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Middle East

    What to wear as a woman travelling in Dubai, Abu Dhabi and Doha

    When we tripped to Dubai, Abu Dhabi and Doha, what to wear in the Middle East was the aspect I probably researched the most. I’m no fashion plate, but as a female travelling into a conservative country that has quite strong views on what is acceptable to wear, I fretted about what was suitable to throw into my suitcase.

    What to wear in Qatar as a female traveller Adventures of a London Kiwi

    ‘What do I wear to the Middle East’ is something I get asked a lot – and I’ve been meaning to write this post for an age. Normally I roll with smart, comfortable and lightweight layers with a couple of nice dresses stashed for the evenings – but I also packed for Dubai, Abu Dhabi and Doha with a fair amount of care to include long sleeves and cover-ups. (Our eventual destination of New Zealand each time was easy to additionally pack for – bare feet, floaty beach skirts and a single woollen Christmas Jumper for the amusement of my family enjoying 30’C summer heat.)

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    Kindness and Making a Difference – Travel Linkup

    Over the years, our travels have been pinpointed with acts of kindness that have often made our trip – turning a sad or frustrating situation into one that has restored our faith in the world – so for this month’s travel linkup, all about kindness and making a difference in the world – and these are a few instances that rest in my memories.

    Luxury Wine Chateau Pape Clement Bordeaux

    I’ve worked professionally with a few charities, but not travelled as such to volunteer or make a difference (yet!) so I thought I’d thank a few people who made our trips infinitely lovelier by just being their kind selves. Read more

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    ‘We Love Saturday Brunch’ at the InterContinental Hotel, Doha

    I can’t tell you how many times I’ve opened Polly’s instastories and looked on in envy as she and her friends settle down to beautiful Middle Eastern brunch feasts on the weekends. Seemingly endless selections of international cuisines, icy glasses of bubbly and the chatter of much loved friends.

    Friday brunch (the first day of the weekend there) has become an art form in the Middle East, and sadly we missed out on our trip to Dubai due to our night sleeping in the desert running over, so I was more than excited when the Intercontinental Doha invited us to try their ‘We Love Saturday Brunch’ whilst I holidayed in Qatar.

    'We Love Saturday Brunch' at the InterContinental Hotel, Doha Adventures of a London Kiwi

    'We Love Saturday Brunch' at the InterContinental Hotel, Doha Adventures of a London Kiwi

    Disclaimer: We were invited guests of the Intercontinental Doha, 

    but my (very many) opines on champagne and sushi are only ever my own.

    It was all kinds of deliciousness.

    We had our visit planned for my last morning in Doha, so after repacking my suitcase (the only downside to a stopover is that they are short and sweet), scooping up Sophia for as many cuddles as I could and gathering Mr & Mrs Follow Your Sunshine together, we hopped into a cab with appetites raring.

    'We Love Saturday Brunch' at the InterContinental Hotel, Doha Adventures of a London Kiwi

    'We Love Saturday Brunch' at the InterContinental Hotel, Doha Adventures of a London Kiwi

    The Coral is an all day dining restaurant offering cuisines from around the world, offering a cosmopolitan blend of Arabian and International dishes. We really relaxed in our beautiful surroundings and enjoyed our last day of sunshine together.

    The sushi selection was sumptuous…

    'We Love Saturday Brunch' at the InterContinental Hotel, Doha Adventures of a London Kiwi

    …the mezze was magnificent, the salad selection splendid (this is only a small array of the choices)…

    'We Love Saturday Brunch' at the InterContinental Hotel, Doha Adventures of a London Kiwi

    'We Love Saturday Brunch' at the InterContinental Hotel, Doha Adventures of a London Kiwi

    …and the hands-on cooking demonstration for the kids was cuteness on overload. The hummus was beautiful, the hot buffet section was bountiful and the ‘on demand’ section looked delectable – but alas as a brunch newbie, I hadn’t left enough room on my plate to do it justice.

    The staff fell hook line and sinker for Sophia’s sweet smile (not to mention our matching glitter shoes) and she happily pottered about, scooped up by her charmed servants parents.

    'We Love Saturday Brunch' at the InterContinental Hotel, Doha Adventures of a London Kiwi

    Taking a quick break from our flash of cutlery, Polly and I snuck out for a wander. The heat hits you like a curtain after the dry cool of air conditioning, and the pools & beaches looked so very inviting as we meandered about, trying our best to take photos that didn’t have holidaymakers in them. It was so hard to resist diving in.

    'We Love Saturday Brunch' at the InterContinental Hotel, Doha Adventures of a London Kiwi

    'We Love Saturday Brunch' at the InterContinental Hotel, Doha Adventures of a London Kiwi

    Having stretched our legs, it was dessert time. Casting our eyes over the fresh bread and cheese sections…

    'We Love Saturday Brunch' at the InterContinental Hotel, Doha Adventures of a London Kiwi

    …we both hightailed our way over to the extensive dessert section. Our highlight of the entire meal were the Arabic sweets served in beaten copper dishes. Polly introduced me to Umm Ali, also called Om Ali (translated to Ali’s Mother), a national dish of Egypt. This scrumptious dessert is a Middle Eastern version of bread pudding crossed with the flavours of baklava.

    'We Love Saturday Brunch' at the InterContinental Hotel, Doha Adventures of a London Kiwi

    'We Love Saturday Brunch' at the InterContinental Hotel, Doha Adventures of a London Kiwi

    We tried all kinds of tasty slivers of confection whilst our glasses were topped up with bubbly.

    'We Love Saturday Brunch' at the InterContinental Hotel, Doha Adventures of a London Kiwi

    As an indulgent brunch on a relaxing weekend (for the local expats) or on a languid holiday break, the light filled rooms were a perfect break from the stresses of life.

