Fancy making your own piece of history? In a special project inspired by its forthcoming exhibition, Quilts 1700-2010, the Victoria & Albert museum in London has opened up its archives to produce a stunning range of quilting fabrics. The quarters, which can be shipped internationally and are available for pre-order now, have been designed in a collaboration between Liberty Art Fabrics and the V&A shop, and consist of 18 vintage patterns, each given a contemporary update. Prices start at £3.50 (Dh21) per section (plus post and packaging), or you can buy 36 pieces for £30 (Dh170). Since the project is aimed at quilting novices, the museum's fabric curator, Sue Pritchard, has also written a book, Patchwork For Beginners (£6.99, Dh41), a practical guide to the techniques and tools to help you tackle five simple projects. Order online at www.vandashop.com.
The Abu Dhabi Quilt Guild meets at 9.30am on the first Thursday of each month at the UAE University Building (10th floor) on Baihuna Street. All are welcome, from beginners to practised quilters. The guild currently has 70 members and offers a large selection of quilting books, as well as the chance to swap your fabrics. Membership costs Dh100 annually, plus Dh20 per meeting. For more information, contact Theresa Bushnell on 050 329 3678.
The Address Dubai Mall now has a team of personal fashion advisers for its guests, to help with styling or shopping queries. We posed one of them, Amanda Harper, with a few of our own.
1. I'm going to an Emirati wedding. What should I wear and where should I go to get it?
If you are a non-Emirati it is generally acceptable to wear a cocktail dress that sits below knee-length when you are seated and has three-quarter sleeves or at least an arm covering below the elbow. The neckline is generally kept to display as much of your real jewellery and precious stones as possible. However, some weddings are more conservative and require a full length skirt/evening dress. There is no need to cover your head. In both cases I would direct you to stores that have colourful dresses and separates - so choose a clutch, sky-high heels (if your feet will allow) and your favourite scent. If you want to splash out, go to the Dubai Mall's Fashion Avenue, where all the famous designer brands are.
2. My husband wants a tailor-made suit: where should he go and what should he look for? For a truly tailor-made suit that is designed, stitched and fitted according to his own specific measurement and shape, Ascot & Chapels in the Souk Al Bahar offers Savile Row quality tailoring. They have 1,000 cloths and more than 100 linings to choose from, taking anything from two to four fittings to finish the process. With so much choice, you may need our fashion advisory service to advise on the correct weight, style and cut alongside the master tailor's trained eye. For something semi-bespoke that has an equally high attention to detail, try Tom Ford's private collection, where you are guided through a range of cuts, fabrics and styles in their exclusive client room. 3. I'm in town just for the weekend and want to buy a pair of quality diamond earrings, but I don't want to break the bank. Where should I go? Diamond earrings are a girl's best investment. Try the Gold Souk in the Dubai Mall, with a vast selection of diamond jewellery in white gold, yellow gold, as well as platinum - just make sure the setting you choose suits your skin tone. One final tip is to look for stud diamond earrings, as this makes them look their brightest. Aim to buy the brightest at a cost that is within your budget; avoid worrying too much about clarity and colour. What you should focus on is the carat weight and cut, making the diamonds in your stud earrings look bigger and sparkle more. 4. The strap just broke off my Manolos: is there a place to get shoes repaired? For designer items (including your Manolos) always remember to try the original store as the first port of call. Manolo Blahnik will repair heels here. However, they may need to send away for a strap repair depending on how bad the damage is. For a speedy repair, you might zip down to Minutes located near the supermarket in the Dubai Mall. For a small sum, they will fix most things in a few minutes. Always remember to maintain your shoes with a good polish as they absorb the moisturising oils better and to fix scratches and worn soles as soon as you can to enjoy the full life of your investment. The hotel's Fashion Dilemma session includes a meeting with an adviser, create a "wish list" and come up with a shopping plan at key stores. The two-hour session costs Dh960 for guests of the hotel. The Address Dubai Mall, 04 438 8888.
Plan your routine visits to the doctor and the dentist within the same week, and try to do the same for everyone in your family. That way, you only have to file your paperwork with the insurance company once, and you'll have time to file for any follow-up visits as well. And if you also have to pick up your reimbursement, you'll only have one trip to make.