Spring shopping in London is a capital idea as summer weather in the UAE starts to soar.
M is all about: stilettos, teas and a snappy read
The heat is here, and that means no trendy "summer" scarves, afternoon strolls, weekend picnics or - more importantly - painful stilettos. We've all been in that situation where dealing with swollen, hot feet is easier in flat pumps than in platform peep-toes. However, if you cannot give up your high heel obsession,and want to enjoy London's fresh spring weather, the "Paint The Town Red" package is for you. Christian Louboutin has teamed up with the Mandarin Oriental Hyde Park for a night's stay at the hotel complete with a mani/pedi and a private shopping day in the hidden "Library Room" of their Mount Street shop. In addition, the hotel is conveniently located between Harvey Nichols, Harrods and Sloane Street in Knightsbridge so you can find the perfect outfit to suit your new shoes. The offer is available till December.
Approximately Dh3,060 for two, to reserve call +44 (0) 207 235 2000, or go to www.mandarinoriental.com
A snappy read
We do love a good catty book to pore over when we're in a particularly waspish mood, so when we came across this book by the Vanity Fair fashion and style director Michael Roberts, we knew it was going to be a hit. Who better than him to give us an A to Z of fashion casualties accompanied by his own illustrations? Each spread is dedicated to a letter in the alphabet, with one string of witty poetry after another.
Dh104, Fashion Victims: The Catty Catalogue of Stylish Casualties from A to Z by Michael Roberts, Boutique 1, The Walk, Jumeirah Beach Residence, 04 425 7888; Mirdif City Centre, 04 284 3777, and elsewhere; www.boutique1.com
Sick and tired of using a folded-up piece of paper to prop open the M magazine door, we were delighted to stumble across these cute and innovative doorstops. Designed by the UK home accessories company Dora Designs in celebration of its 20th anniversary, the cheeky range of whimsical characters includes Jem the pony, Yorkie the Yorkshire terrier, Percy Brocklehurst the badger, Barkley the bassett hound and more. The mind boggles but at least the door won't slam.
Dh165, Harvest Home, Jumeirah Centre, 04 342 0225
Tea for me
What do you buy for a person who has everything? We all know a special (read: difficult) person for whom you struggle to find a perfect gift every year. Suggestions have included jewellery (too boring), hot air ballooning (done it twice already) and concert tickets (been, and got the T-shirt). But here's an idea that we bet they don't have: Blends for Friends is a company that can custom-make tea blends with a particular personality in mind. All you do is provide character details of the recipient, and those in the know at Blends for Friends use their tea tasting and blending knowledge (plus a pinch of creativity) to craft a highly personalised cuppa. And not only is the tea named after the person but he or she gets a personalised recipe describing the traits you mentioned. The teas are a huge hit at the Selfridges Food Hall in London and now international delivery is available online. Every original blend costs Dh162 plus postage and for every reordered blend the cost is only Dh42 plus postage. Go on, put the kettle on!
There's something so je ne sais quoi about monochrome, and it always looks so sharp and elegant. There's no wonder it's such a hit on the catwalks, from the delicate black lace renderings of Valentino to the inspiring dark make-up of the blockbuster movie Black Swan. We love this hand-painted liquorice striped chest and immediately want to line the humbug drawers with our new black and white clothes.
Dh3,100, The Conran Shop, www.conranshop.co.uk
Accessorising for men is about as boring as tying your shoelaces; a standard formula of tie clip, belt, cufflinks and watch. There's not much to distinguish any of them from the formula of dark leather, steel and gold - unless you combine all three elements, as in this Bernard Richards Manufacturer (BRM) R-50 watch. It was designed to resemble the inside of a motorcycle engine with a transparent case to showcase the craftsmanship details. What's more, it can tell time!
Dh94,950, Azal, Emirates Towers, 04 330 0730