I spy with my little eye... Holidays with Gap from A to Z.

Yesterday I posted the first pictures of our collaboration with Gap. Now that I am thinking about it, it's probably a good thing that we took those pictures before Christmas: I ate so much I'm not sure I would have been able to get into my outfit today! Hello turkey, mince pies, chocolate coins,  candied chestnuts, sausage rolls, after eights... It is definitively time for boxing day! I hope you all had a cosy and cheerful Christmas. Sending good vibes to my fellow bloggers who made this early photoshoot such a fun morning. Please note that I had slept only 2.30 hours this morning and was literally high on caffeine, which resulted in a lot of giggles and dancing without music (dancing and singing are side-effects of my tiredness). I hope you will enjoy our little alphabet pitchouns.

Cristina, Tinayums
I for Indigo
Denims might be overstated but I'm all about comfort and being practical. 
I want clothes that I can wear through out the year.

Y for You + Me
It's my go-to pants for comfortable clothes especially this 1969 denims.

Florence, Hint Of Beautiful
P for Plaid
For me it means winter and comfort.

S for Stripes
It helps me look wider with my petite features.

Ana Simonovic, Shoera
M for Metallic
This dress has a perfect shape and waisted cut with a bit of puff that can be worn in many ways and a metallic bag with a lovely shoes just complete the outfit.

Saira, Fashky
L for Layering
It's really how you style your outfit, sometimes, it's the accessories that makes it stand out.

I spy with my little eye... Holidays with Gap.

Gap is celebrating the holidays from A to Z, and I chose to focus on P. For Plaid. I don't know how or why but it appears that all my tartan pieces come from Gap. Winter is getting comfy and cosy, and for me. A simple outfit with a burgundy vintage hat and a red lipstick. Joyeux Noel pitchouns!

I spy with my little eye... behind the scene Christmas fun!

When 6 bloggers get together for a Christmas collaboration, this is what happens: a lot of fun, smiles, and festive outfits! Thank you Make for hosting our jolly team, TinaUshiAnaSaraSaira and I had a blast. Stay tuned pitchouns...

I spy with my little eye... 60's rain and rainbow.

My mind is usually triggered by the smallest things, that's why you hear me repeating that details are not details all the time. When I discovered this cloudy umbrella in a goody bag 4 months ago (yes, 4 months), I thought I wanted to do something with it but had no idea how to use it. This morning I remembered about these balloons I had blown for an engagement party, that Manoush rainbow dress, and that 1960's hat. I had found my combo: the perfect wink to Europe's freezing and wet weather. Old continent, we send you sunshine, degrees and good vibes, sincerely, Dubai.

I spy with my little eye... a 1930's jazzy Christmas.

The festive season is when I watch the more movies: when in France the cold weather is the perfect excuse to stay in, when in Dubai, the fact that the city empties is the perfect opportunity to  replace parties by movie nights. This year, I didn't pick movies but a mini serie, courtesy of the BBC: Dancing on the Edge. Released in August, these 6 episodes set in London in the 1930's tell the story of a black band in the first years of the jazz era. The prejudices against black people, the struggle of trying to establish a new kind of music, the social hierarchy, the consequences of the first world war, the rise of german national socialism, and of course, some extra drama, it's all in there. The setting is fantastic, the styling is impeccable, the characters are sharp, the casting is qualitative (John Goodman, Jacqueline Bisset, Matthew Good...). I liked it a lot, with a glass of wine, it was perfect.
For more information, click here.

I spy with my little eye... the hunting hat.

November/December is traditionally the opening of the hunting season, I am obviously not going to discuss that subject here, it is not HOB's purpose, but it made me think of this 1950's hunting ladies hat that has been sleeping on my shelf for 2 years now. Time for it to shine! I paired it with a simple navy coat... and a pair of stilettos. Please note this is the only time you will see such combination: usually if I need to wear a coat, I also need 2 pairs of tights (that's right, one over the other one), gloves, a huge scarf, and a wool bonnet. Which also means you can barely see my face, that's how I cope with winter: very well obviously!

I spy with my little eye... Tom & Serg' coffee.

I don't know about you but I am a sucker for good coffee and good service. If it comes with tasty food and simple yet effective design, you will probably see me again. As an early Christmas present, I'm giving you pitchouns the new café in town, and it's a good one. "Tom & Serg" are located in Al Quoz and on a pre-opening phase, and it's working so well that they are already recruiting. I liked the simplicity, honesty and humility of their concept. They know they aren't perfect, they know mistakes will be made so they ask for indulgence on the menu. I have a soft spot for realistic people, they make me happy. Therefore I instantly liked them. The interior design is quite simple but they paid attention to details, I love the bottles used as glasses, the striped straws, the smiles on the waiters faces, and the speed of the service. On an F&B point of view, the menu is not exhaustive but qualitative and they can explain every bit of it, they know their stuff. Good food, good coffee, good service, plugs for computers, no bling and no attitude. Winning combo.
For more information, click here.

I spy with my little eye... a change of wardrobe.

