They say when it rains, it pours and that’s exactly what happened in Barcelona. We spent a good chunk of time curled up on the couch of our hotel apartment watching Grey’s Anatomy while waiting for the thunder to subside. Don’t worry though, it eventually cleared and we even wore skirts and dresses (which was not the best idea, by the way).
Our first night was pretty quiet due to the storm, but we got to enjoy delicious burgers and the best Spanish olives imaginable. The next day we headed to a nearby bakery for a light breakfast, then trekked towards La Sagrada Família. The mere sight of Sagrada Família and its beautiful details was very poignant, with biblical stories portrayed all over it. We also visited the classroom where Gaudí taught which was beautifully preserved.
Next we headed to Park Güell, which is truly like a fairy-tale and looks like it’s made of gingerbread and candy. Although it was difficult to leave our new found wonderland, we weren’t done sight-seeing. With our Starbucks in hand, the shopping at La Rambla commenced.
After we were done with our retail therapy, we continued down La Rambla, stopped by the Boqueria market and ate some Gelato until we reached the Monument a Colom. We ended the night with sushi at Parco, in hopes Shakira stops by there for dinner (I’m only half joking). Our Euro trip ended here but my wanderlust has only intensified.
Whether you call them playsuits, rompers or jumpsuits they should be a summer staple in every girl’s wardrobe. They’re breezy, comfortable and extremely flattering. I especially like playsuits with a touch of novelty, such as a lace back insert or a fun print. You can dress them up with heels for a night out or with cute slippers to the beach. Check out my favorite styles below.
It’s officially summer, although it’s already felt like it for over a month in Dubai. As we get ready to lay on the beach and soak in the sun, we shouldn’t forget how fragile our skin is and how much added moisture it will need this season. Avocados are packed with antioxidants, biotin, fatty acids and numerous vitamins all of which are nourishing and help with healing and revitalizing dry skin. This recipe combines avocados with some of my favorite ingredients for a natural face mask.
1 full teaspoon avocado
2 teaspoons yogurt
3/4 teaspoon honey
Mash the avocado then add the yogurt and honey and whisk the ingredients together. I prefer to make the consistency fairly smooth so it spreads easily like butter. I recommend using a clean makeup brush or cotton pad instead of your hands because it’s more hygienic and less messy. Leave it on for 15 minutes and apply moisturizer after washing it off. Sweet and simple!
Getting your hair done is the epitome of spoiling yourself, and leaving with shiny tresses always puts me in a great mood. I heard about Marquee’s new Blow Dry Bar at the Lakes Club and was excited to try it out. The salon uses Kevin Murphy hair products for washing and priming, and GHD hair tools for styling. An elegant and modern decor, soft music and soothing lighting combined to render a relaxing experience.
The Blow Dry Bar concept is one of the first of it’s kind in Dubai, with a flat rate of AED 130 regardless of the length of your hair. I have long and thick locks which usually requires a little extra time to style, but I was in and out in less than hour including wash time. The Kevin Murphy products smelled wonderful and left my hair smooth and glossy, but they were a little oily. The stylist asked me to choose from a variety of hairstyles in a catalog and I was really impressed with the resulting shiny ringlets cascading down my shoulders. Don’t you love it when you hair turns out just the way you like it?
Home to the friendliest people and sweetest sangrias, Madrid embraced us with fresh and cheery weather. Paris left us maxed out on sightseeing and ready for some leisure, which is exactly what we got. After tucking away the chunky sweaters and pulling out our spring style, we indulged in an afternoon Gelato pick-me-up at the vivacious Plaza Puerta del Sol, followed by a stroll through Preciados where we did some much needed shopping at El Corte Inglés and Sfera.
In search of the Mercado St. Miguel, we found ourselves at the breathtaking Plaza de Oriente. I was completely smitten with the blend of historical architecture with modern shops and restaurants, manifesting that the heritage is preserved while the people and places evolve. Residing in a beautiful glass house, the Mercado was the first I’ve seen of its kind. Unlike the outdoor markets I’m used to, it had a cozy seating area and multiple food stations offering everything from Paella to sweets and fresh produce. We ended the night with tapas and bubble tea on La Calle del Arenal, where random strangers called out to us ‘Guapas’ – pretty ladies.
