I spy with my little eye... a 1940's mood.

Living in Dubai is the perfect excuse to buy more sunglasses: hello Miu Miu perfect shades! Even the case has that retro old pink vibe going. Saw them, tried them on, fell in love with them, adopted them. That simple.
They are getting along perfectly with my pin curls, dotty Blitz dress and red lipstick! Looks like I'm all set for summer!

I spy with my little eye... the art of packing.

Like pretty much everybody here in Dubai, I love travelling. I love arriving at the airport, and feeling that my next adventure is a plane ride away. The only problem with travelling is packing. I used to be very good at anticipating. I would pile up the clothes I wanted to take with me a few days early, that would allow me some time to filter and reduce the titanic amount of garments (in theory I like to travel light, but I also like having options). Now I've observed that the time you spend packing is inversely proportional to the amount of travelling. What I'm saying here is that I am becoming a man in the way I pack: I tend to wait for the last minute and actually time myself. Packing has now become an opportunity for me to get a lot of things done since I will do anything that needs to be done before I resign myself to actually put things in the suitcase. I also admire people who can plan their outfits ahead. I have no clue how to do that, I just throw things in the bag and hope for the best!
The reason why I'm explaning all of that is that I am flying to Beirut today for the week-end! Not sure I'll be able to   post from there so see you on Monday!

I spy with my little eye... flames and laughter in Asia.

After the Nine7One and Ananta, A. and I were invited to try Umai, the Asian restaurant of the Oberoi-Dubai. As always, the welcoming was very warm, it is such a pleasure to visit this hotel! The team had planned a journey through Asia from Tokyo's Tsukiji fish market to the Korean peninsula, through Cantonese dim sum and Kansai teppanyaki. The whole dinner was punctuated by interactive moments: the gracious pouring of the tea, the smoking of the eel, the jumping teppanyaki eggs, we all got the chance to participate and join the fun. Now regarding the actual meal: all of the ingredients were flown from Asia, the flavours were subtle and fresh, I did eat too much, which is usually a very good sign. I had a crush on the Wagyu tenderloin with yaki onigri, tender, sweet, light, perfection! By the end of this delicious and fun dinner we were discussing the  skills of half naked butchers in Malaysia with the talented chef Dirk. He has as many stories as ideas for his kitchen and team. 
A big Merci to the Oberoi-Dubai team for their warmth, professionalism and attentions. They definitively go that extra mile that makes the difference. Thank you for a lovely trip down luxury lane!

Laughing with Chef Dirk, thank you for the extra side of stories!

Dancing around tea.

Smoking the eel, creating clouds.

The Oberoi-Dubai does serve mist, how poetic.

Showing off!

The cutest dim sum ever.

Don't forget to pay a visit to the Oberoi-Dubai here.

I spy with my little eye... Plastic is fantastic.

In a 60's mood today! Flower power, cat's eye and pony tail. Oh and a phone. A plastic one.
So first we had phones, then we had wireless phones, then the mobiles arrives, and now we even have skype. As much as I love being able to redesign the world with friends and family while enjoying my two free hands to cook, I do miss a good old phone.
But until I am able to bring one back from Portobello Road (yes, they still function perfectly), I will have to do with this little trick...

I spy with my little eye... a Saturday on Earth.

10am: Morning! On my way to Little Josh's 3rd Birthday. Peter Pan collar seemed like a logical choice.

11am: Spiderman is 3years old! Such a cutie!

12pm: Cinderella's not ok with Mommy eating her cake.

2pm: Working with A.

7pm: After 4h of working it's cocktail time by the golf. Love the view, big thank you to K. and C.

10pm: L.'s housewarming, happy times!

11pm: G. getting into polo, and destroying the chandelier...

12am: NYC represent!

1am: Brazil and NYC chatting away.

2am: Smiling with my girls L., A., and M.! Merci L. for hosting such a great eve!

I spy with my little eye... a Coffee with hair and make-up artist Angelique Turner.

