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Are you bawsed up? Are you 'owning it' today? Living your best life and taking photographic evidence just so no one can question your aesthetic appeal? Illustrating your day in a choreographed sequence of deftly chosen gifs and snappy one-liners? No? You must not have an internet connection.

It has never been easier to feel like you're falling behind with the pace that social media and online life moves today - Twitter, Instagram, fake and real news, Stories, posts and statuses flood through our periphery and in the meantime we're supposed to be aspirational and chase after what is hand-picked for us to scroll through every day. I get tired just thinking about it. So when you do have, yknow, actual real life stuff going on - it can all get a little much. There's a reason why Generation Y is searching for the term 'anxiety' 96% more often in the last 5 years. It's because we are programmed to move at this speed - the speed that needs action yesterday. The speed of instant.

One of my main triggers for anxiety is letting the world get on top of me, drowning in to-do lists or ideas that I keep in my own mind, but feeling too paralysed to action them. I've come up with some coping mechanisms to help me break out of overwhelm and the 'busy' trap, and I thought I'd share them with you guys today. By way of ironic apology. For being too busy to post super regularly here.

1. ELIMINATE DISTRACTION: Okay, we're starting big, but actually really simple - put your phone on flight mode. Remember the days of saying 'BRB' on messenger? Do you notice that no one does that anymore? It's assumed that we are always constantly contactable, 24/7, whenever the world needs us. Do you find yourself suffering from overwhelm on planes, when you know you're going to have at least an hour plus without contact? No, of course you don't. You condition your mind to cope for that time period. So pick up your most pressing, important task, and blank out the rest of the noise. I promise it won't seem half as scary once you just get stuck in.

2. PRACTICE MEDITATION: Oh yes - we're getting 'woo woo'. I'm not about to tell you to quiet your mind and eliminate it of thoughts, but I defy anyone to go into this practice with an open mind and not find a little bit of calm in it. Even if it is just 14 minutes of zoning out to the sound of someone's voice. Just breathe deeply and go with it. You've got time.

3. ORGANISE YOUR ORGANISATION: This might sound like more work, which I'll admit, is the last thing you want when you're feeling snowed under, but hear me out: breaking stuff down into bite-sized tasks is one thing. Let's call that first level 'sorting out'. The magic happens for me when I separate my 5000 smaller tasks into work, home and personal, and then group them by the time of day I can actually accomplish them - it REALLY helps. I feel on top of things, able to plan my day efficiently, and it stops everything from building up into a huge unmanageable clump of hell.

4. LEARN TO BECOME A 'NO' MAN: Generally speaking, I love the whole 'Yes Man' idea. I like giving out positive, accommodating energy to people and trying my hand at things. But sometimes, the people pleaser in me needs to fucking sit down. You don't have time to make everybody happy constantly. Saying no won't kill you - it won't even hurt. Get comfortable with prioritising your time, and yourself.

5. OR, GET HELP: They say the best managers (literal bawses) know how to delegate, so get good at it! You can't be everything in one person (or, if you can, more power to you - you deserve to be overwhelmed). Why not look at your situation from a different angle by enlisting a fresh pair of eyes, or make home time more relaxing by paying for someone to come and clean your space for you, if you're in a position to afford it. There are always plenty of people willing and able to help out, if you'd only ask or look for them.

Being overwhelmed can be a hugely positive or a very negative situation - it's all in perspective - but hopefully some of the tricks and tools above will give you a kickstart to act rather than react, and take back control of what's getting on top of you. Choose to be inspired and productive - I promise it'll make a big difference!

FOR BREAKFAST: Sarabeth’s

Well isn’t this just a treat for the eyes – the New York staple hotspot for all things breakfast-y has made its way to Dubai, nestled in the very trendy City Walk area, in a weirdly blink-and-you’ll-miss –it position next to a BMW dealership. Location aside, Sarabeth’s is an Instagrammer’s paradise – white marble tabletops, flooded with natural light, with cute little kitschy menus to boot. 

