebration. Here are a few ideas to get you started.

A Brunch of Friends

CMP Bar & Grill, The Pointe, Palm Jumeirah

Treat your bestie to the American-style The Over Easy Brunch at CMP Bar & Grill, which serves yummy breakfast dishes from traditional cheddar biscuits to short-rib Benedict coupled with bottomless Bloody Marys and mimosas every Saturday from 11am to 3pm. 

CMP Bar & Grill, The Pointe, Palm Jumeirah, 04 580 7983, www.cmprestaurants.com, from AED 95

Mission: Break Out

NoWayOut Escape Room, JLT and CityWalk

Escape room NoWayOut is sure to get your adrenaline pumping and have you and your friends on your toes. There are four escape rooms to choose from with themes such as fantasy, mystery, horror, and history – with just one hour to ‘escape’. Think you and your friends have the teamwork and creativity to do it?

NoWayOut Escape Room, JLT and CityWalk, 04 243 8208, www.nowayout.ae

Into the (Aquatic) Abyss

Deep Dive Dubai, Nad Al Sheba

Fight off the summer heat by taking your friends for a dive into an underwater abandoned city at Deep Dive Dubai. The world’s deepest swimming pool welcomes all – from absolute beginners to experienced divers – with various packages that focus on snorkelling, diving, and freediving. We recommend the Discover Scuba Diving experience for beginners, where you’ll be introduced to the essentials of scuba diving and diving equipment, practise in shallow water, and explore the underwater city!

Deep Dive Dubai, Nad Al Sheba 1, 04 501 9444, www.deepdivedubai.com, from AED 1,800 for the Discover Scuba Diving experience

Of Girls and Guns

Caracal Shooting Club, Al Maqtaa, Abu Dhabi

Enjoy the thrill of guns blazing – with the best standards of safety and security, of course – at the Caracal Shooting Club in Al Forsan International Sports Resort. Choose from more than 25 types of handguns and rifles in .22 and 9mm calibres. Plus, they also have an indoor archery range! Beginners need not fret as all new visitors are provided with a safety briefing.

Caracal Shooting Club, Al Maqtaa, Abu Dhabi, 02 441 6404, www.alforsan.com, from AED 160

Easy Does It

Anantara Eastern Mangroves Abu Dhabi Hotel

Delve into a world of healing and escape at the award-winning Anantara Spa in Abu Dhabi. Located far from the hustle-bustle of the city centre, near the serene mangroves, Anantara offers a chance to wind down in luxury with your besties. Cleanse your skin at the Turkish hammam which can seat up to eight people, enjoy a traditional Thai massage, and top it all off with their signature hydropeptide ultimate anti-wrinkle facial spa treatment for a day spent well. 

Anantara Eastern Mangroves Abu Dhabi Hotel, 056 188 7658, www.anantara.com, from AED 80

That ’50s Show

SAUCE, Noora Tower, Al Habtoor City

Whether you and your BFF are early birds or love a sleep-in, the retro-fabulous breakfast menu at SAUCE is the ultimate breakfast date! Expect to dine on hearty and wholesome dishes like Croiffle (a waffle made from homemade croissant dough and topped with honey and cream cheese) and a triple-layered pancake stack topped with strawberries, maple syrup, and whipped cream for sweet-toothed gals. So,wake up little Susie! This one’s worth leaving bed for.

SAUCE, Noora Tower, Al Habtoor City, 056 538 8388, @saucedubai


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Sustainable Restaurants in Dubai

7 Eateries Steered by Sustainability in Dubai

Eco-friendly practices, delicious food.

Did you know that today, July 28, marks World Nature Conservation Day? Held annually, this global event stresses the need for preserving a healthy environment and natural resources to maintain a healthy and stable society, especially for the sake of future generations. Incidentally, there are a handful of eateries across Dubai that are playing their part in this collective mission, putting the environment first through their carefully curated menus and a whole host of eco-friendly practices. Here they are at a glance.


Sustainability reigns supreme at DIFC-based BOCA, courtesy of Head Chef Matthijs Stinnissen. Passionate about sourcing local ingredients, this Mediterranean restaurant has hosted several zero-waste dinners and illustrated its commitment to sourcing locally through a guide dedicated to Emirati produce. As a result, you’ll see ingredients such as Emirati honey, local sea bass ceviche, and local beetroot stock make appearances on its seasonal menus.


