I reckon the more I talk about travel and share my sharings about travel and just put it out there into the world, it’ll eventually manifest itself and we can jetset into the skies once again lol

sharing three tips/tricks we’ve picked up over the years of travelling which will undoubtedly come in handy on your next trip which will be very soon inshallah! (manifesting for all of us here)

 

  • changing SIM cards upon arrival

I always change my SIM card as we’re landing, just to save time and have everything up and running once I’ve deplaned but never pack the little iPhone pin to poke your phone to open the little SIM slot. Easiest alternative: your earring! I always get stares by people sitting beside me like what on earth is she doing, but once I’ve managed to make the swap, some have even asked if I can do the same for them lol if you haven’t got earrings in or are a dude with no piercings, be brave and ask the air hostess and 9 times out of 10 she’ll know exactly what you’re on about!

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  • Lost suitcase key

You’ve arrived at your destination itching to shower and change your clothes. You frantically look for the itty-bitty suitcase lock you swore was in your wallet to no avail.  Can’t remember the lock code even though you swore it was 0000, or realize somehow someones magically swamped locks on your case (this has happened), which only annoys you more because you need to get into your case. Find yourself a pen (a pencil works too but preferably a pen) and all is well with the world.

Make sure both zippers are together and simply poke the pen through the closed zip in close proximity to the zippers themselves to ‘break’ the zipness. Run the pen along the zip to ‘open’ the zip et voila! I’m sure this isn’t the best treatment for your zip, but sometimes you really have no choice and are stuck in a pickle so gotta do what you gotta do! Closing the case back is super easy; grab hold of the zippers themselves and run them back around the case to lock it all in place!

 

  • No bug spray, no problem!

Picked this one up after a few jungle treks and safaris! If you’ve left your bug spray in a carry on and its taken at security and you can’t be fussed to get a new one, or don’t like sprays, or simply want an alternative which is a little stronger at keeping pesky bugs away, pick up a vicks/vaporub which works wonders. I’ve found it longer lasting and works fab around campfires or longer treks where maybe you don’t want to carry a spray for topup, but you can either pick up one of the mini vicks tubs or be old school and scoop a bit into a plastic baggy and you’re good to go! I wouldn’t recommend slathering it on your entire body lol but places you’re prone to getting bit ie. ankles, around the neck, wrists. A little defo goes a long way!

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Have you tried any of these before?! Do you have any hacks you swear by?! I’d love to hear from you! Share below in the comments! xoxo

Vegan, Halal, cruelty-free?! Words synonymous to what we’re having for lunch lol but how often do we think about them when it comes to makeup?!

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Personally, I’d never heard of ‘halal-certified’ makeup; I’m a Sephora kind of girl as I’m sure many of you are, and more concerned about whether I like the particular shade/product than if it’s halal or haram

Cue Shade M Beauty. A brand which reached out a few months ago asking if I would be interested in trying their liquid lipsticks which were Halal Certified, PETA Approved, Vegan Friendly, and Cruelty Free. Not going to lie I was a tad skeptical right off the bat because of the ‘halal-ness’ of the product; as if to allude that what I was currently using was oh so wrong and not permissible and honestly just the words ‘halal’ and ‘makeup’ together kinda sorta made me feel like something would have to be compromised I order for that dynamic to work. This might be a terrible example lol but I can’t imagine regular bacon tastes anything like ‘halal’ turkey bacon (please tell me this makes sense lol)

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Like myself, you’re probably wondering what on earth makes a product ‘halal’ (permissible according to Islamic guidelines). A couple of google searches later, Vogue Arabia seems to have it down pat:

Halal skincare and cosmetics range from lipsticks to serums that are produced without any pork, dog, or alcohol ingredients. Halal also stresses the significance of a holistic lifestyle, so the concept of what constitutes a product as “halal” or “haram” goes beyond the ingredients used and includes the packaging, manufacturing, as well as the distribution methods. Other requirements suggest that halal beauty products must be handled with clean utensils and must be produced with materials that are not harmful to humans.