I remember very well the first time I met Angelique. It was at the Dubai Offshore Sailing Club, between the sea and the boats, she had created a little beauty parlour and I remember thinking "a make-up artist that can perform by 45°C must be a good one". The smokey eye she performed on me did prove me right. Angelique is calm, she has a soothing presence, she's the kind of person you want around on your wedding day. Her style is refined and elegant, she goes for classic Hollywood and parisian chic looks. You simply can't go wrong with her. She flew from Australia where she used to work with Revlon and Christian Dior cosmetics, to Dubai in 2009 and has been freelancing since. Have a look at her portfolio here.

HOB: If you could live in a painting, which one would it be?
A.T.: Renoir’s “Bal du moulin de la Galette”. It is a painting of a lovely day in Montmartre, Paris. Whenever I visit Paris I stay in Montmartre as a good friend of mine lives there and there is an incredible Friday farmer’s market across the street from the hotel I stay in. The people in the painting are happy eating, drinking and dancing in the sun. I don’t think it gets better than that.

HOB: If you could live in a different era, which one would you pick and why?
A.T.: I always felt like I missed out on the glam rock era of the 1970’s. As much as I loved the fashion of the 1950’s, the 70’s was an era of liberation, rule breaking and anything outrageous. As a makeup artist it was an inspiring time to look back on as it was centred around expression through costume drama, glitter soaked makeup and wild hairstyles all set against a soundtrack of some of the greatest music of all time; David Bowie, Roxy Music and Queen to name a few.

HOB: What piece of clothing reminds you of your mother/father?
A.T.: My parents were the IT couple of the 80’s. On nights out Dad would wear his Duran Duran-esque shiny suits and Mum would wear the most awesome sharp sweetheart necklined silk taffeta dresses. She was the ultimate 80’s maven with her thick eyebrows and permed hair. I idolized her style.

HOB: What scent takes you right back to your childhood?
A.T.: Poison by Christian Dior. My Nana wore it and it is a scent special to me with many good childhood memories.

HOB: When do you feel on holidays?
A.T.: Whenever I smell coconut tanning lotion.

HOB: What designer would you take with you on a camel ride?
A.T.: I wonder if both Stefano Gabbano, Domenico Dolce and I would all fit on one camel. I’ve always loved their ultra feminine lines and use of lace and embellishments. Plus I’d want the inside scoop on their tax evasion drama.

HOB: Your favourite recipe to make?
A.T.: I haven’t made it since I was a kid but chocolate slice. It’s the most calorific thing known to man but you can’t go past chocolate biscuit base with chocolate icing and coconut sprinkled on top.

HOB: Best piece of advice you were ever given?
A.T.: As a stubborn Taurus I’m more of an ignore advice and learn from mistakes kind of girl.

HOB: What book changed your life?
A.T.: My Mum bought me the Roald Dahl collection when I was a child. His work opened my little mind to the world of imagination and fantasy. I would spend hours immersed in his words. Lovely times and wonderful memories. James and the Giant Peach was my favourite.

HOB: The movie you've watched already 30 times but might watch again tonight?
A.T.: Although he totally creeps me out these days, I’m a sucker for 80’s Tom Cruise films. I’ve seen them all a million times but I’d happily have a Risky Business and Cocktail movie night in.

HOB: Three favourite spots in Dubai?
A.T.: 1- Sephora in Dubai Mall – I love to restock my supplies there as they stock Urban Decay and all my other favourites.
2- Betawi CafĂ© in Karama – a little Indonesian restaurant that makes the most incredible food. Cheap, cheerful and extremely tasty.
3- Talise Spa, Al Qasr – I take yoga classes at Talise so it’s my little zen spot in the chaos that is Dubai. Every so often I’ll treat myself to a massage and a day by the pool there. Instantly uplifting.

I spy with my little eye... Spices and Cricket in a Kitchen.