Using offcuts for the likes of soups, sauces, and syrups, Cassette is dedicated to bringing food wastage down to a minimum. This trendy spot in Al Quoz also uses takeaway containers made of 80% Bagasse, an efficient byproduct of the bioenergy sector. Elsewhere, its cassava-made straws and cups are entirely biodegradable, breaking down into carbon dioxide and water within six months of being discarded. As for its wholesome breakfast dishes and healthy mains? Each is composed using fresh produce from local farms.


Omakase-style restaurant Moonrise was founded by one of Dubai’s youngest and most interesting chefs: Solemann Haddad, a third culture kid passionate about what he calls “Dubai cuisine”. Here, only eight diners are accommodated at a time, and only what will be utilised is purchased. Moonrise is rooted in a minimal-waste policy, resulting in dishes that speak volumes of Haddad’s creativity – wilted shiso leaves are blended into the refreshing welcome beverage, while the ends of sourdough loaf are vacuum-sealed and stored, eventually turned into a homemade miso.

Moonrise by Solemann Haddad


Pairing a relaxed vibe with a sustainable ethos, Lowe is anchored in reducing waste, local sourcing, and giving back to society. It’s no surprise, then, that it’s the first ever winner of the Sustainable Restaurant Award by MENA’s 50 Best Restaurants. Co-founders Jesse Black and Kate Cristou’s eatery initially kickstarted this ethos with Waste Not dinners made entirely of scraps and then adapted the rest of their practices, too (think: avoiding single-use plastic and using leftover peels in recipes for onsite fermentation).

One Life Kitchen

Reusable glass bottles instead of takeaway cups, locally sourced produce instead of high-carbon imports, interiors dominated by recycled timbers and used palettes – it’s all here at this homegrown gem in d3. One Life Kitchen is also big on reducing food waste; the staff plant avocado seeds, burn used coffee grounds to deter flies, and even use the strained water from yoghurt as a protein shake. As for anything that’s left at the end of the day? It’s all distributed to staff around the Dubai Design District neighbourhood.


Boasting three outposts across Dubai and Abu Dhabi, Sanderson’s not only sources from local suppliers where possible but has also curated a menu that’s streamlined to ensure waste reduction while providing taste and nourishment. Diners are offered free house-filtered water, while wastewater is cleaned and reused within the community to water plants. Elsewhere, used oil is recycled, and there are solar panels that feed into the national electricity grid.

Wild & The Moon

Created by a tribe of chefs, nutritionists, and naturopaths who believe that food should be good for you and good for the Planet, Wild & The Moon serves plant-based and hormone-free dishes composed of local, seasonal, ethically sourced and organic produce. It also uses 100% biodegradable packaging, while following a zero-waste policy and recycling as much as possible – the fibre-rich pulps from its juices and nutmylks, for example, are revitalised into nutrient-dense raw crackers.


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A living room with sofas, rugs, and cushions - all in shades of white and light brown.

Here’s How to Create an Inviting Living Room 

Make your lounge space reflect your needs.

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? Furthermore, do you have an open-plan space where you would like to see more division so you can create a separate living area? 

Lounge rooms have many different functions, depending on the occupant’s needs, but they have one function in common – they should act as a comfortable, inviting space where people want to spend their time. It must be a space that allows the occupant to feel at ease and fulfilled, yet calm in the surroundings. The good news is this can be easily achievable with the right placement of furniture, colour selections, and finishes! Here are some insider tips on how to create your own perfect, ambient living room for your home.

A Relaxed Scene

The first thing to do is to rid yourself of clutter! Put things away and be strict about it. Chuck things that are of no use. William Morris, a famous 19th century designer, is behind the famous quote that is still true today: If you want a golden rule that will fit everything, this is it: have nothing in your houses that you do not know to be useful or believe to be beautiful.” Make sure to have a clean space for a clean mind, so that you can truly relax. But keep the objects that you believe to be beautiful, as these are the items that will bring you visual joy.   

