Treecycling Is The Greenest Way To Go This Christmas
‘Tis the season to be sustainable – here’s how to recycle your Christmas tree in the UAE
Nothing beats having a real Christmas tree in the house as the focus of your festive decor – but disposing of it responsibly once the party season is over is often as annoying as treading on all those fallen pine needles with no shoes on.
To help make the whole process of saying farewell to your fresh fir tree a far more sustainable one, home improvement giant ACE has launched an environmentally-friendly recycling scheme designed to offset your festive carbon footprint.
Available at selected ACE stores across the UAE from January 2-16, the ingeniously-named Tree-Cycle Programme allows customers to drop off their unwanted (and undecorated!) real Christmas trees and have them recycled into a bag of compost, free of charge.
In collaboration with Y.E.S (Your Environmental Savings) Full Circle, the international, tech-based, climate change, and circular economy platform that supports people and organizations to become global sustainability champions, the ACE Tree-cycling program is open to all those who want to dispose of their trees in the most environmentally-friendly way. Better still, all those tree-cycling will benefit from a 10% discount voucher on the garden and outdoor products at select ACE stores when they go to collect their bag of compost.
Real festive trees can be dropped off at ACE’s stores in Dubai Festival City, YAS Mall, Abu Dhabi and its new branch at Dubai Festival Plaza.
For more details about the Tree-Cycle program, visit the ACE website.
4 Ways to Incorporate Well-Being into Your Kitchen
Yes, it can be a calming space.
When you picture a healthy kitchen, I bet you immediately think of fresh vegetables, clear water, and freshly baked goods. However, a healthy kitchen is not just about food. The overall appearance of your kitchen, ease of use, and accessibility of foodstuff also plays a huge part in the ‘health’ of your kitchen – and even your own well-being!
A kitchen’s main purpose is a function, but an aesthetically pleasing space will also calm the mind and encourage a good mood and positive attitude, resulting in healthier eating practices. Here are four ways to achieve that.
1. Harness the Power of Nature and Colour
Your kitchen needs to give off a clean, fresh, open vibe that will create a positive environment and put you in the right frame of mind for healthy eating, meal preparation, and planning. Where possible, allow as much natural sunlight into the space as you can. The sun is a natural mood-booster, and exposure to it is known to create a cheerful atmosphere by immediately improving our moods with the increased production of serotonin – one of our body’s feel-good hormones.
While the sun can’t be replicated, you can achieve similar results with artificial inclusions if exposure to natural sunlight isn’t possible. Try adding cool-white or daylight-coloured light globes and yellow hues to the space. The bright light effect and yellow tones will reference the sun, resulting in an uplifting and vibrant atmosphere. For optimal results, try adding white to add contrast or reflect yellow tones when trying to imitate natural light; this will make the yellow really stand out.
Allow much sunlight as possible to release natural endorphins.
Try adding yellow to reference the sun and improve the mood of the space.
Colour selection is just as important in a kitchen as it is in any area of the home. When creating a colour scheme that is going to encourage positive and healthy minds, bodies, and practices, the inclusion of colours connected to nature is an immediate choice. Being surrounded by nature has an immediate calming effect on us. This comes not just from the physical elements of nature, but also the use of colours, textures, and patterns that remind us of nature.
You could add touches of green to deliver a mood that is full of health and vitality. Green is a colour with many positive benefits, and the hue plays a significant role in improving our overall well-being and actually encourages us to breathe more deeply, allowing more oxygen into our lungs and thus improving our focus and concentration. You can either paint a wall, use the colour in your tile selection, or simply add green in the form of objects or indoor plants. If possible, you could also try adding a planter just outside the kitchen window for the same result. Simply viewing green and nature will immediately improve your mood and lower blood pressure.
Adding green to a kitchen immediately alludes to nature and calms the psyche.
Another good colour choice for kitchens is to choose hues within the neutral realm. Neutrals such as whites, cream, or beige will create a calm and balanced environment. These tones are also a great base for a space where numerous additional objects and colours will be added. Neutrals are unobtrusive hues that create a base by blending in and allowing for the addition of more bold colours without visually crowding the area. Try adding some natural textures and materials such as woodgrain, granite, or marble finishes to evoke feelings of wellness. This is will encourage the mind to make healthier behavioural choices.
Natural textures and materials also allude to nature, thereby calming and improving our mood.
2. Reduce Visual Clutter
You can’t possibly have a clear mind when it’s clouded with visual clutter. Reducing the clutter will help you to think freely and leave room for a positive outlook that will in turn encourage a healthier outlook on life – including what you put into your body. Studies have shown that clutter in your home can encourage you to overeat or choose unhealthy options.
This is why it’s imperative to rid the kitchen of unnecessary clutter! Simply having a clear space can also reduce stress levels and lower blood pressure. You can do this by having a clear countertop that’s free of items that do not get used daily and keeping the area clean and tidy. Try to also introduce effective storage solutions for foodstuff and kitchen tools so that they can be efficiently stored, but also be within easy access when needed.
A cluttered kitchen will clutter the mind, leading to unhealthy habits.
A clutter-free kitchen with lots of storage behind a cupboard door encourages a free and open mind.
Organised storage will keep the kitchen tidy and allow for healthy options to be at hand.
