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.

I spy with my little eye... a 110 years old fashion magazine.

One of the most exciting things I brought back from Paris is that edition of "La Mode", a fashion magazine that is exactly 110 years old, day for day. You know how much I love hats so when I saw that cover, I just couldn't resist. The magazine is just 8 pages and illustrates the latest trends but also provides a couple of patterns so women could sew their own pieces (we kind of dropped that section since. Now Zara sews for us). My favourite section is the last page ads; I was surprised to read that women had exactly the same concerns as today: diet, haircare, eternal youth... Funny how things don't change that much!

I spy with my little eye... watching a movie à la Katharine Hepburn.

A few years ago when we kind of closed down Christian Lacroix, a co-worker was emptying the cupboards when he found this abandoned beige suit. He brought it to me: "Florence, you're probably the only one who can wear this so you should have it". Like a lot of Couture items, the size fitted but the sleeves and trousers were way to long for me... for some unknown reason, Couture Houses make clothes for models only, that's one of the biggest fashion mysteries. So I kept the suit in a drawer for 3 years, it never occurred to me I could just have it altered. Probably because I wouldn't wear this kind of things in Paris, but it's perfect for Dubai where we like to dress up. Eventually I took it out of the drawer and brought it to a tailor. The first time I tried it on I remember thinking it was very Katharine Hepburn: high waist, wide trousers, waistcoat, tailored, quite manly. So today I decided to play with it. It worked quite well with my projector, the only thing I did was switching the pictures to black and white: since the idea was to watch a movie, it made more sense.

I spy with my little eye... the half moon manicure tutorial.

I've often been asked here in Dubai who did my half moon manicure, and like a lot of things on HOB, it is simply home made, so I decided to share it with you. As much as I like to pamper, I like things to be fast, I can't spend 3h getting pretty: when I do my nails, I'll usually set up the computer aside so I can type while it dries. Same applies to my clothes, they need to be multi-functional, I hate when the ladies don't want to get dirty, clothes are for living, they're not supposed just be looked at (which implies that I have a tendency to destroy my shoes, yes, but even my Charlotte Olympia kitties are just shoes). With this beauty philosophy, I need my routine to be quick and efficient. You will find online tutorials that use tape or plasters that are supposed to be cut out, I just use eyelets: they are already the perfect shape. 
So here we go!

You are going to need:
- transparent nailpolish (or light pink, I usually go for transparent because it dries faster and you can't really tell the difference)
- colour nailpolish (traditionally it would be red but you can have fun and vary)
- eyelets
- a pair of scissors

Step 1: always, always protect your nails with a coat of transparent .

Step 2: cut you eyelets is 2; you will only need half of one on each finger so might as well make the most of them.

Step 3: make sure the transparent nailpolish is really dry before you stick the eyelets on your nails (otherwise it might come off when you unstick them, ruining all your efforts). I like my half-moons to be discreet so I tend to stick the eyelets rather low, but you can go for a statement manicure and stick them higher.

Step 4: use your second colour to paint your nails. Make sure the eyelets are well stuck in the corners, otherwise the nailpolish might run.

Step 5: wait and make sure the nailpolish is really dry before you gently unstick the eyelets (I usually used tweezers to do that). Et voilà!

I spy with my little eye... butternut squash remedy.

I have been feeling sick lately. I guess the change of seasons is messing around with my immune system. Or maybe it is my subconscious welcoming winter by forcing me to cuddle under a big duvet, I guess old habits die hard. Whatever it is, I am craving hearty soups and comfort food, and when stuck at home, cooking actually seems like the right thing to do. Thanks to Halloween, I found a butternut squash I turned into a soup and made sundried tomatoes/pesto madeleines to go with it. Simple and healthy. Now I don't always plan ahead of my cooking (especially when I'm knackered and nauseous), which inevitably leads me to that wavering moment after I realise I'm missing half of the ingredients. And that is usually followed by deep excavations through my fridge and kitchen drawers to find substitutes... This is how I ended up using Marmite instead of stock. Necessity really is, the mother of invention.

Butternut squash and sundried tomatoes/pesto madeleines.

I spy with my little eye... a midsummer night's arty dream.

