Cooking up a storm
Don't know your fattoush from your fatayel? Neither did we until we took an Arabic cooking class from the chef de cuisine Wafaei Al Zaham at The Yas Hotel. With a small group observing in the kitchens, the atmosphere was authentic but casual and questions were encouraged. Our menu featured four Arabic dishes: a traditional mezzeh, two salad starters and a delicious, crowd-pleasing main course, ma mouzat bil laban (lamb shank with yogurt). We watched the enthusiastic chef peel, chop, baste and boil as he shared his culinary knowledge.
Though we were slightly disappointed that we didn't do any cooking ourselves, this is an educational treat for anyone who appreciates food and would like a lesson or two in the kitchen. Plus, every attendee is sent home with the recipes from the class along with an apron and a toque. Better hurry, though,as there are only two sessions remaining. Arabic cooking class including class, two beverages and dinner at Atayeb (exclusive of beverages),
July 20 and July 27, Dh375, The Yas Hotel, www.TheYasHotel.com
We all have a piece of jewellery that can just "make" an outfit. It might echo or complement thecolours, or it might be a shape and texture that enhances the neckline. Without the bling, the outfit would be a poorer thing. No one knows this better than the jewellery maker Pandora. Their personalised charm bracelets have become the latest must-have accessory dangling from the wrists of the who's who. But for this summer, it's all about the hand-tied look; the new Pandora Macrame hand-tied bracelets are based on ancient Arabic weaving traditions. Choose from a range of vibrant colours and adorn them with gold or silver charms. We're sold. Macrame bracelets, Dh295, Pandora, Mercato Mall, 04 349 1967; Mirdif City Centre, 04 283 9611
Have your cake and eat it
It's not often we get to go for a blow-out meal and still feel virtuous. But Sofitel hotel in Jumeirah Beach Residence, Dubai, has concocted a new fit menu where we can indulge in a three-course meal without worrying about our waistlines. The Dh190 extravaganza in the decadent purple setting of Rococo restaurant comes in at under 450 calories and includes a courgette salad, grilled chicken breast with baby spinach and a cheesecake made with low-fat cream cheese and topped with raspberry coulis. The obliging chef will even whip up a vegetarian alternative main if chicken is not your thing, skimping on oil and butter to save you worrying about piling on the pounds. The deal includes 20 minutes on a vibrating Vibrogym machine in the hotel gym to help you tone up. Fit menu runs until the end of July.
Sofitel JBR, Dubai, 04 448 4870, www.sofitel.com
The mane event
We're coveting Kate Middleton's long, luscious locks, but ours are looking a little frizzy and unmanageable thanks to the summer humidity. So when we spotted these fabulous new limited-edition GHD Iconic Era sets, we snapped them up. Each set contains the GHD Gold Classic styler, a stunning bag representing the era that gives a nod to this season's catwalk trends, plus an exclusive "get-the-look" book showing you how to achieve the style. Fifties glamour, Seventies boho chic or Eighties new wave is just a tong away. The Iconic Era's Gift Sets, Dh 1,150, Harvey Nichols, Mall of the Emirates, 04 409 8888
The case of the red car
When we first bought our iPad we thought it would be a great idea to go for a plain waterproof/scratchproof cover. But then like all plain things, we got bored with it. A quick trip to Boom & Mellow solved that problem with this adorable (but still protective) case from Sarah's Bag. The Lebanese brand is our go-to for accessories with a Middle Eastern flair, and are perfect for spicing up what could be a rather average bag/wallet/case. Dh530, Boom & Mellow, Mall of the Emirates, 04 341 3993; Mirdif City Centre, 04 284 0609
When it comes to sunglasses it's always worth investing in a great pair that are simple and well-made. Forget the bling-tastic, plastic or worse, brightly coloured frames and go for something more feminine. These from Tom Ford tick all the right boxes for us - and their value won't depreciate after a few years. These bad boys will never become "untrendy", so you're sure to wear them for many seasons to come. Dh1,850, Boutique 1, The Walk, Jumeirah Beach Residence, 04 425 7888, and elsewhere; www.boutique1.com