We ordered the Pancake French Toast and just in case that wasn’t enough syrup-laden carbs for us, the Pancakes as well – both were delicious but I’d say stick to the Pancakes – they’re famous for them for a reason. Mine were perfectly gooey and fluffy at the same time, crisp at the edges, my only complaint would be the pot of maple syrup – come on guys! I like my stack smothered in the stuff. The French Toast was tasty, but a little dry; to be honest, I think everything could’ve benefitted with a little more syrup or sauce, or something. My one big tip? Don’t order the Arnold Palmer. Whilst I expected to be greeted with the standard refreshing lemonade and iced tea combo, what arrived was more like simple sugar syrup, cream soda, and a little peach tea flavouring. REALLY disappointing, so much so that I had to send it back, something I rarely do. However, my breakfast date did say her latte was great – just the right strength, drinking temperature and a good foam. 


By how popular the restaurant was at 11am I would say the cat is out of the bag to local residents, but it’s definitely worth a stop by – the Eggs Benny looked incredible – I had major order envy of the ladies sitting next to us! 

TRY: Classic Buttermilk Pancakes and the coffee, apparently!




FOR SUNDOWNERS: Folly by Nick and Scott

There’s a reason that location is everything, and Folly is the personification of the truism – you’d be hard pressed to find a better view for sundowners in Dubai. Looking out over the beautiful Madinat and canals to one side, and the Burj Al Arab and sea to the other, the rooftop at this place is the ultimate tranquil perch to sip on cocktails and watch the sun slip away into dusk. Reasonably priced at 25dhs between 5 and 7, their sundowner deals include 4 house cocktails (shown above is the Prosecco Pop) and selected beer and wine. The menu is inventive, the staff are friendly and helpful, and did I mention that view? Okay. The sundowners drinks list changes day-to-day, but of the two cocktails I tried I'd recommend both! Sweet, spicy and unexpected.

CHECK OUT: The curtained 'secret table' for the best view of the Burj Al Arab and that golden hour light.


TO SHOP: S*uce, Dubai Mall, and S*uce by The Sea, The Walk (not pictured)


S*uce is something of a Dubai institution. Chances are if you follow Five Five Fabulous or Huda Beauty or any Dubai-based bloggers really, you’ve seen something from S*uce. From independent ateliers and designers, to hard-to-find labels, to local jewellery makers, what makes S*uce amazing is the curation. When I left Dubai ten years ago, this brand existed as one store on the Beach Road which was making some waves amongst residents, and now they’ve franchised, broadened their reach and offering, and have a cute little beach-themed offshoot, S*uce By The Sea, perfect for long sunny days spent at The Walk. Their kaftan range and straw bag selection? Hold me back. Just. Hold. Me. Back.

PICK UP: One of their beautiful locally-designed evil eye bracelets or Hamsa hand necklaces, the perfect, unique souvenir to remember your trip to the Emirates.



TO SHOP: & Other Stories Atelier, Dubai Mall


Yes, okay, this is *technically* a chain, but look how pretty. The Dubai Mall branch is by far the nicest & Other Stories I’ve ever been into – palm leaves, gold fixtures and marble abound, and because it has only just opened it has that beautiful, expansive ‘newness’ to it. This Scandi darling, cousin to H&M, is one of my favourite places to shop – I love their aesthetic and styling, and the quality of product is comparable to more expensive brands like Whistles and Reiss, easily. I could have quite happily spent hours (and thousands) in here, but the poor exchange rate between the GBP and AED meant that I had to tear myself away. Reluctantly. With only a T shirt and a tote bag. And some hand cream samples. THAT IS RESTRAINT.

PICK UP: Literally everything. There isn't a thing from this shop I wouldn't wear (or try to!). High on my list right now are these heels for work - don't they just look like the perfect mix of chic and comfy? Yes plz.

Hope you guys enjoyed this round-up - if you wanted a more comprehensive city guide to Dubai, here's my first post, and a little blurb about another favourite, Tom & Serg.

Somehow, it's May, and the time when we're usually all set to look to summer months, sunny skies and holidays. So it's with trepidation that I find myself approaching this month; after my holiday is over, when the warmer weather in the UK seems to have all but disappeared, and what lies ahead of me is probably going to be my biggest professional challenge to date. Couple a new job and the stress of that with upheaval personally, and it looks to be a tricky time. Still, there's plenty to look forward to and I'm trying to get my body and mind in a good place to tackle anything that's thrown at me. This month I'll be focusing on building a solid fitness routine, as well as catching up with friends and enjoying the comforts of being at home again. I find it's a balancing act, this adulting thing, and it's time for me to figure out what I actually really care about keeping up with. The rest is just noise.

