I spy with my little eye... a new Rendez-Vous with Specs Addicts.

If you are following, you know how enthiusiastic I am about Specs Addicts, the retro Glasses/Shades brand that just arrived in Dubai and that is growing, growing, growing (click here to read the National's article about them)! Well I met with the lovely Colette yesterday, and I cannot wait for the new collection to be out! They keep on launching new designs, for Ladies but also for Gentlemen, so whether you are in a 1950's or 1980's Mood, have a llok at their website, it is full of inspiration!

Important piece of information for readers all over the World (Bonjour Paris, Hi Beyrouth!): they do prescription Glasses and Shades, and they ship worldwide for free!

Pictures of my pair to come...

To get a Retro Look, visit their website here.

I spy with my little eye... a Children's Classic.

Look what I found at Boutique 1: an Illustration Children Book by M. Sasek. "This is London" is one of the 4 Books he illustrated; he also did Paris (I will show you later), New York and San Francisco. I completely fell for those Drawings.

Sunday Sound

"Let's K-nock K-nees" - Betty Grabble and Edward Everett Horton - 1934

I spy with my little eye... a Vintage 1950's Red Hat.

This little Treasure i found in Paris, in one of my favourite Shops: Mamie.
I used to live in Montmartre surrounded by Vintage Shops and Flea Markets (and tourists, let's be honest), and one thing I learned very quickly is that not all Thrisfshops are good Thrifshops. If you want real vintage, not just kilos of high street cheap kinda retro items, then you have to be very demanding and not lose you time with medium quality Boutiques. That applies essentially to Paris because in the countryside, they usually don't bother getting kilos of clothes delivered, they manage with what people sell them, and that's where you can find unexpected Treasures. But in Paris or any big city, I don't compromise, I get a quick look, and I know if I want to actually spend time in the Shop or not. A good indicator for me is the way the Salespeople look. At Mamie, you can find them knitting, the hairdo's are always very 1940-50's, Mustache for the Gentlemen, red Lipstick for the Ladies... And they know exactly what they have in stock. The cinema often turns to them for costumes and accessories. And I often find a new Hat there.

Mamie and Mamie Blue
69-73, rue Rochechouart, 75009 Paris
Metro Anvers
For more info, click here.

I spy with my little eye... a 1920's Doctors Bag.

I had been looking for this Bag for years. I think my whole Family was aware of the Hunt. In Paris, in London, in Glyndebourne, in the South of France, in Melbourne, in Sydney, in Vienna... It was always on my mind. Until my last Birthday, when my Sister told me during a Paris-Dubai skype session she had found one. In a bad state, but hey, that's normal for a 90 years old Bag, but still, she had found a 1920's crocodile (half destroyed) Doctors Bag. I can't tell you the state of excitement I was in for the following month until I finally got it.
She did well, she did wonders: she spent a whole month nourishing and rejuvinating the leather with body lotion, then she handed it to the Friend of hers who restores vintage Hats and Clothes so she could  redo the interior, and I can tell you they both did an amazing Work. Here is my little Treasure. A real vintage Doctors Bag, that could have been use, in the 1920's as a "Baise-en-ville", literally "Flirt in town", excuse my French but this is actually the proper name used for bags men used at the time when they were going for just one night in town. I love how French langage is so straightforward and full of usefull images.
A huge Merci to my darling extremely stubborn Sister!

I spy with my little eye... an Award winning Brunch.

The week end is a few hours away, time to plan! Without any doubt or hesitation: the Al Qasr is one of my favourite brunches.
First of all: it's civilised. Amazingly busy, yet, chic, refined and family friendly. You may hear a few loud Scottish Songs around 4pm (true story), but then who doesn't like a good traditionnal song to get into the evening smoothly?
Second: I do love the sparkling wine and prosecco flutes waiting for you at the reception, it gets me in a festive mood instantly.
Third: I can spend hours watching the general splendor. The crowd, the Hotel, the Food, it's a delight for the eye.
Fourth: It is probably the only brunch in Dubai you will need a map for. Yes indeed: there are so many food stations you need to take a full tour of the place before starting. It is not an option, believe me.
Fifth: The service is very good. You will never find your Glass empty.
Sixth: Whatever your mood, all the food is amazing.
Seventh: There are purple Dim Sum.
Eighth: There is live music. And who doesn't like to sing along between the ninth and the tenth plate?
Nine: The tables are expendables, you can invite as many Friends as you want.
Tenth: All of them (even your rugby team) will have enough to eat, and to eat superb Food.
As you can see I do like the place. It might be a little bit more expensive than other places in Dubai, but I'd rather not brunch every WE and do this one from time to time.