That being said, halal skincare and cosmetics extends beyond the presumed Muslim demographic; many women from all walks of life are looking for products with cleaner ingredients which don’t test on animals and don’t compromise on quality.

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Shade M does all that and more. And I was pleasantly surprised. I travelled with their liquid lipsticks, used them in a variety of climates, tested a range of colors, and found myself going back to them on the regular.

The brand was created to challenge the existing market by raising the bar and reshaping the beauty industry as we know it. A brand made for bold and beautiful women around the world, Shade M believes that a major part of loving oneself is using beauty products which are clean and safe.


Halal – Vegan – Cruelty-free

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Briefly touching on the nitty gritty of it for you below before we get into the shades themselves!

Halal

Formulas are free of pork and all other animal and insect by products deemed unclean in Islam. We’ve skipped out on all the pork-derived ingredients popular in the cosmetics industry, such as oleic acid, lanolin alcohol, gelatin and glycerin. None of our products use insect by-products, like carmine, a red pigment commonly used in makeup that’s derived from dried and crushed beetles blood.

Our products are manufactured on separate lines, guaranteeing that each item is made using clean utensils and machines. We can assure you that there’s no cross contamination with Shade M products and non-halal ingredients.

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Vegan

By PETA’s definition, vegan means that a product is made completely free of animal products and animal-derived ingredients. As a vegan friendly brand, this means that our formulas are free of gelatin, cholesterol, collagen, guanine, honey, oleic acid, carmine and other ingredients commonly found on beauty shelves. Whether you consider yourself plant-based or carnivorous, vegan products are proven to be not only friendlier to our skin but also our planet – and all without any compromise.

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Cruelty-free

In compliance with PETA’s definition of cruelty-free all ingredients and processes involved in the making of Shade M makeup, from production and development to the final product, were without any tests made on animals. Thanks to modern technology, we’re able to test and assure the safety of our products without hurting any animals in the process. Shade M is passionate about minimizing harm to our planet and we really do love everyone (even the smallest of creatures)!


Okay onto the fun stuff!

Introducing Shade M’s Matte Liquid Lipsticks. The Muse range features 15 shades of highly pigmented long-lasting matter liquid lipsticks made in Italy. Remember I mentioned being skeptical about compromising on quality? Totally not the case with these lip colors. The formula glides on so so smoothly, smells amazing, and is super pigmented so you get the ultimate coverage in just one swipe; another thing I loved was the applicator itself which is in a tear-drop shape so you can can line and fill with precision.

Hand on heart these are super long-lasting and hardly need any touch up throughout the day. I wore them in Costa Rica and Dubai and made a point to carry them in my bag in case I’d need a top up, but was pleasantly surprised each time I’d catch myself in the mirror. They do need a couple seconds to dry completely, but once the colors on, its on!

You’ve probably been able to gage my love for nudes and nudey-pink and nudey-brown-pinks and the odd bright color haha so I’m obviously biased with some of my favorite shades!

Desrose and Vivid are my perfect nudes; Desrose is more of a brown undertone while Vivid has a pink one

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Lila is a fab mauve with like a hint of lilac/brown/nudey goodness

Red Hot is a lush classic red which isn’t super bright or orangey; definitely a beautiful bold pop of color!

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Foxy I loved whilst on holiday; a perfect burnt orange, but like a vivid burnt-orange which looks gorgeous on tanned skin against the blue ocean! So so good!

Mauj was me stepping out of my comfort zone lol reds are usually as bold as I’ll go on my lips, but took one for the team with this deep purple which kinda sorta grew on me!

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The one shade which caught me off guard was Xcentric which is a silver metallic crazy pop of bright metal goodness all on its own! I’ve seen it be used as a great way to create art and its definitely a must for festival season if that’s your thang, but I’ve only experimented with it in the inner corner of my eyes or under a winged liner for a tiny pop which was more than enough for me lol but loved it nonetheless!

