x Abu Dhabi, UAETuesday 23 January 2018

What We're Loving: Helicopter tours, Teavana, buses and wholesome snacks

A roundup of our favourite things this week.

The Burj Al Arab seen from above. Karim Sahib / AFP
The Burj Al Arab seen from above. Karim Sahib / AFP

I have fallen in love with Dubai all over again after recently taking a panoramic tour of the city by helicopter. Having cruised on a dhow, bashed some dunes and camped in the desert a hundred times, I was hankering after a new tourist experience for my visitors last month. And so it was that I booked a chopper through Alpha Tours, located next to Atlantis Hotel on Dubai's Palm Jumeirah. After a quick safety briefing, and obligatory weigh-in, we clambered aboard a gleaming five-seater Eurocopter. The views of the city were spectacular, showing the Burj Al Arab, Burj Khalifa, world islands and Jumeirah mosque to best effect. We opted for the 15-minute tour - with commentary from the pilot - which was a surprisingly reasonable Dh795 per person and worth every dirham for the photographs alone. Longer tours are also available as well as private hire should you wish to be picked up from the airport or save yourself a drive to the capital. Give it a go! Flights of fancy don't get much better than this.

Tel 04 294 9888 or visit www.alphatoursdubai.com for details

* Rebecca McLaughlin-Duane


I have always described this shop as "Willy Wonka's factory for teas", and I am so happy that it has finally opened its first store in the UAE - in Abu Dhabi, no less. Years ago in the US I visited this shop and bought its Perfect Tea Maker, which freed me from being intimidated by the idea of abandoning tea bags for its incredible selection of loose teas. Each blend that it sells tells you how much to put into your maker and for how long to let it brew. When it's ready, you place the maker on top of your mug, press and strain your tea directly. The teas look more like art than something to brew and drink. I'm never able to walk out of the shop with just one blend - usually its at least three. I'm thrilled that I no longer have to lug my Jasmine Dragon Phoenix Pearls Green Tea back from the US with me. The Perfect Tea Maker is Dh95 for a small and Dh145 for a large.

Teavana, Dalma Mall, Abu Dhabi. 10am to 10pm on weekdays and 10am to 12am over weekends. 02 612 0707

* Kerri Abrams

Abu Dhabi bus

Despite the price doubling, I am still happy to fork over my Dh2 for a ride around the city. While my friends seem to find it uncool that I love to ride the bus, I seem to have a strange love for utilising what could be the cleanest bus system I've ever encountered. As a woman, I love it even more, as I can nearly always take a front seat comfortably and watch the world pass by. In a city where cars dominate, I find it most enjoyable to people-watch and notice new shops as I make my rounds. Not to mention the shocking amount that I've saved in cab fares. Yes, it can add travel time to my trips, but it forces me to plan, to slow down a bit and most importantly, to relax. I don't need to be on guard to watch the taxi driver take a wrong turn or get impatient with the traffic. I can put my headphones on and sit back knowing that I will soon arrive at my destination. Next time you tire of waiting for a cab, hop on the bus. With the air-conditioned stations, you don't even have the heat as an excuse.

* Kerri Abrams

The Food Doctor wholesome pot

In my search for something to keep in my desk drawer for when I am hungry but stuck at the office, I have discovered the perfect solution: The Food Doctor's bulgar wheat and quinoa wholesome pot. Just add boiling water and let it sit for 10 minutes - foolproof. At only 254 calories and very low in salt and fat, it's one of the healthiest convenience food options I've been able to track down. The leeks and mint make it taste more like a fresh meal than most other prepared foods that I've tried, and the high fibre content helps me feel filled up for ages. I can't wait to stock up on the other varieties in the range.

Dh17 from Organic Foods & Cafe, The Greens, Dubai (and other locations), 04 361 7974

* Kerri Abrams