Al Qasr Hotel
AED 525 per person including bubbly
AED 425 per person without the bubbly
From 12.30pm until 4pm
For more information, click here.

I spy with my little eye... an Art Installation.

If you are free tonight before dinner, pas by the Pavilion to have a look at UBIK's interactive installation "With a little help from my Friends". Playing around cars, questions, interactions, and coloured sand, the artist invites you to explore the very unique nature of relationships in the big Hub Dubai is. Cars are being driven into lines, whereas Sand is more all over the place, interesting and well thought of.
Little tip for the Ladies: try to avoid heels if you want to fully enjoy the installation.

The Pavilion Downtown
Emaar Boulevard, Downtown
Tel.: +971 4 44 77 025
For more information, click here.

I spy with my little eye... a Peppermint Vintage Dress.

In a Vintage Peppermint Mood today...

I spy with my little eye... a Flea Market in Dubai.

The Weather is cooling down, it's time for Dubai Flea Market again (remember this post?)! On the 6th of October at Safa Park, the market will open it's doors again. If you have something to sell or you feel like wandering around with a cup of coffee, as if you were in Paris or London, go to Safa Park, Entrance Gate 5, Al Wasl Road.
The Flea market was born in 2008 when people left the UAE rather abruptly, nowadays, it is still doing great with an unexpected and cheerful mix of expats and locals.
Thriftshopping for everybody!

For more information, click here. 

I spy with my little eye... a vintage 1950's Hat.

You know it by now, I love, collect and cherish vintage Hats. And I came back from my European Holiday with three new additions from London. I already showed you two of them, here is the last one, it comes from that amazing Shop in Brick Lane: "This shop rocks" (remember this post?). Well trying on every Hat, challenging myself not to break anything in the tiny Boutique, and chatting for an hour and a half with the wise Milliner, he disappeared for a moment, and came back with a Hat I hadn't seen. "This is from the back shop, I am sure it will fit you, you have the face and the Eyes for this kind of Hat, try it", so I did. It's a very fragile 1950's Piece, very Gina Lollobrigida, it says Beach, it says glamour, it says Italian evenings, I loved it instantly. I have seen a few Hats through my Thriftshopping, but I had never seen this shape before in a regular shop. "It's the kind of little treasures you keep until you fond someone who's passionate about it" he explained, and then added "If you have any problem with your Hats, please, bring them back to me, I will fix them". I cannot thank him and recommend him enough. If you ever go to London and have time to pass by Brick Lane, make sure to visit that Shop.

I spy with my little eye... a new Season of Downton Abbey.

If you love vintage, if you like the aesthetics of the 1920's, and if you haven't heard of it yet, you will love Downtown Abbey. The Edwardian serie follows the life of a stately home and it's inhabitants in the 1920's. As always with this period of time, you get to see the two worlds: servants and masters. What is interesting about this story is that despite the classical social differences, there is a kind of connivence between the two worlds. There are jalousies and personal strategies, but there is also this familiarity between a Maid and her Lady, the sort of relationship you have if you were raised by a Nanny or if you've had a Butler in the Family for years. You also get to see the changes in a conservative society, a Lady who runs away with the Chauffeur, the misunderstandings between Britishs and Americans... All of that is, of course romanced, but the actors are very good, and above everything, I am amazed by the Decors and Costumes. I could actually leave the episode on replay on my projector, as if it was a Painting. Aesthetically, the work that has been done on that serie is amazing.

If you don't leave in the UK, you might find it tricky to watch the episodes, but if you can get a VPN, they are available on replay on ITV Player here.

More about Downton Abbey here.

I spy with my little eye... the Back Room of the XVA Gallery.

Yesterday I was at the XVA Affordable Night, so many good pieces and a good arty Crowd! Very tempting Photographs and Painting and interesting pieces of Jewellery from the XVA Hotel Boutique, stones stones stones! 
I do love the ambiance at the XVA, always welcoming, smiley and fun. Moreover I got lucky yesterday: I got a tour of the back room. So many Treasures!
My Father always collected Paintings and Sculptures, so when I was young, he used to find Galleries and Artists Workshops wherever we went: New York (gosh I still remember that endless walk in Soho, we stopped at each Gallery!), Indonesia, Syria, Lybia... I have pictures of myself as a Baby, being given the bottle by a French Painter. I did spend a lot of hours surrounded by Paintings, and we are now missing space on the walls of the French Family House. Now you can easily imagine how confortable I fell in the XVA Cave. Thank you for that trip down memory lane M.! And thank you to the whole team for hosting us yesterday!