Despite a bit of post-holiday blues, I've got big plans for the month - a catch up with Jaye, a hen 'do, a trip up to the North and somewhere in between all of that hopefully some time with J for our 8th anniversary (8 years in a relationship translates to fucking. long.) - so I'll be playing as hard as I work, thankfully! But let's get to what you came for - the good stuff.

SEE: This month I hope to be getting to the theatre to catch The Curious Incident of The Dog in the Night-Time while it's in Oxford on tour. It's one of my favourite books and has won like... all of the awards, so I have high hopes that it's going to be absolutely excellent.

LISTEN: I can't get out of this hip hop moment I'm having and K dot's new album isn't helping - DAMN. is powerful, present and catchy as shit - is anyone else finding themselves unable to get HUMBLE. out of their brain? I literally narrate my day with 'hold up hold up hold up hold up lil' bitch' running through my head which can make some tasks quite tricky.

GO: I have the biggest craving to visit Liverpool, city of my uni dayz, and it's not going away. I miss Bold Street, I miss the Docks, I miss Upper Parliament Street and the Cathedrals and being surrounded by music and friendly people and the Scouse accent everyday. If you're planning a Bank Holiday getaway in the UK, I couldn't recommend it more highly.

EAT: At Comptoir Libanais - J and I went to the new restaurant in Bath (I know, as if we haven't had enough Arabic food lately) and it was just as delicious as I remember it being. I'm so excited we're getting our very own in Oxford! Do yourself a favour and order the chicken taouk wrap and a Limona - perfect lunching material. Their hummus is also amongst the best I've tried in the UK.

DRINK: Fully having a moment with San Pellegrino at the minute - have you ever tried their mint lemon flavour? It's difficult to get hold of but OH MY WORD if you find it, pick it up. So delishus.

WEAR: I'm just a bit in love with this cactus print onesie and very much would like to lounge in it watching Netflix all day so if that could be arranged that'd be pretty sweet.

READ: I've had The Essex Serpent in my iBooks for aaaages and finally got around to starting it on holiday - I'm intrigued! Have any of you read it? Let me know what you thought! I also am desperate to pick up The Girl of Ink and Stars because how beautiful?

THINK: Power. I need more of it, I want to channel it, and I want to give credit to more of my own. I think that women in particular are sometimes undermined or even undermine themselves by not wanting to flex their muscles, but this isn't the time for me to take a backseat. May is gonna be a big month for doing groundwork and starting as I mean to go on, so LET'S GET IT.

Since my family live around 3500 miles away from me, I'm no stranger to a long-haul flight. I do the 7 hour each way trip to Dubai at least once a year and whilst I'm super lucky to be able to do that, those who fly regularly will tell you about the toll that length of flight can take on your body and skin if you don't look after yourself.

After this particular trip and flying home on Saturday, I've suffered a little worse than usual with jet lag and post-flight 'ickyness' which has me craving some extra TLC - especially in the skin department. When we landed, despite dosing up twice on my Origins Drink Up Intensive mask (I swear by this for long haul flights, btw), my skin was parched, blotchy and red/angry looking. After going through my usual cleansing routine, here are the steps I followed to get my skin Monday morning ready:

MAKE LIKE NATE DOGG AND REGULATE (YOUR BODY CLOCK):
I'm not one for advocating taking sleeping pills but those facing a massive time difference and suffering with jet lag? Needs must. Tired skin looks sallow, drained of colour and dry, so sleep deprivation is a big enemy for getting yourself looking and feeling good as new again. I take a Kalms Night One-A-Night as it's herbal and quite gentle when I'm winding down for bed - with heading to Dubai, I usually wake up hours before I mean to which can mean I'm drained before my working day has even started. Taking one of these helps me to sleep through as long as I can and rest up so my body can recover!