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These are all gorgeous shades which are grand staples in any makeup kit. I reckon you could also play around with the tints as cream eyeshadows or blush (on my ‘to-try’ list!). As Eid’s approaching soon this would make the perfect gift for any makeup enthusiast or even a pretty everyday color for mama! Shade M currently has 25% off your entire order for Ramadan which is an added incentive if I do say so myself!

Check them out online here, and follow them on Instagram so you’re updated on any promo codes or future product/color launches! Promise you won’t be disappointed! xoxo

 

 

Wasn’t planning to do this at all lol but given Sephora’s annual Spring Savings Event won’t be here forever and I’ve been getting messages about makeup/skincare, thought I’d share some of my faves that are available on the site in case you were interested in trying out some new products!

If you’ve got no idea what I’m on about, use ‘SPRINGSAVE’ at checkout on the Sephora site for some monies off your order based on your membership account!

I’ve already made my order a couple days ago (just a couple skincare bits), but the items below are ones I’ve purchased, would repurchase, and have been using for ages, so hand on heart they work [for me!] x

Skincare

Caudalie Pore Purifying Gel Cleanser 

-love anything from the Vinoperfect range; the Radiance Serum and Instant Detox Mask are 10/10

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Estee Lauder Advanced Night Repair Serum

-fab for anti-aging (fine lines, wrinkles)

Lancome Youth Activating Concentrate 

-also an anti-aging serum; I tend to use this during the day. Claims you’ll see radiant skin in seven days and have to say it’s true; granted if you use it regularly

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Concealer

Fenty Beauty Pro Filt’r Instant Retouch Concealer

-I go between this and Tarte’s Shape Tape and the Maybelline Age Rewind concealer (which aren’t available on the site), but this blends easy and provides grand coverage

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Foundation/BB Cream/Primer 

I stopped wearing foundation a while back and wanted to focus solely on my skin. Achieved a state I was happy with and wanted something lightweight to wear which would look like good coverage but wasn’t foundation and would enhance the ‘good skin’ if you will lol

Tarte Amazonian Clay BB Tinted Moisturizer -Medium Tan *unsure if they’ve changed their packaging, but this is what I could find! pretty sure it’s the same thing if not similar!  

If there’s one thing you ‘must have’ from this list, this would be it. I love love love this product and how it covers and the finish it gives; def an 11/10! I usually apply this with my fingers and it does such a good job; most times when I get asked what foundation I’m wearing, it’s this!

Tarte Amazonian Clay full coverage foundation -Medium Tan Sand

Got this because I figured if the tinted moisturizer was that good, the foundation must be out of this world. It is lol but I think I still prefer the former for everyday use. If I want a bit more coverage I mix both together and it gives the loveliest of finishes!

-both are also oil free formulas!

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Smashbox Oil&Shine Control Primer 

You see this working as soon as you put it on! I tend to get a little oily on my t-zone so only use it there, but if you tend to have oily skin it might be worth trying this out!

Giorgio Armani Luminous Silk Foundation – 6.5

I know this is a little on the pricey side but a) a little goes a long way so you’ll have it for a while and b) it give you beautiful flawless silky smooth coverage with this healthy natural glow which I love love x I’d say it gives you medium coverage and doesn’t look cakey at all

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Highlighters

Anastasia Beverly Hills – So Hollywood

*my fault, I’ve just googled to find out this is discontinued lol but if you manage to get your hands on it elsewhere, its fabulous!

Becca Shimmering Skin Perfector– C Pop

-gives you a healthy little glow which no ones ever complained about! when the light hits, it gives a beautiful radiant touch to le face

Cover FX Enhancer drops

I purchased the minis in these a while ago and like to use them under my foundation for a glow. Either these or MAC strobe cream work wonders!