The right ambience is important for a relaxed lounge setting. The texture is a vital element to consider.   Materials such as wool, cashmere, and faux furs will instantly soften the space, making the area feel calm and serene. Along with materials, colour selection is always important. A combination of hues such as creams, beiges, taupes, and greys – or ‘greige’ – can be used as the main colour palette (and when used mindfully can add immediate warmth and a calming atmosphere). This base colour palette allows for the inclusion of colour in small doses without overwhelming the space and adding too much energy. 

Everyone has their own emotional response to colour, brought on by individual experiences and memories. Try picking a couple of favourite colours and using them to add accents, such as cushions and throws, along with objects to add your own personal touch and individuality.   

A greige colour scheme uses colours such as grey, beige, and other neutrals to influence a calm and balanced mind, resulting in a truly relaxing environment.

Another way to create a relaxed atmosphere is to add a touch of nature where possible. Position furniture for views of the garden, include plants in the area, or leave windows undressed for maximum nature views. Plants have been proven to calm the psyche and clear the mind, along with cleansing the interior air, so include them wherever possible!

Omit window coverings for an uninterrupted view of nature – this has the biological ability to calm the senses immediately.

An Entertainment Vibe

If you love to entertain in your lounge room, then you need a space that will invite guests in and enliven the mood of the area. For a lounge room that is used frequently for entertainment purposes, you’ll want to include ample seating that is either faced or angled towards each other – this will invite people in and encourage conversation. Try not to close off the living room furniture placement and ensure there is plenty of space for moving around to encourage a social environment. Leave the area free from obstruction to open the space for an easy conversation setting.

Place furniture facing each other for a social scene.

Don’t forget to add a vibrant selection of colours to the space! Reds and greens do a great job of encouraging conversation and setting a social scene. Red tones stimulate the brain and add excitement, whilst greens encourage emotion and communication. You may want to add a variety of colours with some complex hues to add a sense of allure to the space and keep the conversation flowing. Complex hues use a variation in texture and tone to keep the mind alert. This type of finish on colours is visually intriguing and will keep the mind focused.

It’s also worth noting that you don’t need to add colour in absolute abundance to achieve the desired effect. Soft furnishes such as cushions and throws, along with smaller objects, will also help deliver the desired environment. You can pair these brighter colours with natural materials, balancing the mood with texture – this will ensure that there isn’t too much energy included in the space.

Add colours that encourage excitement and conversation in the form of cushions, throws, or other small objects.

Vibrant Family Area

Anyone wanting to achieve a comfortable, functional family area will need the right balance of shapes and colour. An obvious choice is to avoid sharp edges and breakable surfaces! Pick fabrics such as leather that are easy to clean and durable, or fabrics that have been treated with eco-friendly, non-toxic fabric protectors such as protectME. Try to avoid traditional fabric protectors, which can be packed with harmful VOCs – and don’t forget to choose colour selections that can withstand the occasional spill.

Easy-to-clean materials are a must for family areas!

To add vibrancy to the space, the use of colour is as important as ever! Try using yellows and greens, along with blues, to liven up the area. They allude to nature (think: the sun, the sky, and green foliage) and are very therapeutic to have in your orbit, evoking feelings of freshness, health, and happiness. They also encourage good moods and cheerful energy, and actively reduce stress and agitation, leading to less commotion and an overall positive setting.

The use of colour in dynamic tones will keep the area lively and positive.

Adjoined Spaces

Lounge rooms can sometimes adjoin other functional spaces in the home, such as the dining or kitchen areas. In such cases, a purposeful division of space is necessary to create individual areas. The use of furniture placement is an effective way to do this. Placing a bookshelf or sideboard as a divider will instantly break up the space.

Use furniture placement to create distinct areas within an open-plan home.

Another great way to create division is with the use of colour and/or texture. Paint walls with colours that sit opposite each other on the colour wheel (such as yellow and purple) or add definition with the use of tone. Go a good few shades darker or lighter than the main colour by adding grey or white to the existing colour as this will add depth to the hue and is instantly noticeable without creating a blatant contrast. Or try adding a bright colour to a wall that adjoins a neutrally painted wall. This approach will create an instant division, and the contradiction of colour will alert the mind to notice these are different areas.   

The use of colour and/or wallpaper creates an instant division of space and area.

You can create the same effect with the addition of wallpaper, used as a feature wall. Wallpaper is a great addition as it can add pattern and texture, as well as colour. It also comes in many different patterns and is an easy way to change the space instantly and economically.   