So here is the round 2 of my Oberoi experience (remember the first round): after the international restaurant, A. and I got a taste of Ananta, their indian restaurant. We actually arrived early (yes, once in a blue moon you can find punctual people in Dubai, we are a rare breed), so we decided it would be the perfect occasion to try the Mixology bar, just to clear our palates of course. While we were sipping our (well performed) martinis, the whole team came to greet us. I said it on my last post but I will reiterate: they do make you feel at home and this is priceless.
When it was time to proceed, I remember we both agreed that the restaurant was spacious but cosy at the same time: there is space between the tables but the room isn't excessively big which is refreshing when you consider Dubai's tendency for excess. Now indian food is a tricky one for me because I haven't been to India yet but I am familiar with their cooking (even if I have to admit most of the time I don't know what I am ordering. I just go eeny meeny miny moe, which usually results in unforgettable memories). I love spices but I am also aware that it is, sometimes, a way to hide the poor quality of the meat. The reason why I am exposing my "indian cuisine" background is that I was expecting more spices in Ananta's dishes. I was actually surprised to be able to taste the fish and chicken. I realised it was my expectations that were distorted by my references. So now looking back, I would say that Ananta is a nice refined indian restaurant with quality products. I wouldn't be able to tell you exactly what I had for the simple reason that it was a blind menu, surprise of the chef!
How do I know that? Well because A. and I ended up in the kitchen, talking bread, pancakes and cricket with the chef, as one does.

A. and I cleaning our palates...

Gradation of lassis.

Farandole of sauces (and lassis).

More about the Oberoi here.

I spy with my little eye... a future retro Collection by Vuitton.

Oh Joy! Since Luhrmann's The Great Gatsby blew every aesthete's mind, the retro style is back. Even Louis Vuitton surrendered and concocted a soft and cosy, yet delicate A/W 2014 collection. If you have been following me, you know that I am not lying in wait for the latest trend and I don't need to have a huge double C or LV on my bag. It doesn't mean that I don't follow what happens in the wonderfully twisted fashion world. I do, and when I spot something that fits HOB's aesthetics, I highlight it. I liked the subtle palette of colours in this winter collection: between pink, salmon, lilac, violet etc... The Salome shoes and Art Deco collar are very 1920's whereas the ready-to-wear and Peter Pan collar give more of a 1950's vibe. Vuitton went for a mix of eras that surprisingly works. 
I absolutely love knitwear (yes I do get cold during Dubai's winters, if you come across a lady wearing a coat and red lipstick in November, chances are you just spotted me), so this cosy angora top with a knee-length pencil skirt is right down my alley.
The only thing I would have to say is that it's a shame they didn't make the handle of their new bag longer because as it is, it doesn't go on the shoulder. 
More on this new collection here.

I spy with my little eye... an easy way to make me smile.

There is nothing better than to come back home and discover a bunch of flowers waiting for you. Especially when they have meticulously been chosen for you. As I mentioned before, I grew up in a house that was always filled with flowers, so having them around feels like being home. I have a thing for peonies, but any bright flower will make me happy really. I have great memories of sunny afternoons picking wild daffodils with my mother in the forest next to the local castle in France or playing with "gueule de loup", these little flowers that look like an open mouth when you squeeze them, on my way to school. Flowers are probably the easiest way to make me smile indeed. 

I spy with my little eye... Flowers and Molecules in a Plate.

A few days ago, I was invited to discover the new Oberoi hotel and it's 3 restaurants. Now as much as I love intimate and genuine B&B's, Dubai doesn't offer a lot of them so if I can't have charm and authencity, I'll go with what the UAE does best: luxury and high class service (life is tough...). So this is the Oberoi's first chapter: the Nine7One (in reference to the emirati dialling code). 
First thing I need to say is that the welcoming was impeccable: warm and personal. The team was joyful and professional, I had a lovely time discussing gastronomy, travel and culture with them. Now the Nine7One offers international cuisine in a bright space (I usually like seeing what's in my plate): the entrees are served through a buffet but the main courses come directly from the kitchen. Most of the ingredients are flown from Europe and the german chef loves experimenting with molecular gastronomy. In true french style I spent 2h eating and chatting with the team but when the deserts arrived, they literally had to beg me to try the chocolate souffle and the mango juice pearls... and I am grateful they insisted. As you can see on the pictures, the mango juice pearls are made right behind the counter. Obviously, A. and I couldn't resist. After a feast of flower and beetroot salad, cod and flock of deserts, my stomach welcomed the tour of the hotel as a digestive saviour!
Merci to the Oberoi team, looking forward to seeing you for the second round!

A. experimenting molecular cooking first hand.

Today I'll just eat flowers!

Tea time! Can we please talk about that adorable tray? Very 1920's.

Urban pool.

Rose petal bath... Luxury at it's best.

Ahoy Sailor!