 

Hourglass Ambient Metallic Strobe Light Palette 

love love this for a healthy glow, either on it’s own or with highlight on top. I reckon you could use each one separately, but I run my brush across them all and apply it on the cheekbones and temples after everything else. It gets all the right places and looks like you have naturally glowing skin!

 

Lips

Anastasia Beverly Hills Liquid Lipstick – Stripped

all-time fave and only ever wore this at one point! One of my favourite pinky-nudes, lasts all day and doesn’t dry out! I feel like we might have to do a nude lip post at some point because that tends to be my go-to and we’ve acquired too many options lol

(Dusty Rose is another option which is more pinky than nude if that’s your thing)

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Perfume

Chloe Nomade

Picked this up at a Sephora event last year hence the engraving, but it smells like floral, musky travel in a bottle which is right up my alley! always always get complemented on it when I wear it and definitely a fave!

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that’s it for now! will hopefully do GRWM on instagram using some of the products so you can see them in action and go from there! xoxo

 

Ramadan Kareem friends!

Ramadan is one of my favorite times of the year and I’ve honestly loved practicing it in a Muslim country, in my own space where I can decorate and practice in peace and quiet lol alhamdulillah I’ve been able to jet home just in time for Eid, but this’ll be the first in ages from start to finish with the entire famalam! definitely a lot more people, noise, and meal requests lol but looking forward to it nonetheless!

If you’re unfamiliar with Ramadan, here’s a quick run-down – also my 5 goals from a couple years ago in the event you’re interested in having a read!

With only a few days before the holy month, which is bound to be different for the entire ummah this year, thought we’d suggest a few ideas on how to make the most of this time at home. Easy suggestions that I’ll personally be trying to implement, but just because the world is cancelled atm, doesn’t meant Ramadan has to be!

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  1. I’m a big believer that Ramadan (and Eid) is all about the atmosphere you create in your space and within yourself. Create a space in your bedroom which is free from any distractions and can act as your little place of solace. Prayer mat, prayer beads, maybe some fairy lights (Ramadan lantern lights lol) somewhere you can retreat to at the end of the day to just sit and connect with God. – Would also suggest this in your common space/living room at home; since everyones at home, why not make that a little prayer hub gathering space for reading quran and praying!

 

  1. On the talk of prayer, lets all unmute that adhan app lel no more fumbling to turn it off as it it plays on loudspeaker on the train. Since we’re all home we can make more of an effort to actually pray every salah on time AND in jamat with everyone which is a win! (all about getting them god-points in!)

 

  1. Set up a playlist of Islamic lecturers and Quran reciters you’d like to listen to during the month, while you cook etc.; some of my faves are Sulaiman Moola, Mufti Menk, and Omar Suleiman for their lectures, and Omar Hisham Al Arabi for Quran (also if you have other suggestions please let your girl know!)

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  1. Set up a swear jar/bad word jar; this has always been a favorite of mine with friends and family lol any bad words you say means you’ve got to put in a dollar or two into jar. Just an easy and fun reminder to watch what comes out of our mouths, especially in this month; at the end of Ramadan donate the money to your favorite charity!

 

  1. Set a goal to memorize a new surah; obviously speaking to myself before I speak for anyone else, but I always make this intention and somehow never seem to find the time. We’ve got nothing but time now lol

 

  1. Having a grateful journal, notepad, anything to write in really; something you can keep by your bedside and jot in at the end of each day or each week. Ramadan is all about improving your character and the inside stuff, so keep track of the small things you’ve consciously done to achieve this. Maybe you stayed patient in a situation, maybe you didn’t raise you voice at annoying siblings, maybe you were about to say something unkind but stopped yourself; the more you’re consciously aware of these small changes, the easier it’ll hopefully be to continue practicing them after Ramadan!