Christmas sometimes come with weird presents. We've all had that "what was Uncle Barry thinking?" internal cry when discovering the amazing(ly ridiculous) multicoloured pompom bonnet he "thought would be perfect to keep you warm" (in Dubai, right). Well that bonnet might not match your little black dress, but it might be useful to a 5 years old traveling to the UK soon. So in order to make some space in your closet, and keep the circle of second-hand going, why not register on My Ex Wardrobe's website to sell online? Bye bye bonnet, bonjour money. To get an account, you will have to pay a fee. Before you start sighing, let me explain: there are several packages. You can totally test the water by paying only 150aed, see if it works for you, and then decide if you want to go bigger (just keep a few underwear, they can come handy). You know I   support any second-hand initiative, especially in Dubai, land of the new, bright and shiny: our wardrobes are full of unworn and unnecessary items (yes, I'm talking about that pink mini skirt that hasn't seen daylight in 3 years) that would make someone else happy. 
For more information on the packages, click here.

I spy with my little eye... Benetton meets my vintage hats.

When I spend an afternoon playing dress up with Benetton's autumn/winter 13/14 collection, I usually bring along two very important things: my vintage hats and my talented Ushi. I am not a winter person but I do miss the architecture of winter pieces in a wardrobe; the thicker fabrics unable more structured silhouettes. Therefore this first look is very graphic, I fell for the coat: a little bit austere and a very detailed pattern (usually small graphic patterns tend to give me a headache but this one was an exception), it worked well with this 1950's winter hat. Hope you pitchouns enjoy it!

I spy with my little eye... a coffee with designer Sahar Wahbeh.

'Tis the season to be jolly... and think about presents. I couldn't talk about Christmas and children without talking about the sweet and talented Sahar Wahbeh.
The first time I heard about Dumye dolls, I remember loving their home-made look: they are global, timeless, environmental friendly and stylish. Then I read about them and the one thing that makes them so special is not their look but the concept behind them: for every doll purchased, a doll is offered to an orphan. How sweet and special is that? I remember thinking I'd love to give more exposure to that great initiative, so when I bumped into Sahar at Fashion Forward, I took the opportunity to learn a little bit more about her and her project. She is sweet, thoughtful and such a hard-worker I loved her instantly. She started making dolls for her daughter, hasn't stopped since, and is currently counting her dolls, making sure enough have been sold to donate one to every children of the next orphanage she'll be working with (it wouldn't be fair to give a doll to half of the children only so she needs to have enough for all of them).
So if you have children, or are planning to play Santa to your nephews, nieces etc... Have a look at Dumye dolls, they are lovely and will definitively make more than one child's day.
And to learn a little bit more about Sahar, keep on reading!

HOB: If you could live in a painting, which one would it be?
S.W.: Edgar Degas – “The Rehearsal’ These girls spend their days in a beautiful room, filled with natural light, amongst friends, doing what they love the most and all to the rhythm of live classical music. Heavenly.

HOB: If you could live in a different era, which one would you pick and why?
S.W.: I think we are lucky to be alive in this era. Although the world is full of strife there is an incredible amount of hope in the advances we have made. Instead of longing for the past I feel my energy is better placed looking forward and shaping a better future so that we can leave our children to world better then the one we were born to. 

HOB: What piece of clothing reminds you of your mother?
S.W.: I have this beautiful turquoise shawl my mother crocheted when she was in her 20’s. Every time I wear it, I can’t help but think of her and imagine all the adventures they must have shared.

What scent takes you right back to your childhood?
S.W.: Hands down - The smell of a Strawberry Shortcake doll.

HOB: When do you feel on holiday?
S.W.: When I am on a warm beach with those I love the most. It is those times that I feel the most relaxed and 100% present in the moment.

HOB: What designer would you take with you on a camel ride?
S.W.: Oh my I don’t know… I guess I would have to say Oscar de la Renta. He knows how to make a women feel feminine, even if she were to be riding a camel.

HOB: Your favourite recipe to make?
S.W.: Nothing beats home made guacamole. I never tire of it.

HOB: Best piece of advice you were ever given? 
S.W.: My dad always says “If there is a will, there is a way”. This his definitely stuck with me in life. 

HOB: What book changed your life?
S.W.: The Book of Daniel by E.L. Doctorow.  I don’t know if it was the book or the incredible teacher that lead our class through it. Either way it changed my perspective on the world in a major way. It taught me that there is no one truth. The line between right and wrong became so grey and everything I had learned up to this point in my life was questioned and scrutinized.

HOB: The movie you've watched already 30 times but might watch again tonight?
S.W.: Dirty Dancing.

HOB: Your three favourite spots in Dubai?
S.W.: 1- Safa Park – no better place to enjoy a carefree family afternoon.
2- Comptoir 201 - for yummy clean food & an inspiring ambience.
3- Amara Spa in the Park Hyatt – the best treat any girl or guy could ask for.

I spy with my little eye... a glimpse of Benetton.

I might have been playing with Benetton A/W 13/14 collection lately...

I spy with my little eye... Kafka's beetle.

