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We recommend our favourite websites for incurable online shopaholics.
We recommend our favourite websites for incurable online shopaholics.

Our favourite things: Kayaking, online clothing shops, TuneIn Radio

Each week, the Arts&Life team will share their secret pleasures. We review the services, products and places we love around the UAE.

Kayaking in Abu Dhabi's mangroves

This is my favourite outdoor activity in the capital, and yes, I know that humidity levels will be on the rise soon, but before temperatures really sky rocket, I recommend taking a kayaking tour around Abu Dhabi's mangroves. The scenery is stunning, and with any luck, you'll spot plenty of marine life lurking in the lagoons. It feels a world away from the city and all that paddling is great exercise for the arms. Guided tours start at Dh150 per person; for more information see http://noukhada.ae or email info@noukhada.ae.

* Emily Shardlow

Online shopping sites for incurable shopaholics

In my daily planner, towards the end, hidden on an inconspicuous page, I have a list. I take great pride in that list. I refer to it lovingly, several times a week, and feel a tiny frisson of excitement every time that list grows.

It's my record of all the great shopping sites that deliver straight to the UAE, and straight to my front door. They also provide great eye candy for an afternoon of window shopping and outfit inspiration. Do allow me to share my top five:

www.theoutnet.come. Discounted designwear and accessories, located in the UK and a brainchild of the Net-A-Porter site, this is the place to go for over 200 brands. New items are added on a weekly basis.

www.asos.com. Unbelievably affordable, fashionable and on trend clothes; this is possibly my favourite.

www.shopbop.com. Free worldwide delivery on orders over $100, designer goods, the chance to create a wish list and a regularly updated lookbook for outfit ideas, this site is a shopper's paradise.

www.bhldn.com. Bohemian designs that have a touch of vintage on them, this is an offshoot of the American chain Anthropologie (which also is a favourite). Brides-to-be, bookmark this site.

www.shabbyapple.com. Demure, modest dresses that evoke the 1940s, 1950s and 1960s, Shappy Apple provides a return to femininity.

* Hala Khalaf

TuneIn Radio

While the UAE may have a decent stock of radio stations, it's true that some esoteric musical tastes are not catered for. If you're not keen on any local station, or if you just miss your favourite show in your home nation, you should probably download this free Apple and Android app. What TuneIn Radio does is stream thousands of radio stations from scores of countries around the globe direct onto your computer or smartphone. So, you'll never need to dial through the band waves bemoaning that you can't find anything you like ever again.

* Hugo Berger

Bought It, Love It, Can't Live Without It: Clothes steamer

I bought it the night before my wedding, to make sure that white dress is pristine and wrinkle free, and I haven't looked back since. Because of this upright steamer, I have never needed nor used an iron. Wrinkles are so easily "ironed" out simply be sweeping the head of the steamer, as it emits steam (careful!) gently across the surface of anything in need of attention. Suits, shirts, ties, T-shirts, dresses, gowns; I've even taken to steaming lingerie, tableclothes, linen napkins and curtains. The long handle means it's easy to use, and I cannot for the life of me figure out why people still use irons and ironing tables when such an invention exists. I bought mine from E-City on the top floor of Wahda Mall for just over Dh200, but I'm pretty sure that you can find these upright clothes steamers anywhere.

* Hala Khalaf

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 Styled with bleached bobs and pale skin, the models wore clean and sporty separates reminiscent of the chic workwear of The Hunger Games. Courtesy Getty Images

Fashion Forward: Thoughtful tailoring at Asudari

The womenswear label Asudari showcased a collection that featured sharp masculine tailoring, but with feminine silhouettes.

Styled with bleached bobs and pale skin, the models wore clean and sporty separates reminiscent of the chic workwear of The Hunger Games.

Designer Lamia Asudari says she was influenced by Delftware ceramics from the 16th century, as well as the imagery of weaponry and artillery. Indeed, pistols, grenades and guns were emblazoned over jackets and dresses.

 Several of Jo Baaklini's pieces featured fruit prints. Courtesy Getty Images

Fashion Forward: At Starch, watermelon shirts, anyone?

“We need to cultivate our own fashion heroes — our own regional brands,” stressed Fashion Forward’s honcho Bong Guerrero in a press con two weeks ago.

Aptly, the slot for this season’s opening runway show was given to two newbies: Jo Baaklini and Timi Hayek, whose talents were scouted by Starch, a group dedicated to launching emerging Lebanese designers.

Between the two, Mr Baaklini had a stronger showing.

 Jean Louis Sabaji’s collection was very good when the tricks were toned down — like the simple white jumpsuit with a sculptural neckpiece. Stuart C. Wilson / Getty Images

Fashion Forward: Jean Louis Sabaji’s debatable debut

Jean Louis Sabaji’s collection was very good when the tricks were toned down — like the simple white jumpsuit with a sculptural neckpiece, the floral crop top, and the radiant yellow pleated skirt.

But most of the time he went too far. There were bell-bottoms, separates that looked like costumes from The Jetsons, and a yellow dress reminiscent of Bjork’s infamous Oscars swan dress — several disparate elements in one multicoloured, multilayered show.

 Launched in 2009 by childhood friends Arwa Abdelhadi and Basma Abu Ghazaleh, Kage bills itself as a label whose “ultimate goal is to design a collection appealing to all.” Courtesy Getty Images

Fashion Forward: Kage pleases all palates

Did the designers of Kage aim to showcase every type of basic clothing on their latest show?

Because there were skirts, shorts, trousers, off-shoulder tops, short dresses, cocktail dresses, long flowy dresses, spaghetti straps, jackets, hoods — and even pyjamas, which with the incoming summer heat, looked especially appealing.

Launched in 2009 by childhood friends Arwa Abdelhadi and Basma Abu Ghazaleh, Kage bills itself as a label whose “ultimate goal is to design a collection appealing to all”, they said in their statement.

 The standout was a grey hooded cape that created a tension between edge and elegance. Courtesy Getty Images

Fashion Forward: Polish, craft (and fur!) at The Emperor 1688

The best show of Day 1 at Fashion Forward was delivered by the three Golkar brothers behind The Emperor 1688.

The coats and capes were the clear winners: they came in all sorts of interesting colours and sizes — and featured exceptionally tailored proportions. There was a lot of volume, but also stiffness.

And whimsy: two favourites were a green double-breasted suit and a blue overcoat with a red clover pattern and gold buttons.

 Midway through Ezra's show, snow started falling from the ceiling. Ian Gavan / Getty Images for Fashion Forward

Fashion Forward: Ezra stuns in snow-covered show

Turns out the Filipino designer Ezra, known for his dreamy couture, still had a few surprises up his sleeve.

Midway through his show, snow started falling from the ceiling.

It created a starkly beautiful atmosphere for his intricately constructed gowns that seemed to be designed for an Ice Queen transported back to the 1950s.

He showed a collection that had a lot of technical firepower behind it: glittering iridescent fabrics paired with head and neckpieces that were moulded and stiffened to stand out in odd angles.

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