For more information about the XVA Gallery, click here.

I spy with my little eye... the opening of the Hummingbird Bakery.

Yes, today is the big day (remember this post?): don't forget to pass by the Hummingbird Bakery at the Dubai Mall to catch the first birdies!
The first 1,000 visitors to arrive between 7pm and 10pm will get a free cupcake. The Hunt is officially opened.

I spy with my little eye... a second hand Paradise.

Last week-end I finally boosted myself and visited Garderobe on Jumeirah Beach Road. Why did it take me so long? It was such a good surprise! Don't be afraid to knock on the door, there is a reason why the shop is not wide open: it is full of fashion Treasures. The place is like a little retro case, with vintage Fashion Magazine Covers framed on the wall, Aznavour and Piaf singing along, and it is literally filled with Clothes and Accessories, it took me a while to focus, there was so much to see. A big Merci to the Garderobe team for their patience and for giving time to their Clientele to have a proper look at their selection (I don't know about you but I don't like it when people are all over me in shops, it stresses me out).
The items are organised by colour and to be honest, I was impressed by the selection. In Dubai when you hear "second hand" or "vintage", it is often "vintage-like" and "high street second hand", I was disappointed a few times. None of that at Garderobe. I actually felt as if I was back in Paris or London, where fashion means quality and handcraft. Chanel, Prada, Fendi, Miu Miu, Sandro, Balenciaga, they all live at Garderobe. An other good surprise? The prices are right, and that in Dubai, is, well priceless... I got a Tsumori Chisato skirt for AED 350, it made my day!
On top of all of that, the team is really nice, patient, attentive, they will help you look for your size, and will update you on the new arrivals, they actually make you feel at home (and what a nice home!). 
I will be back, and I highly encourage every Fashion lover in Dubai to go visit Garderobe.

Jumeirah Beach Road, Jumeirah 3, between Saga world and Miraj.
Tel.: +971 4 394 27 53
Opening Hours:
Sat.-Thu. - 10am to 10pm
Fri. - 2pm to 10pm
For more information, visit their website here.

I spy with my little eye... the reopening of the 360.

Last week-end was the pre-opening of the 360. What a beautiful venue: in the middle of the sea, like a little peninsula. The experience starts at the Pier with a buggy who picks you up, and you are on for a 10 min drive. This is easily doable by Foot if you ask me but it seems like a lot of people wouldn't agree as there were at least 20 people waiting to get picked up. I am always amazed at how people forget how to use their legs in Dubai. Once there, you get greeted with a smile and you have the option between a table inside or outside (pick one and stick with it otherwise you might get asked a significant amount to switch). The inside is very purple and gold, it gives a rich oriental touch, balanced by the house music. The service is effective and quick, what is there not to love in Champagne? Note that if you want a table, whether inside or outside, you will need to spend AED 6,000 as a minimum. Although the inside is perfect during Summer when it's too hot and humid to be out, I (and everybody will) recommand the open first Floor that has this amazing panoramic view on Dubai. Perfect for a chilled evening or to show the City to visitors. If you stay there for a while, you can grab a bite, there is a selection of Asian bits to pick, and the place being quite spacious, it's easy to get carried away and spend the whole night dancing and toasting the Burj al Arab.
I will definitively be back.

360, Jumeirah Beach Hotel
Jumeirah Beach Road
Tel: +971 4 406 89 99
Opening hours: daily from 6pm to 2am.
Fot more information, click here.

Sunday Sound

"Tea for Two" - Doris Day - 1951


I spy with my little eye... an Art Event.

The XVA Gallery is thinking about young Art Lovers. Because you can never be too young for Art, they are organising an Affordable Art Night on the 24th September, beginning at 7pm. All pieces will be priced at AED 4,000 or less, get ready for some eye candy you can actually take back home!

XVA Gallery
DIFC, Gate Village entrance
Click here for more information about the event.

I spy with my little eye... a chilled week-end.

Happy week-end in Dubai! Today I am enjoying the Pool and Beach. What are you up to?

I spy with my little eye... an Organic Restaurant.