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  1. Plan zoom iftars/futoors with your family/friends! Breaking fast with people and that sense of togetherness is another highlight we’ll all be longing for this month but we can try to make do as best as possible. Dress up, sit together, keep the virtual gang close, once adhan is called and everyone makes dua and opens fast together, I’m sure it’ll be just as special x

 

  1. Try and walk everyday! We do this with my family, especially after fajr which I love and it’s a grand way to get some exercise in instead of sitting after a meal and feeling blah. We’re so accustomed to going straight to bed after fajr or even tarawih because we’ve got to get up for work the next morning, but not anymore!

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  1. Don’t forget about charity! Ramadan is a month where any charity you give is doubled and gets you even more god-points than the usual. Totally aware that there are some people whose financial situation is a little grim at the moment given the current situation, but if you’ve got the ability to do, give as much as you can. Even if you know of a family who’s maybe been affected by the crisis or laid off and need a helping hand, that counts as charity! Offer to help, or leave a Ramadan care package at the door anonymously, we’ve all got to do our part where we can x There are also going to be loads of accounts on Instagram fundraising for projects both at home and abroad which are also great avenues to donate to; I always try and diversify my charity and give a little to various places, but a little goes a long way friends trust me! (even if it’s $1; that’s a meal for someone in some parts of the world) – “Charity never decreases wealth. Rather, it increases it, it increases it, it increases it.

 

  1. This is one which I’ve promise myself to practice at least once a week. Make the effort to show up for yourself! Again, this’ll be a first of no getting dressed up for futoor or suhoor tents, no wearing your favorite abaya and oud for tarawih, or new clothes for jumah etc etc etc. but still do it! It’ll obviously be tempting to stay in pyjamas or a dara3a/bati all day, but pls don’t do it. Change your clothes for futoor/iftar, still wear your nice abaya, and if you can’t do it every day, at least on Friday for house-juma! I’m spending this weekend getting out and organizing my dara3s, abayas and Ramadan smells because they’re also some of my favorite parts about this month. Again, it’s all about the atmosphere you create in order for it to ‘feel’ like Ramadan!

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and that’s that! Would love to hear some of the ways you’re getting into the Ramadan feels at your place x comment below or lets chat on the gram!

Wishing you and your families a very blessed Ramadan inshallah x endless love, duas, and hugs from this end xoxo

 

Last month I had the privilege of writing a piece for Villa 88 Magazine (@villa88magazine) on some of my greatest travels and potential winter destinations I’d recommend and never got around to sharing! A 6 page spread which had me geeking out and in awe of how good it looked haha

A little about Villa 88, “conceived by leading businesswoman Asma Al Fahim, Villa 88 answers the demands of Emirati ladies for the highest quality inside information on the finest luxury fashion, jewellery, beauty and spa, home and travel in the Middle East and beyond. One of the region’s most exclusive lifestyle magazine, beautifully produced and hand-delivered to an elite target group, consisting of the Emirates’ most discerning and prominent women.” 

Super proud and honoured and can’t wait to get my hands on a hard copy so mama can see and feel proud too lolol you know how this story goes x magazine images below followed by the actual piece so you can have a read!

Enjoy! xx

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Vienna, Austria

Vienna during the holidays is just as magical and enchanting as it feels during the rest of the year. Truly a quintessential European feel to the city with beautiful architecture and culture around every corner, Vienna for me was slightly more elegant in nature than any other European city I’ve traveled to. It’s also very accessible on foot or by metro which makes life a little bit easier. Visiting the museum and National Library even just to see the gorgeous interiors is worth the visit; the Kunsthistorisches Museum Wien (Art History Museum) is home to the most beautiful café I have ever come across. St. Stephens Cathedral is open to the public and in the middle of the town square so you can’t miss it. Schonbrunn Palace was once the imperial summer residence and requires at least half a day to tour the beautiful grounds and envision what life for Empress Elizabeth must have looked like once upon a time. Don’t miss out on the stunning Karlskirche Church both during the day and evening for a mesmerising reflection which will leave you in awe!