WATER WATER WATER, ALWAYS
I'm sure it must get boring to hear, but the amount that you get dehydrated on a plane is serious stuff. At comfortable levels, the humidity in our air supply is between 40 and 70%. On a plane? 20% humidity. This means your eyes, nose, throat, skin - everything is functioning at minimum 20% less moisture than comfortable. I always make sure to carry bottles of water with me on a flight as well as asking for two drinks every time the stewardesses come around with their bar service (yeah, I'm THAT person that needs to pee all the time on planes), but for days afterwards I can feel the effects on my body, so I always make sure to keep a big bottle of water close at hand.

MULTI-MASK 
Sheet masks are a strange and wonderful thing - I can't think of any single product which delivers quite so much saturation in one hit. I'm a big fan of the Sephora sheet masks and to combat my post-plane pallor, I went for their nourishing and repairing Avocado mask, as well as the brightening Green Tea under eye patches to make sure any dark, dry circles were a thing of the past. Whilst in Dubai I also nabbed this Dr. Jart Hydration Reset mask on a recommendation from a friend, and I'd received this Farmacy Deep Moisture mask in a gift-with-purchase earlier in the year - great timing, hey? I'm hoping with this all-star line-up over the next few days, my skin should be back to normal by mid-week!

THE BORING, HEALTHY BIT
It goes without saying that nourishing yourself with goodness is important always, but I'd say to avoid too many carb-heavy, dairy-heavy products after you've flown long-haul. Not just for your skin's sake, but also your stomach and intestines do bloat during flights. Make sure you're topping up on your fresh fruits and veggies, but also supplementing your diet with natural diuretics like green tea and foods rich in vitamin B.

I hope these tips help - and hello again! I really enjoyed my two weeks 'off' on holiday and there will be plenty of Dubai content soon, but I thought I'd get this posted while it was fresh on my mind - if you need me, I'll be under a pile of masks...


I'm not often so glowing in my reviews that I have to start off a post this way, but THIS IS NOT A SPONSORED POST. I feel like I should preface today's post with this blogger standard because I am about to fangirl. Hard. Sry not sry.

Last week, I stopped into Spitalfields to pick up some new glasses at what I thought was Bailey Nelson, which has actually now been rebranded to Ollie Quinn. I'd seen a couple of their stores in passing through London previously, and from what I saw of the frames on social media, I was intrigued. The minimalist, modern designs with interesting frame patterns and textures had caught my eye, as well as the polished, pared back branding of the stores. The other big draw for me was the price tag - £98 for frames and lenses - glasses-wearers amongst us will know how much lenses can rack up when they're not included in the price of the frame.

From the second I walked instore, Suzie at the Spitalfields branch was sunny, friendly and helpful without being over-attentive. She even let me put down the heavy bag I was carrying in the corner of the shop, and encouraged me to try on every frame until I found the perfect fit! She also pointed out how important it was to try your frames on in different mirrors in store to see what they'd look like in different light. I'd never really considered it before but, duh, makes total sense. After an uncrowded, relaxed and really enjoyable try-on session, I begrudgingly settled on just one frame - the Mumma C's, in the shade Galaxy. I could just as easily have picked up the MJs too, they were so gorgeous! 

The process was so easy - I paid for my frames instore, but Suzie ordered them to be delivered to my home address. She was also kind enough to put a rush order on them for me as I was travelling in just over a week, but she did explain that their usual turnaround time was 5 to 10 working days, so I wasn't expecting anything. Suzie explained that I could pay instore even though I didn't have my prescription, I would just need to email it to their customer service team once I got home. I did it that night, and their friendly operators let me know the next day that they'd received it.

I got little email updates at every stage of my glasses' journey, but to my surprise, just over a week after ordering them, a parcel turned up at 8:35 am, with a handwritten note from the team saying they hoped I enjoyed my new specs! I couldn't be more delighted with the glasses themselves - they are so sharp, and the frame and lenses feel so well-made and sturdy. I also adore the packaging - the hard case feels really durable but also looks attractive, all in keeping with that same minimalist branding. I don't often rant for four paragraphs about any one thing but guys - these are so beautiful!

I can't recommend the whole team behind Ollie Quinn and the glasses themselves enough. If you guys live in England, be sure to check out their site and see what you think! Oh, and if you wanted to see mine? Fill your boots. 
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