    'We Love Saturday Brunch' at the InterContinental Hotel, Doha Adventures of a London Kiwi

    'We Love Saturday Brunch' at the InterContinental Hotel, Doha, Qatar | The Luxury Travel And Food Adventures of a London Kiwi.

    It really was with regret that we made our way out of the hotel, and I made that last journey by cab to the airport. Luckily I had a lot of fun in Sydney planned, otherwise I’m not sure I could have left my lovely hosts…

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    4 Days in Doha – A stopover in the Middle East

    Having decided to change my career, I thought that I deserved a wee holiday to celebrate. Now, most people would book a long weekend in Spain or perhaps a week on a beach, but I decided that a 3 week trip to New Zealand was in order. With the blessing of my Mr Kiwi (who had to keep the UK hearth fires burning and the cat fed due to work commitments) and a brand new baby nephew to meet, I booked myself on a flight.

    Doha Layover Qatar Adventures of a London Kiwi

    Doha Layover Qatar Adventures of a London Kiwi

    It’s becoming a bit of a cliche to say that the best thing about blogging is the community – but it is. Hence the cliche. I’m in the very, very lucky position to have made friends all over the world through blogging, and when I realised just how easy it was to hop off my flight to Qatar en route home, I couldn’t resist the temptation to harass Mrs Follow Your Sunshine for a few days, not to mention soak in some of the Middle Eastern sunshine.

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    Dubai and Abu Dhabi – 10 experiences you must have!

    Since we’ve been to Dubai, almost every person I’ve met who asked me about our trip tips their head slightly and says “huh, I’ve never thought of going there. Not for any particular reason it just didn’t appeal”. We were honestly the same, but after a few transits through the airport on the way to New Zealand, and spotting a full-size camel in amongst the duty free shelves of perfume my curiosity was piqued (a fake camel that is!).

    (Sidenote: this breaking up of travel posts over a series of weekends makes it feel like they’ll never end, but has certainly brought some winter sun reminiscing to my dreary January/February/March.)

    10 experiences you have to have in Dubai & Abu Dhabi Adventures of a London Kiwi

    We enjoyed our tourist version of the two UAE city states we visited, much to our surprise. Dubai seems to be very much a love it or hate it destination – and having gone without any expectations in the middle of the UAE winter, we were pleasantly surprised. In fact, we loved it.

    People tend to dress conservatively – shoulders, chests and knees covered – but you’ll see tourists in the malls getting gawked
    at cause they’re in hot pants… but you can wear whatever you want in
    your hotel and poolside. If you go into the mosque cover from head to toe
    (at the Abu Dhabi mosque you will be lent a black hooded dress in
    exchange for holding your drivers license.)

    Based on personal recommendations, research and the limited time we had in Dubai, there are a few experiences that I have been recommending to every one of my friends who have been since…

    1/ Go up the Burj Khalifa

    It is the tallest building in the world – you can either book ahead & pay just to go to the viewing deck or for around the same spend you can reserve a table in the Atmosphere cocktail lounge a floor below (where there is a minimum spend of £50ish per person for a 2 hour table.) We went at sunset and it was GLORIOUS (make sure you book at least 2 days ahead.)

      Dubai Must do Burj Khalifa worlds tallest building

     

    2/ Meander through the Dubai Mall 

    Admire the two waterfalls, the plethora of international shops and linger in one of the best people watching spots we have ever been in. (We also ate
    burgers for dinner from New Zealand – this may have been one of my intentions even
    before entering the country, and I’m not ashamed).

    3/ Watch the Dubai Mall fountains dance 

    You can see it for free from the mall but we found the less busy view was from the Armani hotel (at the bottom of the Burj Khalifa) with a glass of New Zealand Sauvignon Blanc – the hotel plays the music the fountains are choreographed to in the hotel bar.

    What to do in Dubai Mall Fountains

    4/ Venture into the sand dunes. 

    I wrote about our overnight in the Dubai desert in a Sheikh’s summer home/desert conserve (we went in luxury with Platinum Heritage who had offered us a media rate and we loved & would have paid full price for) but if short on time there are dinner experiences where you will be collected from your hotel & driven to and from the desert. 

    Overnight in the Dubai Desert like a Bedouin




    5/ Explore Dubai with an expat guide. 

    We did a day tour with Barti – he took us on a private highlights tour of Dubai which was fascinating. He took us through the history of the sandy city, shared his experiences of Dubai changing over the last 15 years and shared a few special gems with us (including a cute shop where we bought a Christmas Tree decoration, ironic I know). 

    City Guide Dubai essentials

    6/ Cross the infamous Dubai Creek in a water taxi.

    City Guide Dubai essentials Dubai Creek water taxi

    7/ Barter in the spice and gold souks. 

    Try camel milk chocolate if you’re brave enough it is really rich.

    City Guide Dubai essentials Gold Souks

    City Guide Dubai essentials

    8/ Take in a Friday Brunch 

    They are rather legendary and sadly the only experience we missed due to time constraints (aka. spending too much time in the rooftop hotel pool).

    9/ Day trip to Abu Dhabi 

    It’s about an hour & a half drive from Dubai the taxi we caught cost about £40 each way or there are organised day trips from Dubai. Whilst there, definitely have a sandwich & coffee (or afternoon tea) at the Jumeirah @ Emirates Towers. You pay to enter, but the entry fee is redeemable against food purchased in the restaurant.

    Abu Dhabi city guide UAE must do

    10/ Visit the Abu Dhabi Grand Mosque

    ABSOLUTE MUST DO. The mosque also runs free tours & the sunset one we took was utterly breathtaking.

    Abu Dhabi Grand Mosque city guide UAE must do

    So, convinced yet?

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    City guide to Dubai and Abu Dhabi

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