Yesterday, Dubai's art scene gathered in DIFC for the traditional Art Night. The galleries treated us with music, food, drinks, and inspiration, while Mother Nature maintained a much appreciated breeze. The selection of art was, obviously wide (and uneven), allowing every visitor to find a few pieces matching their taste. That is, when they actually made time to look at the art. More than a display of art, Art Nights are social events where people mingle and network, so let's appreciate them for what they are: a nice midsummer night's arty dream in a beautiful setting... with a hint of gossip.

I spy with my little eye... Movember.

I love it when men support Pink month and breast cancer awareness, so it's just fair enough that I would support Movember. We all have a brother, father, lover who's competing for the title of the "most postponed check up in the history of medicine", unfortunately, prostate and testicular cancers don't wait. So talk about it, support the fight, grow a moustache and give: 20aed is what you would pay for a coffee, 35aed is the price of that bad movie you absolutely want to watch at the cinema, and 55aed is that first drink that's opening the aperitif hostilities, every little bit counts.
To get involved in the UAE, click here.

I spy with my little eye... the Day of the Dead.

Oh Halloween... Such a good excuse for bad behaviour! 
My love and hate history with Halloween started in Saudi. The French don't celebrate it so I experienced it for the first time as an expat. I was young, it was sweet and full of spooky tricks, but as an adult I am perplexed: I don't understand the whole sexy vibe. Why on Earth would you dress as a slutty soldier or Catwoman on the Day of the Dead? I might be missing a piece of information here so feel free to enlighten me. As far as I know, the concept is to embody scary or at least death related characters. Now I know that we, the French, call the climax "la petite mort" (the little death), but I doubt that the Alice in Wonderland, Popeye and charming Marine I bumped into last Thursday were aware of this lexical fact. In Halloween's case I'd rather stick to the literal meaning of death, therefore I went for a Mexican "Day of the Dead" makeup, with my now famous great grandmother's 1930 dress (black lace comes handy when referring to spiderwebs).
Thank you L. for hosting our lost souls!

A tribute to the Day of the Dead.

Hanging up doughnuts...

Halloween treats.

Torturing men.

Dear dead Elvis made a musical appearance.

I spy with my little eye... Molecules and Miracles on a plate.

Last week I was invited to the preview of Chef Jeff Ramsey's guest appearance at the Oberoi Dubai. Now if you follow me you know I have a special place in my heart for this hotel and their team: they are sharp, professional and so welcoming they instantly make you feel at home. I love their energy and Chef Dirk Haltenhof stories! This time, the surprise was a molecular dinner. Perfect timing for smoke and needles in the kitchen with Halloween around the corner.
Chef Haltenhof is spoiling Dubai by inviting his good friend Michelin-starred Chef Jeff Ramsey for one week only. Chef Ramsey defines himself as a culinary engineer, his personal story and experience with the greatest chefs gave him sharp and strong cooking skills he likes to challenge on a daily basis, adding elements of comfort, family, tradition, warmth, conviviality, modernity, and chemistry, resulting in a very special experience. The tasting menu consists of 25 creative dishes. It sounds like a lot of food but it's absolutely manageable, firstly because it's obviously small bites, like tapas, secondly because the surprise element keeps you going. Molecular cuisine is like reading a new book: you know how to read, you know how to eat, but somehow, the story takes you to a place you haven't been before (that is if you know how to pick your books but that's an other subject). Well this time, Chef Ramsey' magic and imagination took me to Japan, the cinema, France, Summer... and I loved this story from the first page to the last word. The very last dish actually altered my palate for the following 2 hours. Literally changed my perception of taste.
He will be performing at the Umai, the Oberoi Dubai until the 8th November so if you are in for a 25 courses creative feist (AED 350/person), I can't encourage you enough to try Chef Ramsey's cuisine!
Reservations: +971 4 444 14 44 - restaurants.dubai@oberoihotels.com

Raspberry drops in the making.

Caramel corn... Nitro poached corn mousse wrapped up in crispy caramel. A pop corn explosion.

3 chefs in a kitchen = a lot of fun.

Truffle truffle: chocolate truffle rolled up in a mix of black bread crumbs and black truffle. First you feel the strong chocolate taste, then the truffle follows and stays. Undeniably my favourite.

And the desert that temporary changed palate and deceived my taste buds... All I can say is that I was able to bite these citrus fruits without making a face.

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