3. Use Smart Appliances
The stress that comes with not having enough time to get everything done is a common modern-day complaint unfortunately – and kitchen appliances with SMART functions can help us to alleviate some of this stress. Programmable ovens and smaller appliances such as air fryers, slow cookers, multi-functional microwaves, and multi-cookers (such as Thermomix or The June Oven) are great assets in creating a healthy, efficient kitchen. A lot of appliances are now not only programmable, but also wifi-enabled when used with linked apps, allowing for healthy meals to be prepped and cooked automatically.
4. Adopt Healthy Habits
While not everyone can access SMART appliances or make big changes like painting their kitchen walls, everyone can adopt healthy habits to help them on their way to wellness! Simple things like having fruits and vegetables that are within eyeshot for a quick snack will promote healthy eating.
Furthermore, try to prep meals ahead of time so most of the hard work is done before the home gets busy. You could also try growing your own herbs in your kitchen. The AeroGarden, an in-home garden system, makes this easy with LED light technology. The smell and sight of fresh herbs will encourage feelings of wellness and motivate healthier eating habits.
More and more property owners are opting for wood flooring for their space – and understandably so. It’s timeless, easy to maintain, and exceptionally long-lasting. Moreover, the classic and versatile appeal that wood offers suits just about any design theme there is. On the hunt for the perfect flooring for your home or office? Here’s our edit of the top wood-flooring companies that will turn your design visions into reality.
Established in 2006 by Pauline Madani, Nordic Homeworx continues to deliver exceptionally engineered natural wood-flooring products and luxury vinyl tiles for both residential and commercial projects. This renowned Dubai-based company represents and supplies Kährs, one of the world’s biggest and oldest flooring brands originating in Sweden. As specialists in providing the highest quality flooring and installation services in the region, Nordic Homeworx puts emphasis on providing excellent care for its clients through the entire process, starting from conception to after-sales in the ensuing years. As for some of the most notable projects under its belt? The Expo 2020 Sweden Pavilion, IKEA Festival Plaza, and The Mosque of Light (amongst others).
Debuting under the name Build Arch Building Materials Trading, the brand has accomplished a full rebrand as Casamia with the goal of offering an improved concept for its growing clientele. To cater to its key clients, the company launched a concept store to showcase its store, brands, and products via a bespoke and immersive experience. The company’s wooden flooring projects in Dubai fall under a broad range of sectors such as residential, commercial, and hospitality.
Woodfloors Middle East is the MENA region’s ultimate one-stop shop for the finest selection of flooring, furnishing, and interior decoration products. This award-winning company prides itself in its consistent record of providing state-of-the-art products and unparalleled services to its customers through an extensive brand catalogue that includes Hakwood, Boen, VerMeister, and more.
Woodfloors Middle East, A3 Al Ghurair Warehouse, Al Quoz 3, 04 338 6678, [email protected]
Founded in 2009, Floorworld has made its name as one of the largest suppliers of wood flooring in the Middle East. Together with its talented team, the brand gained market recognition by following its chief vision in resolutely providing quality products and excellent services for its clientele. Its extensive list of completed projects include residential locations, government establishments (such as the Dubai Police building), and businesses under the hospitality industry (such as Rixos The Palm Hotel & Suites).
Floors And Walls is a British-owned business that specialises in a wide range of flooring and decorative wall paint products. Starting as Blinds & Curtains back in 2013, the company has since expanded to bring forth a whole new division that focuses on floor and wall selections. It has over ten teams of expertly trained individuals who provide outstanding services to their residential and commercial clientele. It’s no surprise, then, that some of its most significant projects includes work for Tecom Group, Damac, and Address Hotels + Resorts.
Floors And Walls, Shop 8, Street 6, Alsayegh Building, Oud Metha, 04 234 9314, [email protected]
An Expert on Turning Your Bedroom into a Sanctuary
Good sleep follows right design.
Creating the perfect space isn’t just about decoration. It involves the balance of textures, shapes, finishes, and arguably the most important factor: colour. Colour theory is an interesting concept. Certain hues can evoke particular feelings and moods, and colour can even affect primary sensory functions. This is why incorporating colour theory when designing a space is important. But there’s an art behind matching colours for a harmonious result – colours combinations should be visually pleasing, relaxing, or exciting to the mind at view.
All interior spaces have a purpose. For example, the bedroom should be a place of refuge where you can relax, unwind, and calm a racing mind. It is imperative to get the colour scheme right to ensure a peaceful night’s sleep. Along with the hue (colour), it is important to consider depth of colour when creating a certain ambience. Shades and tones that are too dark can make the room feel oppressive and heavy, whilst having a room that is too light can feel stark and sterile. An injection of colour – either with change of hue, tone, or tint – is necessary to balance all spaces efficiency and achieve the desired visual and mental result.
Of course, the colours chosen will also depend on the occupant of the space. For example, a master suite may require more muted tones, whilst a more vibrant colour palette may suit a child’s bedroom. There are also other things to consider when choosing the right bedroom colours – such as room orientation! For example, a south-facing room receives sunlight throughout most of the day. For this reason, you might want to add cool hues and accent colours such as blues and greens. For a north-facing room that receives little sunlight, it’s beneficial to warm up the space visually with the addition of colours such as muted reds (a strong red in the bedroom can imply negative energy), soft yellow, or orange.