People always complain about the lack of culture in Dubai. I wouldn't say that there is a lack of culture, I'd say there a lack of quality culture. If you know where to look for it, you will find theatre, art and hipster places, you just need to be curious. Conveniently, most socialites will tell you they have no time for curiosity (but they will fit 3 cocktail parties in their evening). 
I do admit I haven't seen a lot of good plays here. My last attempt was a memorable disaster: the first time I actually left the theatre at the intermission, but, in the name of curiosity, I gave Dubai theatre an other go and I got rewarded for that: last week I witnessed real proper theatre in the city of all eccentricities. It was witty, spot on, very well performed, lively, comprehensible (you'd think that's a prerequisite... hours of not so arty absurdity taught me it wasn't) and I didn't even look at my watch. Kafta's Metamorphosis isn't an easy piece, and involving the audience in the story of a boy changing into a beetle (and the torments of his family) is a challenge, which is why I want to salute both the performance of the actors and the directors. 
The play will be performed by Dubai Drama Group on the 5th, 6th and 7th December at the Jam Jar in Al Quoz. It is free, it is only one hour and it is good so in the name of curiosity, please go! 
For more information, click here.

I spy with my little eye... my first French 75.

Going out with L. is always an adventure: she knows a lot about cocktails and as much as my french upbringing gave me a decent oenology background (next time I have to fight with La Petite Maison's sommelier over Shiraz it is not going to go down well, trust me), I admit I can be clueless when it comes to cocktails. Therefore I'm always in when L. decides to take me to a bar, and this time, she had decided it was time for my first French 75. The cocktail is a mix of champagne, gin, lemon juice and sugar. I liked it because it wasn't too sweet, and I absolutely love the story behind: it was named after the French 75mm gun because the kick was said to be as strong as being shot by one of these babies. We open the hostilities at La Petite Maison with a couple of French 75s and switched to Tomato Martinis. It was a successful adventure, thank you L.!
More about La Petite Maison and their extensive cocktail list here.

I spy with my little eye... a flight to nostalgia.

As much as I am scared of being bored and need to see, read, experience new things on a daily basis, I discovered quite young that I wasn't an adrenaline addict. I like to observe, process things, and frankly, I quickly realised that you don't have time to look at the landscape when racing. A few months ago I was offered to skydive and wasn't sure how I felt about it, so when I got offered to experience the I-Fly wind tunnel, I went for it: it was the safe option; if I didn't like it, I could stop the experience after a minute instead of patiently waiting for the ground to get closer to my panicking self. I have to say I wasn't expecting the attire to be so elaborate: from the shoes, to the bonnet, the socks, shoes and the ear-plugs, I was totally sound proofed. The team is really nice and enthusiastic which helped during the training: 15min to explain the position, and the signing. And off I went! 
To my surprise, I enjoyed it and actually felt frustrated: there are too many walls in a wind tunnel!  I loved the flying sensation but I definitively didn't like bumping into the walls... Which surprisingly led me to want to real thing: skydiving. I now understand the appeal. (Thank you to W. for not leaving me any choice to back off).
It also took me right back to my younger gymnastics years: looking at this picture I realise I am more flexible than I thought I was! 
For more information on Dubai wind tunnels, click here.

I spy with my little eye... a long week-end in Dubai.

Most of us in Dubai are getting a few days off this week-end to celebrate UAE's national day, it's the perfect timing to escape the city. Some will fly away, some will drive away, some will just sleep away (fair enough)... I decided to give you a little inspiration with my last camping week-end. Now don't get me wrong, I am not huge on camping: I could never function as a girl scout, I get claustrophobic in a sleeping bag, and I like my latte in the morning. If I go to the countryside, I usually make sure there's a cottage, an oven and a bed waiting for me, but, when in Dubai, do as the expats do. And I firmly believe in challenging yourself, and trying everything. So I went. I decided to keep the destination a surprise and just jumped in with friends. I was completely useless for navigation but apparently useful entertainment. 
... And when we stopped the car after 2h of driving, somewhere between Dubai and Abu Dhabi, I knew I had made the right choice. The pictures speaks for themselves. Happy week-end pitchouns!

I spy with my little eye... an etheral art show.

Dubai is full of hidden gems and the Ikon House is one of them. Located in Al Quoz, near the Gold and Diamond Park, the place is a hi-tech showroom specialised in Bang & Olufsen, but it also changes into an exhibition and event space, hosting art and talks. Last week I was invited to the opening of Charlie Calder-Potts art show. I hadn't heard about her until then and was surprised with her technique: she works with both metal sheets and paper, superimposing them and letting one or the other take over depending on the purpose and the inspiration. Her colours are soft, her style reminded me of the impressionists, especially since she is passionate about the environment and our relationship with our surroundings. She explores the feelings of being an observer or feeling involved, being an outsider or part of a community, being in or out; a theme that takes all it's sense in Dubai.
Her work will be hanging at Ikon House until the 5th January.
For more information about the artist or the show, contact Rebecca Hobson Designs.

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