For more information, click here.

I spy with my little eye... a lost in translation Father's Day.

I'm confused. When I lived in France, we would have the french Fathers day and the belgian Fathers day and I didn't understand why we would have different dates. A Father is a Father no matter the country, history, background or level of testosterone he has. Now that I live in Dubai I realise how naive I was: I have to navigate between the french, english, american, australian and lebanese Fathers Day. Now what happens if my father is french but lives in the middle east BUT, not is the same country as I do. Am I supposed to greet him on the french date, on the UAE one or on his? Still with me? Obviously I am completely lost in translation so I choose this day out of all the others to tell my father, this hero "Bonne FĂȘte Papa"!
My father's a man who buys flowers for my mother every Sunday, even after 30 years of being married. He is also a man who kept a living snake he found in our garden, locked in a jar for several weeks in our home: he figured it'd be better to know where it was, even if that meant in his bathroom, rather than have it running wild around his children. That's the kind of man he is.

I spy with my little eye... a coffee with gallery director Meagan Kelly-Horsman.

I can't even remember when exactly I met Meagan. It feels like she's always been around somewhere. She's one of those ladies that forces admiration. She is opinionated, strong, and absolutely hilarious. Currently, her britishness bosses around the XVA gallery in DIFC. She deals art and artists egos. She's an excellent cook and baker, she has a golden heart and knows exactly what she wants. She's one of my favourite people and I am sure you will all love her too...

HOB: If you could live in a painting, which one would it be?
M.K.H.: Vir Heroicus Sublimis by Barnett Newman: it's in the MoMA permanent collection and I always see it whenever I visit NY. 
"It's no different, really, from meeting another person. One has a reaction to the person physically. Also, there’s a metaphysical thing, and if a meeting of people is meaningful, it affects both their lives." Barnett Newman

HOB: If you could live in a different era, which one would you pick and why?
M.K.H.: The future so I could get around by teleporter. One hates public transport!

HOB: What piece of clothing reminds you of your mother/father?
M.K.H.: Ferragamo pumps or Via Spiga heels always make me think of my mother. She loves shoes and these have always been her favourites. 

HOB: What scent takes you right back to your childhood?
M.K.H.: Freshly cut grass on sports day, downy fabric softener on my clothes, chlorine. 

HOB: When do you feel on holidays?
M.K.H.: Life in Dubai means every weekend feels like a vacation - the beach, the pool or just meeting friends for dinner, there is usually a holiday vibe. But my dream escape is always Sri Lanka, I have been 5 times and still want to to go - the people, the scenery and the food are all out of this world. 

HOB: What designer would you take with you on a camel ride?
M.K.H.: It would have to be the ubiquitous Vivienne Westwood. She looks like she knows how to have a good time! 

HOB: Your favourite recipe to make?
M.K.H.: It's got to be my sisters famous Kelly-Bruns recipe for Banana Bread. Its easy as pie to make and tastes wonderful. I make it once a month for a treat.

HOB: Best piece of advice you were ever given?
M.K.H.: Don't regret the things you do, only the things you don't. 

HOB: What book changed your life?
M.K.H.: The Lion the Witch and the Wardrobe. I was officially obsessed aged 7 and know the story off by heart. It taught me to use my imagination, that witches are scary and sometimes, beavers can talk. 

HOB: The movie you've watched already 30 times but might watch again tonight?
M.K.H.: I have a few favourite movies but have to say series are more my thing - I love trashy CSI-esque crime dramas like The Mentalist; as well as funnies like Arrested Development and 30 Rock. 

HOB: Three favourite spots in Dubai?
M.K.H.: 1. My balcony - perfect for snoozing, reading, snacking, chatting, board games, singing and dancing. 
2. Real Pilates in Jumeira 1 - I go twice a week and can't get enough. 
3. Royal China in DIFC - I am addicted to dim sum and they have a fantastic award-winning bartender that whizzes up an excellent Lychee Martini.

I spy with my little eye... a collaboration with Benetton.

Remember this behind the scene post? Well Benetton just published the photos of our street project style on their Colours of UAE website along with an interview. Wanna know "something unexpected and hidden" about me? Click here.
High waist, mustard jacket and green pumps, loved the outfit!

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