Colour Theory Concepts
There are three tried-and-tested approaches to colour that are commonly used when choosing supporting hues for a space. These are analogous (colours that sit next to each other on the colour wheel), complimentary (colours that sit opposite each other on the colour wheel), and monochromatic (one single colour used with differing tints and shades). These colour concepts and combinations can be used with great results, creating a harmonious and serene bedroom.
A successful analogous scheme can benefit from a neutral base colour, such as beige or taupe. Neutral colours create feelings of warmth and comfort thanks to their low saturation of colour. These colours are uncomplicated and easy for the brain to process. Include varying tints of beige and taupe, along with off-white, to create depth within the main hue. The addition of colour accents such as oranges, greens, and yellows will add a certain vibrancy to the space due to the psychological effects of mixing cool and warm hues.
These hues can be softened with a tonal difference from the main colour. Try adding peach oranges, soft yellows, and light botanical greens to lift the space without creating too much energy. These colours invite feelings of self-confidence and vitality, finishing off the mood with a cheerful yet peaceful ambience. Add natural fibres and green foliage, along with artwork alluding to nature to create a truly natural look.
The below image shows hues with a low saturation colour, such as beige, which are uncomplicated and easy to process visually. Accessorise with colourful accents to finish the space.
Various tones of peach have been used as the main secondary hue in the below bedroom, with greens and the occasional soft yellow, along with nature-inspired naturals to create an analogous colour scheme.
Another concept to try is a complimentary scheme, where the colours sit opposite each other on the colour wheel. Because of what can be an extreme contrast of colours, a great base for this concept would be a colour such as grey.
Grey is seen as an achromatic hue (without colour) and is the perfect balance between black and white, making it extremely versatile. Viewing grey has been known to create a balanced mind, which lends itself well to a bedroom environment. The addition of pastel or muted shades of pinks and greens create a subtle, delicate, ethereal finish whilst enhancing vitality.
When choosing complimentary colours for a bedroom, try to avoid hues with high saturation, such as reds and very dark greens. These colours are too in conflict with each other to calm a space and will drag the ambience down, resulting in feelings of anger, despair, and confusion.
Grey and pink have been used in the below image to create a relaxed, romantic, and inviting scene for the bedroom.
The below image shows how an injection of green, along with a pink and grey finish can result in a complimentary colour concept with aesthetically pleasing results.
A monochromatic scheme involves using one hue as the main colour, and adding complexity to the space by using tints and tones to create depth and interest.
Blue is a pleasing choice for a monochromatic scheme as the hue can differ greatly, depending on the tone added. It can seem weightless when used in a lighter capacity, immediately bringing to mind blue skies and fluffy clouds. A darker shade adds a stark contrast, while changing the scene entirely and employing feelings of thought and decisiveness. Overall, blue is known to soothe, cool, and calm the mind, making it a great option for a bedroom where the aim is always peaceful sleep.
Art imitating nature is always successful, so monochromatic blue balanced with a stark white is a winning combination. The below image shows how this is possible. The monochromatic colour scheme easily suggests the lightness of air, immediately relaxing the senses.
Whilst the use of darker shades within the hue can be used to create a completely different result, deeper tones can produce a depth within the space – all with the use of one single colour.
Green Matters: 22 Ways to Give Back to Planet Earth
In celebration of Earth Day, today.
With the 2022 edition of Earth Day calling for everyone – businesses, governments, and citizens included – to take accountability towards a healthier planet, the time for action is now. Here, in honour of this global event marked annually on April 22, The Gaggler reveals 22 ways to give back. We’ve covered initiatives in all six GCC countries, so everyone’s invited.
Fight food waste and advocate for misshapen produce by signing up for EroeGo, the first ugly fruits and vegetables delivery service in the UAE. Bonus: for every box delivered, the company provides meals for two people facing hunger to help fight inequality.
Save the planet and your skin by switching to Upfill products, which are not only waterless and all-natural, but also devoid of plastic packaging. The beauty brand has partnered with Azraq to reintroduce coral reefs in Dibba, which means your purchase will help support UAE marine life.
Support Goumbook’s Give a Ghaf Tree planting program to help the planet breathe better with the help of the UAE’s national tree. Now, not only can you plant a seed through the social enterprise, but you can also join its Community Planting Day and plant it yourself.
Headed to Riyadh? Be sure to unwind at Respire Lounge, where sustainability awaits at every turn – solar panels, Tesla charging stations, a compost machine, and a reverse vending machine are just some of the onsite features.
Reduce your consumption of single-use plastic water bottles by joining the Dubai Can movement, accessing drinking water at the many water stations installed across Dubai – Kite Beach, Zabeel Park, and Madinat Jumeirah included. Up to 50 new refill stations are expected.
Fight plastic pollution by volunteering with the Doha Environmental Actions Project, which frequently organises school presentations and environmental awareness sessions across Qatar. Recent events have included beach, desert, and mangrove clean-ups.
Inspire the next generation to make positive choices by gifting Save Our World’s The Eco-heroes series of children’s books about five fictional friends who are helping save the planet by reducing food waste, minimising plastic, and more. Funny and engaging, they encourage readers to make positive choices from a young age.
Based in Dubai or Abu Dhabi? Download the RECAPP app to have recyclables collected from your home for free. All you have to do is segregate them from general waste and schedule a pick-up day and time.
If you live in Kuwait, book a pick-up by Enviroserve, which recycles everything from plastic and paper to hazardous electronic waste such as cell phones and home appliances. Incidentally, Kuwait generates 1.5kg of trash per person per day – twice the global average – making this company a vital component of the country’s green initiatives.