Kigali, Rwanda

When most people think of Rwanda, the genocide of 1994 is what immediately comes to mind; questions of safety and how developed the infrastructure might be cloud your judgement and you end up dismissing it as a potential destination. Don’t be one of those people! Rwanda has been named the safest country in Africa and known for its breathtaking scenery. Often called ‘land of a thousand hills’, it stays true to its name. To best experience this for yourself, why not walk across the largest canopy walk in all of East Africa, 200 meters long and165 feet high over the lush greenery of Nyungwe Forest National Park; if you’re lucky you might even get a glimpse of the beautiful wildlife soaring between the trees. Scared of heights but love animals?! Gorilla trekking at Volcano National Park is most definitely a once-in-a-lifetime experience where you can visit these beautiful animals in their natural habitat. Home to approximately 17 different groups of mountain gorillas, conservation efforts of the park are truly to be commended in order to ensure the safety and well-being of the gorillas. With tea being the largest export of Rwanda, a visit to Gisakura tea estate is a must. Learn about the history and process behind our nations favorite drink and help pick out the perfect leaf! Remember, 3-leaves is key!

Karachi, Pakistan

As my trip to Karachi was a short one, I wanted to experience as much of the country and culture as possible! From beautiful clothing, to trying fresh samosas on the side of the road, to riding camels on Clifton Beach, I have to say we did well! The food in Karachi was amazing but there’s definitely a risk of you getting ill if you eat from some of the roadside stalls – this is obviously something recurrent regardless of where you travel, but you have been forewarned! I got a bit of a stomach bug from eating anything and everything, but would do it all over again because it was THAT good! I recommend trying the Haleem (lamb and lentil stew), samosas, jalebi, paratha, tea; try it all and I promise you won’t regret it! For more of a sit down meal, Kolachi is the place to go; traditional Pakistani cuisine in an open air restaurant right by the beach is a perfect way to end any night.

Kathmandu, Nepal

Nepal was my very first solo-travel destination and a forever favorite. Perfect for backpackers, a group of friends wanting to do some trekking, or anyone interested in going off-the-beaten path. After being hit by an earthquake in 2015, many historical monuments and temples were destroyed and much of the city continues to be under reconstruction, however there is still so much to discover and experience from this country so rich in culture! Start off in Kathmandu, the capital city, for a taste of the hustle bustle on crowded streets amongst street vendors, cows, tourists, and the never ending honking of cars. Visit Patan Durbar Square where you’ll find the freshest (and best) samosas and fried cabbage fritters wrapped in newspaper. Swayambhu Temple and the Boudhanath Stupa are an uphill climb, but the view from up top is completely worth it. Views of the Himalayas and Everest can be seen from Nagarkot, and be sure to catch sunrise from the roof of Peaceful Cottage Hotel for the best view! No trip to Nepal would be complete without a 7hour bus ride through the winding hills, (on a dual-carriageway which should really only be a single road) to Pokhara which is usually the starting point for Everest base camp. Pokhara is much quieter and calmer than Kathmandu and is a great place to perhaps wind down near the end of your trip. Take a canoe ride on Lake Pewa, or paraglide over the Annapurna Valley, the choice is yours!

Seoul, South Korea

Seoul is ‘Seoul’ cool! The city had all my favorite things at once, street food, fashion, vintage clothing shops, endless Korean skincare, and cute socks, what more could you ask for?! The metro is extremely convenient and the ticket machines easily translate to English which is great! Culturally, the city boasts a little bit of something for everyone. Whether you want to stroll through the traditional houses of Bukchon Hanok Village, rent a Hanbok (Korean Traditional Dress) and step back in time at Gyeoungbokgung Palace marvelling at the intricate architecture and sternness of the palace guards, or stop by a food truck at Common Grounds as you watch a break-dancing show, there is always something new to experience. My absolute favorite is the Myeongdong district, best known for its shopping, nightlife, and food. Neon lights and shopfronts shine brightly bringing the street to life, the smell of various street delicacies wafting through the air. Octopus anyone?!