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Here’s Why Baku Belongs on Your Bucket List

A visa on arrival is just the beginning.

Baku, the capital of Azerbaijan, is repeatedly dubbed “the next Dubai” – but Icheri Sheher would beg to differ. This old city has managed to preserve its 12th century defensive walls, thereby earning a spot in UNESCO’s list of World Heritage Sites. Elsewhere, the city hosts a vibrant piazza, a lively jazz scene, artistic institutions aplenty, a handful of architectural gems, and a food scene that draws influences from East and West. Factor in a visa-on-arrival system for all UAE residents, regardless of nationality, and a jaunt to Baku feels like a no-brainer.

Sleeping In

By now, many of the major luxury hotel groups have landed in Baku – Fairmont, Four Seasons, and JW Marriott included. But as any savvy traveller can testify, the location of a hotel trumps all else. Enter: Boutique 19 Hotel, which sits perfectly in the middle of Fountains Square and Baku Boulevard, both of which deserve a visit during your trip. However, bragging rights come in the form of Boutique 19’s proximity to Icheri Sheher – in fact, part of its fortress wall is actually located inside the hotel.

Stepping Out

Baku may be one of the world’s fastest growing tourist destinations, but never does it feel too chaotic or overcrowded. Unlike your trips to the likes of London, New York, and Bangkok, you’ll actually find the time to pause and people-watch in the tree-lined Fountains Square. Here await – you guessed it – fountains of various designs alongside street food, bronze sculptures, and carousels that look like they belong in a whole other era. The piazza transitions seamlessly into the lively Nizami Street. Stroll down this pedestrian avenue to feel the city’s pulse as it’s rife with restaurants, cafés, souvenir shops, and high street stores. And adding to its appeal is the sheer diversity of historic architectural styles – Baroque, Renaissance, and Neo-Gothic included.

Another wonderful area in which to take a stroll – and get a whiff of the Caspian Sea – is Baku Boulevard. Not only is this seaside venue especially family-friendly owing to attractions such as Tusi-Bohm Planetarium, Baku Eye ferris wheel, and Little Venice (complete with gondola rides), but at 25 kilometres in length, it’s also one of the longest promenades on the planet. Luckily, there’s plenty of opportunities to get heckled by the many playful men who sell dondurma – there’s an ice cream stall at virtually every turn.

Time Travel

Nothing wins tourists over more than Icheri Sheher, which holds history, mystery, stories, and secrets within its time-worn walls. You’ll undoubtedly get lost within its maze of cobblestone streets, but that’s part of the fun – just be sure to make a mental checklist of some unmissable pit stops. Both Palace of the Shirvanshahs and Maiden Tower are listed in UNESCO’s list of World Heritage Sites. The former is the crown jewel of the inner city as it’s made up of several different structures built throughout the ages, with each adding to the mash-up of medieval, Asian, and Islamic influences. The latter, meanwhile, is a symbol of Baku.

Historians don’t agree on when this cylindrical stone tower was built, how it was built, or why it was built, but everyone agrees that it is the stuff of legends – literally. Of the many folklores that surround it, the one you’ll likely hear is that it’s named after a princess who took her own life by jumping off the top of the tower to escape from a marriage of strategic convenience. Culture buffs, take note: the Museum of Miniature Books and studio of famous (and famously barefoot) artist Ali Shamsi also come highly recommended.

We recommend setting a whole day aside for this open-air museum as amongst the domed bathhouses, sandstone caravanserais, and storied mosques are plenty of opportunities to pick up quality (read: authentic) souvenirs such as traditional copperware, handwoven carpets, intricately painted ceramics, and armudu teacups alongside unexpected vintage finds – Soviet-era shot glasses, anyone? Social project ABAD gets a special mention for housing handicrafts from all over Azerbaijan under one roof, encouraging small-scale entrepreneurship and supporting the formation of family businesses.

Culture Quest

Baku’s blend of East and West, old and new, has resulted in a culture scene that has something for everyone. Bibliophiles should make a beeline for the extravagant Nizami Museum of Azerbaijani Literature, and history buffs can while away the hours at the massive National History Museum of Azerbaijan. Also keep an eye out on the shows taking place at the various cultural venues around town, starting with the historic Azerbaijan State Academic Opera and Ballet Theatre.