Organise a fundraiser in support of Emirates Nature–WWF through fundraising platform Yalla Give, where you can share your campaign idea and collect donations online. The non-profit organisation partners with individuals and institutions to achieve science-based solutions towards combating climate change and safeguarding local biodiversity.
Considering most fast fashion purchases end up in landfills, shop pre-loved clothing at the likes of Retold, The Luxury Closet, and La Suite in Dubai. Alternatively, turn to Wild Fabrik, an ethical online marketplace rooted in providing independent sustainable brands with a platform to sell their goods and ensuring that they’re paid fairly.
Muscat residents can support marine conservation efforts by diving with Aura Divers – it facilitates the collection of everyday trash from the ocean during each dive. We also love that it was founded by EhdaaAlBarwani, the first and only female dive instructor from Oman, who’s all about encouraging women to explore the underwater world.
Sign up for one of Emirates Environmental Group’s many campaigns that entail picking up trash, planting trees, collecting aluminum cans for recycling, and more. Devoted to protecting the environment through the means of education, involvement, and action programmes, the group encourages both corporate and community engagement.
Consume more sensibly and sustainably in Qatar with the help of Souqti, a platform where you can not only buy, sell, and rent pre-owned fashion, but also have items cleaned, repaired, and customised. Anchored in helping people reduce their footprint while saving money, it lists the designer likes of Gucci, Givenchy, and Céline.
Turn to The Giving Movement for athleisure as the eco-conscious clothing brand uses fabric made from recycled plastic water bottles. And, as its name suggests, the brand donates AED 15 to its partner charities for every single item sold.
Live in Bahrain and looking to give back? Volunteers are always needed for the beach and dive clean-ups organised by the aptly named CleanUp Bahrain, which is dedicated to influencing the youth of this island nation to make a difference.
Single-use menstrual products wreak havoc on marine environments. The solution? A reusable menstrual cup that, with proper care, can last up to six years. Other options include period pants (which can be put in the washing machine after use) and reusable tampon applicators by brands like Dame and Thinx.
Calling everyone with a scuba diving certification! Over 250 million tons of plastic are estimated to make their way into our ocean by 2025, so join the Dive Against Debris sessions hosted by Divers Down, which entail collecting everyday trash from the seas of Dubai and Fujairah. Both morning and afternoon slots are available.
Based in Jeddah, the Hejaz Ploggers are involved in planting, upcycling, and clean-up activities – all while promoting picking up trash while jogging (a.k.a. plogging). Any community organisaton that promotes a healthier lifestyle while challenging our current environmental habits wins our vote.
Help Freestyle Divers preserve and protect the UAE’s coral reefs by exploring its full curriculum that features courses, workshops, and internships. And if you want to learn to dive, the community scuba diving centre can construct a personalised programme for you to simultaneously gain experience in both scuba diving and marine conservation.
Calling all frequent flyers! Through Qatar Airways’ Carbon Offset Programme, you can offset the carbon emissions from your flight at the time of booking. All contributions received will be directed to the Fatanpur Wind Farm, an India-based project that avoids 210,000 tonnes of greenhouse gas emissions annually.
Tackle ocean pollution and protect endangered marine life by volunteering with one of Azraq’s many environmental campaigns in the country. To date, the marine conservation organisation has reduced the use of plastic in the hospitality industry at over 55 outlets, removed millions of plastic straws from circulation, and recovered 60,000 plastic utensils from circulation across the UAE.
Today is Global Recycling Day, a day for the world to come together and put the planet first as we face a climate emergency of unparalleled proportions. Now’s the time to think about what we throw away – and how we do it – considering that the last decade has been the hottest on record.
If significant and rapid changes are not made, rising global temperatures, the melting of ice caps, continents on fire, and devastating deforestation will continue at an accelerating rate. Recycling is a key part of the circular economy, helping to protect our natural resources. Each year, the ‘Seventh Resource’ – the recyclables – saves over 700 million tonnes in CO2 emissions, and this is projected to increase to one billion tonnes by 2030.
According to the Global Recycling Foundation, electronic waste should now be regarded as the greatest threat to our planet, with the United Nations warning that the current 53 million tonnes of e-waste generated every year will more than double by 2050, making it the fastest-growing waste stream in the world.
“It may already be too late to stem the tide of the millions of discarded smartphones and other electronic waste, from fridges and TVs to microwaves and PC monitors,” says Ranjit Baxi, Founding President of the Global Recycling Foundation. “But it’s not just the items themselves – it’s the irreplaceable precious metals and dangerous components like lithium-ion batteries, cadmium, lead and mercury, flame-retardant chemicals, and corrosive acid that are used in their manufacture. These amount to so much toxic waste, which, if not professionally recycled, ends up on waste dumps.”
Recognising the people, places, and activities that showcase what an important role recycling plays in contributing to an environmentally stable planet and a greener future that will benefit all, the theme of Global Recycling Day 2022 is ‘recycling fraternity’, celebrating those who have been on the frontline to collect waste and recycle in recent years.
With a mission to highlight the UAE’s very own recycling fraternity, The Gaggler visited Ecyclex, a Dubai-based company that works with individual businesses as well as Dubai Municipality to recycle electronics, domestic appliances, and batteries – with fascinating results. Find out all about Ecyclex and what you can do to be a more environmentally conscious consumer here.