So I tried the Organic Cafe in the Greens. I kept on passing by and not knowing if I actually wanted to go in, so when a Friend working nearby suggested lunch, we decided it would be the perfect occasion to actually take a seat and soak up the good vitamins.
I liked the spacious and light interior, that was cosy, made us feel like we could have a real conversation without the whole restaurant listening. The Menu is quite straightforward: Omelets, Quiches, Salads and Sandwiches, nothing extravagant, just good simple Food. I have to admit that the Salad was very disappointing: no real flavor, no surprise, just green Salad, Cucumbers, Tomatoes and Peppers... I like to mix it up with Cheese, Olives, Spices, Pine Seeds, I like to put mustard and 2 different vinegar in my Salads... As my Mother puts it: "You just open your fridge, see what you have, put everything in a Bowl and mix", therefore the very simple Salad looked kind of sad I found. But the Club Sandwich was very tasty, just what it ought to be.
I will note that the Service was not very responsive and quite disorganized (which is not something you want when you are in a rush on your lunch break). All in all a medium experience. not sure I would go back unless I find myself in the neighborhood.

The Organic Cafe
In the Greens, near Emaar
Telephone: +971 4 434 05 77
For more information, click here. 

I spy with my little eye... A Market at Traffic.

This ween-end, that Arty Place I talked to you about here is organising a Sell/Buy Market! The concept is to sell, buy, rent, exchange, discover, have fun, learn, trade, all of that in a joyful ambiance, so take some time between your Brunch and your dip in the pool to visit Traffic.
They also planned : a listening party, a film premiere, an open mic night, a charity event, contemporary dance, workshops for both adults and children, food stations, and a ping-pong tournament. Fun and Culture, just what we need in Dubai.
Thank you Traffic!

You can, of course, take part in the event and participate as a vendor or a performer, feel free to join.
Contact them at: info@viatraffic.org or +971 4 347-0209 for guidelines

The event will take place from the 20th September until the 29th September at Traffic (see link below).

Traffic Studio
179 Umm Suqeim Rd
PO Box 6716 Dubai, UAE

T: +9714 347 0209
F: +9714 341 5394
Opening Hours: Sun - Thurs 10-7pm, Sat 12-6pm
Have a look at their website here.

I spy with my little eye... a successful Meeting of the DLBC.

An evening with my Ladies: Elder Flower Gin and Tonic (thank you M.!), yellow Carrots, Cheese, Laughter,  Deets, Politics... and Schizophrenia!

I spy with my little eye... a new Breakfast Place.

The week-end is getting closer, it's time to think about long lazy Breakfasts. We all know the Lime Tree on Jumeirah Beach Road, well just next to it a new place recently opened: Le Gourmet. I wouldn't recommend it for Brunch as the place is maybe too bright and open for that, but it's a nice alternative for Breakfast. The blue and white interior gives kind f a Greek vibe to the place, it's calm, very neat, and the Breakfast menu is very efficient. I do miss the French pastries as I have rather a sweet Tooth, but the fresh juices and colourful plates work very well. Nothing extraordinary, but it' a nice alternative to the usually crowded Lime Tree. Good point: you can also design your sandwiches and go right to the Beach with them! Bright, colourful and efficient, I like it!

Le Gourmet
Jumeirah Beach Road, Jumeirah 1, next to Lime Tree
Street 10 B
Tel: +941 4 344 42 20

I spy with my little eye... a new Meeting of the DLBC.

Back to school, it's reading time, tonight we are gathering for the DLBC (Dubai Ladies Book Club) first Meeting of the season! And we are beginning with a Classic: Doctor Jekyll and Mister Hyde, by Stevenson. Double personality, beast instinct, dark side... interesting conversations to come.
I personally was a little bit disappointed, I think the story suffers from the fact that everybody knows it, there is no surprise anymore and the whole point of this novel was to play on one's imagination so reading the book, you don't get more details about the how and why. That being said, I enjoyed the style and it was perfect to read next to a pool in the South of France last Summer! 

Illustration from the 1880's.

I spy with my little eye... a creative collaborative of Talents.

I discovered Shoreditch Muse at the Traffic fashion week-end event. To make it short, it's a collaborative of creative fashion designers Deborah Henning created a few months ago to bring a little bit of her Fashion taste in Dubai. Shoreditch Muse is kind of a platform for Hub for emerging Designers, from all over the World.

My little eye spied very unique rings by Jade Mellor. Love the organic work on stones and the idea of a one unique piece.

Innovative and bright Necklaces by Orly Genger by Jaclyn Mayer. Love the mix of material, and the soft colours, interesting work.

Soft scarfs and leggings by Phannatiq. The leggings are not for me but I love the scarfs and the colours suit my Parisian self a lot!

I am very much looking forward to following Shoreditch Muse and being surprised by the new additions.
To buy, have a look at the colections or reserve an item, visit their website here.
Hint of Beautiful. All rights reserved. © Maira Gall.