On our last day we visited the lush Real Jardín Botánico de Madrid. It was at the beginning stages of blooming and was glistening in the sunlight. Finally, our hotel concierge insisted that Macaroons originated in Madrid and directed us towards Pastelería Mallorca, a coffee shop laden with desserts of all kind. Let’s just say, I ate way too many macaroons that day and they were spectacular. To sum up my time in Madrid, it was late night gossip sessions with my girls, azure blue skies and a charming little city that felt like home.
I stepped into the Al Darzy boutique and was pleasantly met with a brightly lit space and plenty of natural sunlight pouring in. The shop was beautifully emblazoned with tall mirrors and gold elements, accentuating the chic and uplifting feel of the place. I sat down with Mounira Yateem, the founder and designer of the boutique. Looking impeccable in a detailed abaya, one of her first designs, she spoke candidly about her journey as an entrepreuneur.
“I am a complete perfectionist,” she says assertively, “I focus on the quality and finish of every piece.” Yateem likes to get into the nitty-gritty of things, down to the stitching technique of her designs. She graciously modeled different Abayas, Thobs and Jalabiyas for me, all of which capture the essence of the Bahraini heritage and traditional style. “I create my abayas to fit seamlessly like an open cardigan,” she says while adjusting the belt on a delicately beaded thob, “I work with fabrics from around the world including lace, silk and chiffon depending on which produces the best result.”
Originating from Urdu and literally means Taylor, the name Al Darzy is a tribute to her grandmother who taught her the term. Yateem has a Bachelor’s degree in Marketing from the American University in Dubai and was flourishing in her career as a Compliance Officer in a prestigious bank, but with the encouragement of her family she decided to pursue her dreams of becoming a business owner. She emphasizes the importance of support from family and friends for achieving a prosperous new business and draws inspiration from her father who has successfully run Yateem Group for years. “When a family owns a business,” she says with tenacious eyes, “entrepreneurship runs in their veins.”
Discovered by my friend before we flew off for our euro trip, Fragonard Musée du Parfum was a gratifying gem to explore. Located at the quaint Rue Scribe and set in a Napoleon III town house, the museum unveils a story of fragrance-making throughout the ages. Fragonard Parfumeur’s exclusive creations are found in a neighboring boutique which carries a variety of perfumes, soaps and lotions. Browse through the photos to view the exquisite gallery.
For more information and other locations click the link below.
We got off our red eye flight and headed straight to our hotel room to freshen up and hit the streets of Paris. It’s amazing how a night of virtually no sleep has no sway when you’re this excited. A few droplets of rain splashed into our eyes by the time we reached Arc de Triomphe, but we were too dazzled with the sights around us to even care. Like something out of a brochure, it felt like I was transported to a different era. The building exteriors were romantic and rustic, embellished with the infamous French windows. There’s no arguing the flawless style of European women, hair effortlessly cascading down their shoulders and outfits beautifully mismatched creating a quintessential look.
The rest of the trip involved many long walks in the rain on throbbing feet while searching for our destinations à la Dora the Explorer. After the rain came clear blue skies, cotton ball clouds and a hand-drawn rainbow. I saw roses the size of my hand and peonies of all colors. With so much to see and not quite enough time, I’m certainly glad we didn’t compromise on tackling the whole list. We placed our love locks aboard the Pont des Arts, which was even more romantic in person, then set off towards the Cathédrale Notre Dame de Paris where hymns were being recited outside the glorious structure. Following our Parisian dinner we spotted the Eiffel Tour twinkling in the night.
Le Château de Versailles was our last stop, and while the palace is marvelous I was enraptured by the gardens most. I dragged my swollen feet as far as they can take me and snapped incessantly with my camera. If you asked me what I won’t forget I’d say the delicious hot pastries, creamy cups of coffee and the intoxicating smell of flowers everywhere. Most of all, I’ll miss the feeling of seeing all the magic for the very first time. In the words of the beautiful Ms. Audrey Hepburn, Paris is always a good idea.