WATCH THE VIDEO: Recycling with Ecyclex
Ecyclex has operations across the country. Find out more at www.ecyclex.com
If you haven’t heard of biophilic design, now’s the time to familiarise as it’s quickly becoming the next big design trend! As for what it means? Simply a connection to nature. This is achieved by the inclusion of certain materials, objects, and design methods into the interior space to allude to nature in your surroundings, with or without the physical elements of nature.
We spend a lot of our time indoors – 90% of our lives on average, in fact! This has increased even more in the last couple of years due to the pandemic and local restrictions that forced us inside for days, weeks, or months at a stretch. Biologically, we have an innate desire for connection to nature, and this lack of outdoor exposure has left a profound void in our lives, affecting our overall wellness. Biophilic design can help us fill that void within the interiors, thereby enhancing us both mentally and physically.
A biophilic-inspired interior is known to not only calm the mind, but also has many other coveted health benefits such as heightened cognitive ability, improved memory and concentration, and enhanced overall mood. It also has physical health benefits such as increased respiratory functions, lower pulse rates, a healthier gut, and fewer headaches. Who wouldn’t want all this just from making changes to one’s living space? And the good news is that it’s not as hard as it seems!
Inviting nature into an interior space can be done in many ways. Indoor plants, for example, are an obvious choice for use within a biophilic design. Not only are they aesthetically pleasing, but they also cleanse the air with their ability to remove harmful toxins and create more oxygen. Varieties such as rubber plants, peace lilies, and bamboo palms can give the best results. Creating a biophilic interior that will improve health and well-being involves the addition of certain essential components – even a few of these key elements will help improve the overall wellness of the occupant.
Visual Connection to Nature
Incorporate a visual connection to nature with a view of nature or plants, either external or internally. Try organising furniture (such as desks or beds) to face the window or add potted plants in carefully placed positions to bring nature into direct view. In the below image, the desk has been positioned with ample views of nature. This placement can enhance concentration and focus, along with reducing blood pressure.
The inclusion of the colours of nature – green, blue, and brown – is also an easy way to achieve a visual connection to nature. These hues can be added in various shades and tones to create a depth of colour to suggest the changing shades of seasons.
In the below image, the use of green in this setting is used in tonal form in reference to nature. This immediately calms nerves and sets a serene scene. Along with the addition of indoor plants, it creates a complete visual connection to nature.
Non-Visual Connection to Nature
A non-visual connection to nature involves allowing for the sounds of nature to be heard (such as chirping birds, wind rustling leaves on trees, or running water), along with the scent of nature. These can be either authentic or artificial – as long as the subsequent result still refers to nature.
Simply leaving a window open invites sounds and smells (think: freshly cut grass), whilst fresh flowers and strong-smelling citrus fruits or a diffuser with essential oils (with strong floral scents such as lavender or geranium) will spread the scent continuously when placed in common areas.
Ensure fresh air wherever possible, either through the opening of windows or doors, or the installation of a mechanical ventilation system to move the air at a steady pace. This is a simple and effective way to encourage cleaner interior air for a healthier mind.
Natural and Diffused Light
The management of light can be used to mimic nature’s rhythms and create the right mood or ambience. Allow for ample natural light in the interior space during daylight hours and use diffused light in the afternoon or evenings when you want to simply relax.
Try leaving the curtains slightly open when going to bed as this allows natural light to enter the bedroom at the natural wake time, which helps regulate the circadian rhythm, resulting in an enhanced and energised mood throughout the day. Diffused light can be achieved through a sheer curtain or a soft-white light bulb diffused through a fabric or frosted lampshade and strategically positioned in the space to bring in the right ambience.
Presence of Water
The sound or view of water is extremely beneficial in reducing blood pressure and pulse rate. The addition of water features directly outside an interior space can help achieve this.
Plant and Animal Motifs
Nature can easily be added to a space with finishes and objects. Try adding plants and animals in the form of artwork – either as photorealist or abstract pictures, or as plant or flower motif tiles in wet rooms. Wallpapers can be used with impressive effects, bringing the wall to life. The addition of figurines and sculptures is also another great way to add an injection of nature into the interior.
Material Connection to Nature
Add wood or natural stone flooring, along with untreated wood or natural marble, wherever possible. To bring in a softer texture, include furnishings made from wool, cotton, or cashmere. The nature of the material and the contrast of hard materials against soft fibres work together to bring feelings of comfort and ease. In the below image, the use of hardwood flooring finishes off and brings together all the biophilic elements of the space.
Other Elements to Consider
There are other factors that can be included, although these can be slightly more difficult to achieve. It includes the creation of refuge spaces by creating nooks and quiet areas for individuals to unwind in. The ‘allure of mystery’ is another element that can be considered. This effect can be achieved through the inclusion of partitions and semi-transparent window fittings.
The first few weeks of a newborn’s life are fleeting times. Preserve these precious moments by picking the perfect photographer who can take your artistic vision to the next level.
1. Mahvin Photography
Mahvin Haghighatjoo is the go-to newborn photographer in Dubai and there’s no doubting why – her work is absolutely stunning. From classic Disney scenes to fairy woodland arrangements, adorable jungle safari sets, and more, Mahvin can put any vision to reality with her creative use of costumes, props, and backdrops. Her eye for composition and knack for lighting make her the perfect photographer to preserve precious moments that the family will cherish for a lifetime.
