I met Sian right after I landed in Dubai. She is bubbly, fun, and full of energy and ideas. She is also a fashion and environment friendly lady who created with her two sisters a series of thriftshopping events called My Ex Wardrobe. The concept is simple: if you have this rather common condition called shopping, you might need to unload from time to time, and in order to sustain this addiction, you might as well sell the pieces you are not wearing anymore. Basically the Rowland sisters brought second hand events to Dubai, and the vintage lady in me obviously loved the idea! I loved MEW and I loved the lady behind it and her fabulous style. She's been in Dubai for years and knows all the good places, she's my little white rabbit: I keep on hoping to see her and she keeps running up and down Dubai, trying not to be late and making me smile!
More on My Ex Wardrobe here.
HOB: If you could live in a painting, which one would it be?
S.R.: Most probably Dusk by Alphonse Mucha, you can almost feel the movement in all his work, each and every piece tells so much of a story to me. His work is so beautiful, all the women are so sensual and this one in particular. It helps that Dusk is my favorite part of the day! My Gran used to send me birthday cards of his artwork, and she said I reminded her of the subjects, so they hold a special place in my heart.
HOB: If you could live in a different era, which one would you pick and why?
S.R.: I'm torn between different periods; on one hand I am drawn to the artist movement of the Art Nouveau period (which Mucha was very much part of), everything was so beautiful and decorative, and it was during this time that the Belle Époque was happening in France, during which the Moulin Rouge became famous. I would have been right at home then... Alternatively if I woke up one day and I was stuck in the 1940's, I would happily make friends with Rita Hayworth, Veronica Lake and Lauren Bacall!
HOB: What piece of clothing reminds you of your mother/father?
S.R.: My Dad used to be in the RAF and I love his old squadron jumpers, my sister has managed to nab a couple of them, but they always make me think of him wearing them with his awesome handlebar mustache! I also have great memories of my Mum dressed up to go out in some pretty awesome 80s dresses! There's a picture of me at about 4 years old in one of her dresses; a puffed-sleeved, green metallic ruched number and some heels next to her in an equally shimmering cocktail dresses. It's one of my favorite pictures, clear evidence that've loved dressing up from a young age!
HOB: What scent takes you right back to your childhood?
S.R.: Cut grass! Before we moved to Dubai when I was 8, we lived in a lovely countryside village in the county of Lincolnshire in England. I remember long summer bike rides to the next village to get bagfuls of penny-sweets, in the nearby woods building tree houses and dens, and loads of time spent playing outside in the back garden. We were really lucky because we had a big garden overlooking lots of fields and myself and my sisters spent a lot of time there. Now when I smell cut grass, it takes me right back there, being in the fresh outdoors.
HOB: When do you feel on holidays?
S.R.: When I get on the plane!! I love holidays (I don't actually know anyone who doesn't) but often find myself in a bit of a whirlwind on the lead up to them, dashing around, packing in the middle of the night and of course I always forget something. But when I finally settle down into my seat and pull my book out, I know it doesn't really matter because from that moment, I'M On Holiday!!. It's all an adventure from there!
HOB: What designer would you take with you on a camel ride?
S.R.: I've only ever been on a camel ride once and can't say I'd recommend it. In fact, I wouldn't invite someone I admired to join me on one, let alone if I wanted to make a good impression on them! However, switch 'camel' for 'boat' (or 'motorbike', or 'ski-lift'), and I'd say Elie Saab. I am besotted with his creations, simply put he is above and beyond my favorite designer.
HOB: Your favourite recipe to make?
S.R.: I'm not widely known for my culinary skills, but when I do bust out my cooking-moves I have a few recipes that are well received. Stuffed chicken breast, creamy leeks, vegetarian lasagne (this is a recent addition to my repetoir), pumpkin risotto. I'm not very good at desserts despite them being my favourite course, but I like to think I can hold my own in the mains division. I do make a lot of soups from scratch as well; including making fresh stock, and I often experiment with different recipes.
HOB: Best piece of advice you were ever given?
S.R.: "If you don't have anything nice to say, don't say anything at all." My Mum used to say this to my sisters and me whenever we started bickering, and it's something that's really stuck with me. There's a lot of negativity in the world, and if everyone can cut down on their bitchiness surely it's a start to being a better place!
HOB: What book changed your life?
S.R.: I'm an avid reader, and have read hundreds of books in my life, so I don't think I can pinpoint a particular book, although years ago when I first read Richard Branson's "Loosing My Virginity", that certainly lite a spark inside. I love biographies, especially of strong adventurous men, and have recently read Ranulph Fiennes's "Mad, Bad and Dangerous to Know", which I just couldn't put down. It made me want to sling on my winter coat and head to the Arctic Circle! On the flip side I can't help getting stuck into a quirky novels like Neil Gaiman's "American Gods" and "Neverwhere", and cult classic "Hitch-Hikers Guide to the Galaxy".
HOB: The movie you've watched already 30 times but might watch again tonight?
S.R.: I love movies, so its tough for me to choose just the one, but I think it has to be "Moulin Rouge". I'm not a big Nicole Kidman fan (in fact she annoys me a little) but I love Baz Lurhmann movies and this one in particular. I love the energy in all Baz's movies (except Australia, that was sh*t!), and he really does focus on the beauty of the piece he's creating.
HOB: Three favourite spots in Dubai?
S.R.: Difficult to pick just 3 actually, as I'd love to reel off all the places here that make me happy...
1- Dubai Offshore Sailing Club - I have been a member there since I first arrived in Dubai 23 years ago and spend a lot of time there on the weekend (especially during the winter when the weather is glorious).
2- Spa Cordon in DIFC - it's an amazing independent day-spa that genuinely feels like your in Thailand, an incredible relaxation spot.
3- The Agency in Madinat - I have a fairly substantial soft spot for wine (although know nowhere near enough about it!) and they combine a decent selection of bottles, a cracking fondue and a non-pretentious atmosphere!