Incidentally, the city has a longstanding (and complicated) relationship with jazz – authorities in the Soviet Union banned it after World War II, forcing musicians to move or perform in secrecy. The result? Baku became a regional hub for this genre of music. Today, live jazz can be enjoyed at various places around town, but Baku Jazz Club is the one to beat.

Eye Candy

In complete contrast to the old city – and speaking volumes of Azerbaijan’s oil boom in the late 19th century – are Baku’s over the top architectural marvels. There are two in particular that are worthy of a closer look: the flamboyant Flame Towers and the beautifully fluid Heydar Aliyev Center. We suggest viewing the Flame Towers from the commanding Bahram Gur Statue before taking the Baku Funicular up to Martyrs’ Lane for panoramic views and countless photo ops. 

Come night, this trio of flame-shaped skyscrapers comes alive, its flickering lights symbolizing Zoroastrianism’s origins in Azerbaijan. Further afield, Heydar Aliyev Center is a true architectural feat by the legendary Zaha Hadid. Walk around to admire the many waves, folds, and curves of this iconic structure – and know that you’re in the presence of greatness.

Art for Art’s Sake

Between Azerbaijan National Museum of Art and Yarat Contemporary Art Space, aesthetes will be spoilt for choice – the city’s thriving art scene certainly came as a surprise to us. But if you can make time for only one, opt for Museum of Modern Art, where open passages help provide a multidimensional perspective of the over 800 exhibits. Contemporary art by leading Azerbaijani artists aside – which greets you before you’ve even entered the building – masterworks by Salvador Dalí, Pablo Picasso, and Marc Chagall are also on display.

Retail Therapy

If you’re lucky enough to make it to the Baku Museum of Modern Art, there are two great stores just minutes away on foot: Port Baku Bazar and Chelebi. The former is a gourmet food market where you can sample and stock up on endless varieties of the sinfully delicious pastry, pakhlava. But that’s not all. Locally produced jams and honey, black caviar produced from classic Caspian sturgeon by Baku Caviar, all manner of sweet and savoury breads, and high-end confectionery by Xurcun are also on sale at Port Baku Bazar. Next door, Chelebi sells vibrantly hued cushions, coasters, wall art, figurines, and other decorative home accessories – all making for great gifts.

Source: Kamran Amirkhanov

Food Matters

It’s not just Baku’s architecture that reflects the diversity of its past; the culinary culture of Azerbaijan, which sits at the crossroads of Eastern Europe and Western Asia and borrows from the travellers who passed along the Great Silk Road, is just as rich. Influences from Turkey, Iran, Russia, and Georgia are evident in Azeri dishes – think: pilafs embellished with nuts and dried fruits, fall-off-the-bone meats, sumac-infused salads, creamy cheeses, and pomegranate molasses adding a hint of zing to fresh fish from the Caspian Sea.

Both Sumakh and Nakhchivan are popular with the locals for their upscale ambience. Russian fare, meanwhile, is best enjoyed at Mari Vanna, where a meal feels more like dining in your (rich) grandmother’s living room rather than a restaurant abroad. As a tourist, however, you ought to dine at Şirvanşah – especially if you’re pressed for time. Not only is this museum-meets-restaurant housed in a two-story building that once served as a caravanserai, but it also accents authentic Azeri cuisine with a side of live mugham music, making for a night you won’t soon forget.


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Ways to Create a Peaceful Home

5 Steps to Calm Your Home

From home to haven through decluttering.

Let’s talk about our homes and what they mean to us. Do you want your home to be a calm, peaceful sanctuary? Do you ever feel like there is just stuff everywhere? Does the lack of space cause you anxiety? Do you feel frustrated when you can’t find that thing you need right now? Does the clutter drain your energy?

If you answered yes to any of these questions, you can relate to how much our environment has an impact on us, physically and mentally. It is so important that weregularly address these areas of clutter regularly – otherwise, the daily stress and frustration will cause us to not fully love our homes. Our homes are our sanctuaries and thus need nurturing. Here, we describe some simple steps on how to create the desired calmness. Give it a go and feel the difference!

As a professional home organiser, I have the expertise to create calmness from chaos. It’s not always an easy process, but it is life-changing when you get it right. Having a home that works for you, meets your needs, and brings you joy is what we strive for. Having a vision for your personal space will help you make a powerful change. As for getting started? Follow my five-step S.P.A.C.E method to declutter, organise, and calm your home. 