With experience in the UAE spanning more than a decade, The Photography Co is a team of leading photographers that specialises in a wide range of photography services. Whether it’s for events, fashion, or babies, this collective of talented individuals provides amazing shots that capture any moment superbly.
The Photography Co, @thephotographyco.ae, Studio 1001, Grosvenor Business Tower, Barsha Heights, 04 514 9896, [email protected]
3. Zoom In Photography
Zoom In Photography is a family-run business that brings happiness to other families. It takes pride in being able to document a child’s journey – from the mother’s pregnancy to a child’s graduation, the team behind Zoom In can capture life’s biggest milestones. Time and convenience is highly valued as well, with its on-location photography packages available at your convenience.
Zoom In Photography, @zoomindxb, Office 506, Level 5, The Icon Tower, Barsha Heights, 055 310 9333, [email protected]
4. Maria Mendez Photography
Maria Mendez is an artist in every sense of the word. She is able to project innocence and joy in her photographs through whimsical settings and minimalist themes. Through artistic use of light and focus, the photographer is able to capture a newborn’s most candid moments.
Maria Mendez Photography, @mariamendez_photography, Meydan South Villas, 056 115 2831, [email protected]
5. Sasha Gow Photography
Sasha Gow is a Dubai-based photographer who boasts an extensive portfolio of maternity, cake smash, and family photography, but she’s got her heart set on capturing newborns. The first few weeks of a baby’s life can slip away quickly, so Sasha believes in taking only the best photos for the family. With her skill set that utilises natural light and studio setting, new parents can rest assured that their baby is in good hands.
Headed by an amazing team of women, You+Baby Studio is a Dubai-based photography team that specialises in newborn, maternity, and family photography. Their modern, sophisticated style combined with creative knowledge of lighting makes their portraits a cut above the rest.
You+Baby Studio, @youbabystudio, Studio 1016, Churchill Tower 1, Business Bay, 058 518 0036, [email protected]
7. Aleksandra Mandic Photography
Aleksandra Mandic is passionate about capturing the most important moments of your family’s life. She prides herself in designing custom scenes perfect for capturing the magic of the newborn’s first few weeks. With her crisp and colourful shots, every family will have quality keepsakes to treasure for years and years to come.
Ghazal Abdullah, more widely known in the industry as Gaga, is highly driven by her passion for family connections. She also always aims to preserve every priceless moment with your newborn through her talent in photography. Gaga has a sizable body of work that comprises projects in tandem with social and environmentally themed organisations as well as maternity, cake smash, and family photography.
Gaga Photography Studio, @gaga_photography, Office 1105, Fifty One Tower, Business Bay, 056 415 4624, [email protected]
9. Loomi Photography
Lama Kabbani has been a photographer for over a decade, and her broad experience is reflected in the way she conducts her photography sessions. Not only does she convert the deep connection of every parent and child through her work, but she also offers a fully equipped studio sure to suit any theme that a family fancies.
Sohail Asim and Suma Asim are a father-daughter team with a combined photography experience of over 25 years. From a baby’s first days to their first steps and beyond, this accomplished team has the ability to help you preserve your child’s every milestone in beautiful photographs.
Mirrorless Photography, @mirrorless.babystudio, 1559 Tamani Arts Tower, Business Bay, 055 564 3954, [email protected]
An Interior Designer’s Take on Pantone’s Colour of the Year
Pallavi Dean talks Very Peri.
If there’s one takeaway from Zanna Roberts Rassi’s recent appearance on The Drew Barrymore Show, it’s that head-to-toe purple is surprisingly flattering. The celebrity stylist (effortlessly) sported a suit made of wide wale corduroy in honour of Very Peri, a periwinkle shade selected by Pantone as Colour of the Year 2022 because it “encourages courageous creativity and imaginative expression”. But while the hue is sure to suit a spectrum of skin tones – already making it popular across the fashion and beauty industries – we can’t help but debate its suitability in the world of interiors. Enter: Pallavi Dean, Founder and Creative Director of boutique interior design studio Roar, for her take on this inquisitive “It” colour.
On Pantone’s pick of Very Peri:
“I feel the Pantone Colour of the Year 2022 taps into a greater movement that places emphasis on personal growth and well-being. Here, colour is used to stimulate our senses while soothing our bodies and our minds. It’s also a symbol of our time and the hybrid world that we currently live in, which flawlessly switches between online and offline.”
On the spaces best suited to Very Peri:
“Pantone tells us that, with Very Peri, it has created a colour that ‘displays a spritely, joyous attitude and dynamic presence’ while reflecting ‘the global innovation and transformation taking place’. In my view, this makes it the perfect hue for a study, a playroom, or a chill-out area – in other words, any space that is designed to promote inspiration, fun, and relaxation.”
On how to incorporate Very Peri into the home:
“I would always recommend starting small, subtly introducing the colour through curtains, cushions, or other elements of soft furnishing, for example. Another easy way to incorporate a new and untested colour in your home is to paint a wall or a segment of a wall – maybe even a door! – to create a visual contrast without overdoing it. And for those of you who are feeling a little bolder, you can experiment further and invest in a beautiful statement piece of furniture to create an unexpected focal point in your interior.”
