If, like us, you are keen to enjoy the balmy weather while it lasts, grab some friends and a spirit of adventure and try a traditional pearl diving experience. For hundreds of years, the world's finest pearls were found in the Arabian Gulf, and starting next month you can have the chance to learn about and take part in this ancient practice. The journey starts at the Jumeirah Beach Hotel, where once you've donned your traditional diving clothing, you'll be whisked away on an authentic dhow to use original pearl diving methods to collect oysters in the shallow waters of the Gulf. Onboard the dhow, singing and storytelling will while away the time, as Emirati fish and rice dishes are served for lunch.
Starting on March 2, pearl diving takes place Tuesday to Saturday. Participants leave Jumeirah Beach Hotel at 9am and return at 3pm; Dh700 for adults and Dh500 for children under 12. For further information, call the Pavilion Dive Centre, Jumeirah Beach Hotel, 04 406 8828, firstname.lastname@example.org
When it comes to outdoor places to meet up with friends or to kick off your weekend, there can never be too many options. B-Lounge by Beachcomber is the latest venue where you can relax over a glass or two after a hard week in the capital. Opened on Thursday, the lounge is nestled around lush palm trees of the Sheraton Abu Dhabi and features chill-out seating, Arabic cushions, a fire pit and an amphitheatre that hosts live performances and a live DJ every Thursday night. With speculation of an "Open Mic" night starting soon, being a lounge lizard just got more interesting.
B-Lounge by Beachcomber, weekdays from 6pm-11pm, weekends until midnight. Sheraton Abu Dhabi Hotel & Resort, 02 677 3333
A Khalifa Fund initiative to empower women in the Western Region is gaining momentum throughout the UAE, and every stylish woman in town will want to be in on the action. The Sougha initiative started with just seven women using ancient Emirati Bedouin weaving techniques to craft items including make-up cases (such as the one pictured), handbags and key chains, and now there are more than 200 women involved. You can pick up your own piece of Emirati heritage (and help preserve it) by investing in one of their gorgeous products.
Make-up case, Dh150, available from the Sougha stall in the Central Market in Abu Dhabi or on Etihad Airways in-flight shopping. For more information email Sougha@khalifafund.gov.ae or call 02 696 0000
The Sultans of Silver
The Empty Quarter gallery in Dubai has brought together regional and international photographers for its Sultans of Silver exhibition. The bright talents are showcasing work inspired by the Middle Eastern region and range from Sheikh Khalid bin Hamad bin Ahmad Al Thani from the Qatari royal family to the Emirati photographers Omar Alzaabi and Nasser Al Hameli as well as London-based Sami Nabeel and Austrian Joseph Hoflehner. The images, mainly of landscapes in the region shot in black-and-white, evoke a calm eeriness characteristic of vintage scenic photography,
The Empty Quarter, Gate Village, Building 2, 04 323 1210
Too nervous to don that bikini? Why not start the year by giving your body and soul some much needed attention? The Dubai day spa and wellness centre The Balance Club has just launched 14-day and 21-day detoxification programmes including yoga and pranayama breathing, an ayurvedic diet prescribed by its ayurvedic doctor, and special treatments such as detox massages and facials to cleanse the body of its toxins. This is a great way to avoid those temptations of all that winter comfort eating.
Basic detox programme starts at Dh3,500. For more information, call 04 384 7010; www.balance-wellness-centre.com
Let us eat cake
Whether you're feeling homesick, in need of comfort food or just fancy a sweet treat, the Ajman Kempinki's new pastry chef, Alexander Haebe, can meet your needs. The German cake master with more than 27 years' experience offers a succulent butter pudding, plum crumble, almond Bienenstich (a German speciality) and devil's food cake, among many others. Just an hour from Dubai, the hotel's cafe beats any afternoon tea we've had for a long while and is well worth the trip, the stunning Gulf view and the extra calories.
Cafe on One, Ajman Kempinski, Ajman Corniche, 06 714 5555
Bow me up
Finding quirky bow ties in the UAE is a challenging mission, and the attempt at a geek chic look for our men too often fails. We came across these hipster bow ties on AMDmode, a website solely dedicated to male fashion created by the Dubai-based designer Ahmed Daabas. Wear with a funky shirt, scruffy jeans and worn boots for a Lower East Side feel. But keep the hair gel to a minimum to avoid taking the trend to a ridiculous level.
From Dh500; e-mail email@example.com