Plus: YogaLife magazine and liquid laundry detergent.
What we're loving: South African butchers and the Fauchon Le Café
South African food
Biltong, boerewors, droëwors, spitbraai and sosaties. If these words mean anything to you, I have some very good news for you. Nestled in the meat market in Mina Zayed is the Springbok Butchery. This excellent South African butchery takes orders and will create and marinade all your braai (BBQ) favourites.
The cuts of meat are always huge, tasty, lean and deliciously flavoured with a blend of uniquely South African spice mixtures. The butchery sells its spice mixes separately should you want to do your own preparation. It also offers an excellent home delivery service.
South African cuisine is having its moment in the spotlight - and for good reason! Grab your chance to make yours at home. For more information, call 056 673 2583 or email firstname.lastname@example.org
* Felicity Campbell
Fauchon Le Café
Having almost zero interest in designer labels, I had no inclination to visit the Avenue at Etihad Towers luxury shopping centre.
But recently a friend suggested we meet at the mall's Fauchon Le Café for a swift bite to eat. Expecting the cost of the meal to be commensurate with the other exorbitantly priced shops in the vicinity, I was dubious.
Thankfully, the gnawing worry that I might need to increase my overdraft after the meal was unfounded. Not only was the food and coffee as excellent as you'd expect from a cafe chain that originated in Paris, it was remarkably affordable. For example, at which other high-end eatery can you order a full English breakfast, with coffee and juice, and still pocket some change from a Dh50 note?
* Hugo Berger
With the debut of the Dubai-based monthly magazine YogaLife, it's official: the international yoga phenomenon has firmly taken root in the UAE.
With a plethora of studios and workshops in Dubai, as well as two annual festivals, a growing scene in Abu Dhabi and Al Ain and an explosion of interest in everything wellness, there will be no lack of stories to cover.
As the editor Meera Ashish wrote in January's debut, the aim is to bring together the "UAE's rapidly expanding community of yoga, food, wellness and everything that is alternative and natural".
Printed on luxe, thick matte paper, the first issue offered page after page of goodies, including interviews with the yoga star Kathryn Budig, wise words from Deepak Chopra and some yummy-looking warm winter soups. It also included a list of forthcoming workshops - both local and international - that will come in handy, as I always seem to find out about them after they've happened.
I can't wait to pick up the February issue, which includes an interview with another yoga master, Max Strom, about yoga and balance, offers feng shui love tips and revisits John Gray's Men are From Mars, Women are From Venus phenomenon, 20 years later, ahead of the relationship guru's February 26 workshop at Dubai's Mall of the Emirates. Dh20 on news-stands now (on sale in Abu Dhabi at Bodytree Studio).
* Ann Marie McQueen
Liquid laundry detergent
I have no idea why anyone would bother using powder detergent when the liquid variety exists. I was well and truly fed up with finding white splotches of undissolved powder on my darks after a wash; there's nothing worse than trying to get a stubborn white patch off of a pair of well-loved dark denims. This is especially true of cotton materials: my navy cotton trousers and my dark tank tops look terrible when I use powdered detergent, even if I take the time to dissolve the stuff in some water first. Which is why I figured I had nothing to lose when I picked up a bottle of Persil's Abaya Shampoo. It claims to preserve the "black metre" of an abaya, but I've never tested that, as I don't wear abayas myself. It does, however, more than preserve the "black metre" of all my black clothing, and I've taken to using it on all my dark clothes. I can't recommend it enough: it's so easy to pour onto clothes or into the washing machine's little drawer, rather than have to measure that powdery stuff and risk spilling powder everywhere.
* Hala Khalaf
For more of what we're loving, go to www.thenational.ae/whatwereloving