On using colour psychology when designing spaces:
“Colour is paramount to any interior design scheme. I see it as the glue that brings a project together and gives it consistency, but more importantly, it’s increasingly being used as a way to influence people’s mood. That’s something we’ve been exploring at Roar for a while now, especially as improving the users’ experience through our designs is at the core of what we do.”
On what boosts her own level of creativity:
“I get inspired by all sorts of places and things. Designers are curious beings – we are people who can never switch off our creativity. I think of myself as an antennae, ever ready to tune into the inspiration from a book I’m reading, a place I’ve visited, a walk in nature, or simply listening to my own stillness post-mediation. All these impressions – whether they be triggered by a certain colour, texture, or shape – will consciously (or otherwise) inform my work.”
Sustainability as a way of life has several interpretations and perspectives. That being said, it is important to understand its meaning to correctly apply it in our lives. The Oxford Dictionary definition of sustainability is “the avoidance of the depletion of natural resources in order to maintain an ecological balance”. This means we do not use up the resources that our future generations will need later.
Another definition I came across is this one from Investopedia: “Sustainability is most often defined as meeting the needs of the present without compromising the ability of future generations to meet theirs. It has three main pillars: economic, environmental, and social. These three pillars are informally referred to as people, planet, and profits.” What I love about this definition is that it also considers the money we spend, along with the environment and future generations to come.
Fighting consumerism is a constant battle. We are always tempted to buy more and buy better. When spending our money, we need to be mindful of what we spend it on, so that it can be better used for the more important things in life like education, health, and recreation. If all people bought only what they needed, made that last, and bought less, this planet would be a happier place.
Here’s How You Can Green Your Home Storage
When decluttering and organising a home, you should be aware of what can be donated, repurposed, and recycled. In my experience, many homes already have solutions that can solve many storage problems – they just haven’t been recognised. Here are six tips to help recognise and create storage solutions that are sustainable.
1. Reuse Storage Containers
Be aware of all containers, baskets, and bins in the home. Are there some items that are not really being used to their full potential? Can some be moved to a different cupboard or room where they would make more sense? Often, we buy storage containers for one specific reason. However, as we change over time, our homes change too. The reason you bought that storage item might no longer exist, and it could be repurposed elsewhere.
For example, I might have bought an attractive basket to store my daughter’s toys in the living room and, now that she no longer plays with those toys, I would rather use the same basket in the hallway to store the family sports equipment. Similarly, you might have containers, say, in the kitchen that you no longer need, as you bought some new bins for your fridge. You could take the old ones and reuse them in the bathroom to keep toiletries sorted.
2. Repurpose Furniture
Are the moveable furniture items being used to their full potential? Are those set of drawers being used regularly or for long-term storage? Can you move some furniture into another room or space where it will be better utilised? Some cube storage units can be flipped on their side to create a different look and function. Maybe a set of drawers can be moved from one room to another where it can be better used. Before buying new storage cabinets, analyse what is already in the home. Before throwing old furniture out, check if there is a way that it can be repurposed to provide better storage elsewhere in the home.
3. Buy Neutral Colours
When buying storage items, buy containers that are neutral in colour – clear, white, cream, grey, brown, or black. You might be tempted to buy something with a pop of colour to suit your current aesthetic. However, over time, this might change. And if your storage containers are neutral, they can be kept in a space longer without clashing with the colour scheme. They can also be moved around to different areas of the home, fitting in easily with the surroundings.
When buying hidden storage like containers and bins that go inside cupboards, keep all the colours – preferably white or transparent – identical if possible. This will make the cupboard or cabinet appear calm as the colours are monotone. When buying visual storage items like baskets on display, buy neutral colours or natural textures like wood or grass that can fit in any room you have. Doing this will allow you to keep these items for longer, saving you money to spend on décor rather than storage items.
4. Stick to a Budget
You can find storage items in almost any home store nowadays. Plastic bins, fabric boxes, and natural baskets are available in most shops at various prices. Let’s say you’re buying a bin for your kitchen pantry. This bin has one purpose: to store your kitchen goods. However, you can spend three times the money on a similar container from a high-end store compared to a budget store. There is no logical reason to spend more money on an item that performs the same function as the cheaper item.
Fortunately, most storage items are neutral-hued, so there is very little difference to the look of the item. Storage items that are on display do require a bit more attention as you want it to look good in your home. With some knowledge of where to find these, you will be surprised at the price difference of the same wicker basket or any fancy container from one store to the next.
5. Label Only if Needed
Many people promote labelling containers all over the home so that their family members know exactly where everything goes. This is very helpful for some areas, especially if you have a large family and things like toys, school items, and clothing get mixed up easily. Labelling also helps maintain storage systems, as everyone knows where to put things back after using them.
However, if you are in a small household, knowing where things go becomes a habit quickly. The problem with labelling all containers is it limits the use of the storage box. Make sure labels are not too specific, and address what you always have in the home. For example, a “spaghetti” container is good if you always have spaghetti, but not good if you only buy it sporadically. If you want to reuse containers elsewhere or for different food items, then a label can be limiting. Be mindful of what labels are necessary for organising your home.
6. Think Green
When storing items, think about what you buy and how environmentally friendly it is. Can it be recycled, or can you use it for a long time? To be sustainable, constantly remind yourself of where our unwanted items go – the majority end up in landfills. Find ways to reduce what you throw away. Donate or give away old storage items. You will be surprised how many people appreciate such items.