1. See it all.

You need to see all the items that are in a space, and you need to see the area clear of all things. Starting with a good stocktake of all the things you own will help you process what is actually in the space. Take each item out of the cupboards, drawers, baskets, and closets. Find a large open area – like the bed, the floor, or a table – where you can put all the items so that you can see them.

Once you have emptied the identified space, look at it with fresh eyes. How can you maximise the use of the area? What spaces were not used before? What storage works well? What useful things do you not have? Keep the answers to these questions in your mind as you go through the process.

2. Put the items into categories.

This can be the challenging part for some people as it is natural to resist change and not want to let things go. When decluttering, you need to be brave and make quick decisions. You need to seriously ask yourself how much you need each item in your life, and whether it make a difference to your happiness if you didn’t have it. Keep those things that bring you joy and that you cherish. Once you have gone through all your items, you should have them grouped in the following categories: Keep, Donate, Dispose, or Sell.

Keep – These items are those you use regularly and need to have in your home. They should add value to your life and be a part of the vision you have for your home. ‘Keep’ items can be put into two subcategories: regular use and storage. You may not use some items right now, but you definitely need to keep them. Some examples of this category are seasonal clothing, travel items, seasonal decorations, and outdoor equipment. 

Donate – These items are of good quality and can be used by others. Giving away an item can help you let go as it is easier when you know someone else will benefit from it more than you do. Be mindful about what you donate and make sure it is in a condition that you would like to receive it in – clean and well-presented. There are many local charities that will take donations.

Dispose – These items should be those that no longer serve any purpose and cannot be used by anybody else. Recycle as much of this as possible. Safely dispose of glass, electronics, and medical items. 

Sell – Successfully selling items is not always an easy feat. You will need to list it, be patient, and be prepared for various offers. Local community groups are often the easiest way to advertise goods, as are online platforms. These products need to be in a good condition and have a market value to attract buyers. 

Ways to Create a Calm and Peaceful Home

3. Allocate storage areas.

Once you have gone through all your belongings and put them into the above four categories, you have completed the most difficult step. Now we focus on the items you have chosen to keep and how to store them. Firstly, group similar items together to get a better understanding of what storage areas you require. Categories may include frequently used items, extra stock, and items that need to be stored in the long term.

Next, look at the room and analyse it. Which is the most functional and practical place to put an item? Go through all the spaces and make sure you have allocated a location for all the items that are meant to be in this space. During this process, you may find that some objects don’t actually belong in that room, and it would make more sense to store them elsewhere. Remove them from the spaceimmediately so that you remain focused on the area at hand. 

4. Contain your belongings.

Containing your belongings is the fun part! Think about what style you like and choose container colours that will match the existing colours in the space. The safest shades are white, black, grey, or natural tones as they can be used elsewhere if needed. You may have an accent colour in the room, which you could use for your storage containers to unify the look. 

There are endless types of containers you can use from simple baskets to custom cabinetry. I recommend looking at what you already have in your home. Some containers might be moved around from different rooms. You can also repurpose furniture items to suit your new storage needs. For example, a bookshelf in the bedroom might now be better suited to the living room. You will be surprised at what you might find when having a good look around your entire home, checking how well each furniture item is being used. Baskets, drawers with dividers, plastic bags, hooks, hangers, and boxes are all examples of things we can use to streamline the storage of items and keep things in their place. The main goal with containing items is that they are easy to identify, easy to access, and easy to put back in their place after use.

5. Evaluate and enjoy! 

This is the most rewarding part of the process. Once you have organised all the items into purposeful storage, use the space for a few days and tweak the area if you feel some things need moving around. Staying organised and maintaining your space is a constant task. You need to put things back where they belong in order to keep the space tidy and neat. 

To create a stylish look that you love, choose some of your favourite items to display in the space. Examples could be photos, sentimental pieces, and artwork. Add plants to bring nature indoors and scented candles to appease the senses. These additional accents will complete the feeling of a calm and organised area that is clutter-free. Finally, it is time to enjoy your peaceful new space!

If you would like to know more about how to calm that clutter, visitFern McGahey’s website or follow her on Instagram and Facebook.


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