Take the edge off summer with some of our latest favourite things.
What We're Loving: beach yoga, dance classes, The Deal, David Grann
I'm counting down to the cooler weather because that means one of my favourite things about living in the UAE will be back on. Beach yoga sessions on the Corniche, organised by Laila Dajani and her cadre of cool teachers through the website www.theyogajuice.com, provide a completely different Abu Dhabi experience. My favourite is the 90-minute evening class, which starts when it is still light and ends in darkness. No other activity comes close to helping me find peace and focus, and I go to great lengths to make sure I can get to at least one a week. There is no feeling quite like resting for a few minutes in savasana after a tough class, feeling a cooling breeze, then sitting up stretched and refreshed to see the twinkling lights of Marina Mall. Check www.theyogajuice.com for the new schedule. Classes must be booked ahead, online. Dh60 total including beach access.
* Ann Marie McQueen
Dance your way to fitness
Now there's really no excuse for me not to exercise, with the arrival of a brand new 4,000 square foot dance studio located a mere hop, skip and jump from my office. James & Alex Dance Studios, located on the eighth floor of Concord Tower in Dubai's Media City, boasts three studios and offers the full gamut of classes from hip-hop, Zumba and tango to yoga and pole fitness. Here's the best bit; classes start from a very reasonable Dh45 and run throughout the day from 2pm until 10pm during the week. I defy you to find a better package deal than its Zumba Summer Special, which runs until September 31. Purchase five classes for just Dh150 or 10 for Dh274. For details, call 04 447 0773 or visit www.jamesandalex.com.
* Rebecca McLaughlin-Duane
Have you stumbled across The Deal store in Abu Dhabi's Mushrif Mall yet? It's on the ground floor of the shopping centre, to the left of the entrance, and it's a mini-outlet fashion haven. It stocks such brands as Polo Ralph Lauren, Marc Jacobs, Celine and Lacoste, and its Geox shoes are of the finest-quality leather. I love rummaging through the racks, searching for an unexpected find at an unbelievable discount. The store also stocks some excellent Swarovski items and designer fragrances as well - all with reduced prices of course. It's definitely a place to check out for that discounted treasure you never knew was exactly what you needed to make your life complete.
* Hala Khalaf
I'm always on the hunt for a book that'll define my summer, and this latest acquisition may be it. I've just bought a copy of The Devil and Sherlock Holmes: Tales of Murder, Madness and Obsession, by The New York Times bestselling author David Grann, and so far, it's gripping - although it's not your typical summer read. In this book, Grann sets out on dangerous journeys to report on a dozen real-life mysteries. His spellbinding stories include accounts of the unusual circumstances surrounding the death of a leading expert on Sherlock Holmes, an examination of a notorious prison gang, and a man on the brink of execution. These true accounts offer a glimpse into the lives of people bound by obsessions.
* Maey El Shoush
After the Microplane grater which I've mentioned before, my second favourite piece of kitchen kit is a Japanese mandolin. Not many people I know own one, but I promise, for the hundred or so dirhams that it will cost you to buy, you won't regret it. What the mandolin does is allow you to slice ingredients to a perfect, uniform thickness, quickly, so not only do you get a perfect end result, you also save time doing so. Use a mandolin for slicing potatoes for dauphinoise once and you won't want to go back to cutting them by hand. It's also great at producing wafer thin vegetables for salads or even shaving Parmesan - just take care when doing so. Mandolins are very sharp indeed.
* Emily Shardlow