If you get bored of your storage containers, repurpose them for use elsewhere around the home instead of buying more. Painting them is a quick solution for a change of colour. Spray paint is easy to buy and refreshes visual storage items instantly. When you do throw away containers, bags, and bins, put them in the recycling bin if possible. Be mindful about the waste your home creates and minimise it as much as you can. This is the easiest way to help protect our planet.
We are wired to feel calm and relaxed when surrounded by nature. By decorating your home with plants, you can not only change the mood of your house, but also how you feel. Did you know scientists have proven that houseplants improve concentration and productivity by 15%? Stress levels have also been found to decrease when surrounded by plants.
Through the process of photosynthesis, plants clean the air by removing toxins. They also release oxygen, which helps us sleep. Some plants in particular release oxygen at night – think: succulents, snake plants, and orchids. Besides the health benefits of having plants in your home, there are many other reasons why you should get some greenery going on in the house. Not only are plants an economical decor solution, but they also speak to the soul and make life interesting.
This quote resonates with me, because my garden speaks directly to my soul, making me feel happy and calm. Having just a few houseplants can create the same effect. They are happiness that is right at our hands.
Calm the Home with Plants
Over the last 12 years of moving homes around Dubai, I have learnt a lot about what plants work for me and my home. I have also learnt quick and simple ways to make plants add to the aesthetic value of a room, asides from harnessing its health benefits. Here are my five top tips on how to get greenery that works for you in your home.
1. Have at least two or three plants in a room.
Have a good look around your home. Which empty spaces can be served better with plants? Overall, I recommend having at least two or three plants in each room. Scan each and identify places where plants could go. Start in the living room, and think about where you could feature plants that would catch your eye as you walk in.
Remember, you can get plants of all sizes and heights, and even use hanging baskets. Bathrooms should have at least one plant in it. This helps to soften all the tiling used in a bathroom. It should be a place where you can relax as having plants will help create the ambience. In the bedroom, look if there is space next to the bed or a spot where a larger plant can go on the floor. Bedrooms need plants to nurture our sleep and soften our mood.
2. Choose real and artificial plants.
Some people steer away from having plants in their homes because they worry that they can’t look after them properly. Being knowledgeable about which plants are low maintenance is helpful, and using artificial plants is an amazing solution for those of us who do not have green fingers.
Believe it or not, it is perfectly okay to use artificial plants to bring greenery into your home. In the past, this was often frowned upon, but ironically, it’s now trending. Designers are coming up with authentic-looking plants that give the same feel and mood to a room – just like the real thing. It has also been proven that even pictures of plants reduce stress levels. So, if you are one of those people who have avoided plants because they don’t survive well, get some artificial plants to lift the mood in your home and make it feel calm.
When choosing a real indoor plant, there are some factors to consider. Think about the lighting in a room. Plants need light to survive, but be careful of hot spots where there might be too much direct sunlight. On the flip side, bathrooms do not often have enough natural light, so I would recommend an artificial plant or houseplants that do not require much light – such as the spider plant, the snake plant, and the pothos – for such spaces.
The pothos (also known as “money plant” or “Devil’s Ivy”) is one of my favourite plants as it is so easy to maintain and grows quickly, filling spaces with its beautiful bright green leaves. It is also easy to propagate and great for hanging planters. Succulents are another great low-maintenance option. They come in different varieties and can be very attractive and interesting.
3. Vary the heights and types of plants.
When you enter a room, having a selection of plants creates interest and encourages the eye to move along those areas. The space where you choose to place your plant will affect its height. If you have a large open corner, you can either put a large potted high plant or use a hanging basket with a plant that has long tendrils to fill that space. Plants on coffee tables may need a smaller leaf span so they do not dominate the space. Tiny spaces, meanwhile, can be filled with succulents. Various types of houseplants that can be used include the spider plant, the snake plant, the orchid, the pothos, the fiddle-leaf fig, bamboo shoots, and the peace lily.
4. Have fun with the pots and hangers.
Now it is time to get creative and have some fun! When choosing a plant pot, look at the decor style in the room and try to complement it. For example, if you have a modern living room, mostly in blues and whites, perhaps you should look at natural grass baskets or silver pots. It will depend on your style and what other accents are already in the room. If you already have grass or jute, go with natural-looking pots. If you want pops of colour, plant pots are a great way to do this.
Using macrame hangers to add interest in a room is a must. Some hangers are more traditional, but you can also find some unique hangers that could suit your style – hangers with metal chains, leather, rope, or a variety of beads for example. For real plants, make sure your pots have drainage to allow for the excess water to drip out. If not, your plants could die from rot or overwatering. Be mindful about how much water you use, making sure there is no overwatering. Touch the soil with your finger to see if it is dry. If it is not completely dry, your plant may only need a little water or wait another day before watering it.
5. Nurture and Love your plants
When a plant dies, we may feel sad and disappointed. Nurturing a plant is a responsibility, and we can build a bond with that plant over time, especially when we see how well it is growing or blooming. Feeling proud of our plants is a positive feeling, one that adds happiness to our daily lives.
You may need to re-pot your plants from time to time when the soil loses its nutrients. Your plant will thank you in a few days by looking so much better. Adding plants to your home will immediately lift your mood, reduce stress levels, and increase your productivity. Calm that clutter and love the home you live in!