Had the pleasure of spending some time with my Radisson Blu family again (Dubai) and thought I’d do a quick run-down of the properties I stayed at in the event you’re ever in town and in need of a place to stay!

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First up is Radisson Blu Deira Creek

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Next up is Radisson Blu Dubai Media City

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and lastly we’ve got Radisson Blu Dubai Waterfront

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There are a couple other residences in Dubai and hotels in other Emirates, but these are the ones I’ve stayed at before as well and would definitely vouch for! Everyone at each hotel is always extremely friendly and personable, address you by your first name and wanting to go above and beyond to ensure you have an enjoyable stay x promise you won’t be disappointed!

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For as long as I can remember I’ve always been slightly insecure about my skin and longed for the day I’d feel comfortable enough to leave the house without any makeup on me face. Tried and tested loads of products throughout the years as I’m sure loads of you have as well, and I think I’ve managed to find a set routine which has worked wonders for me! Yay!

I was in Korea last year and in awe of everyones glass-like, glowy skin, completely clear of imperfections and the abundance of skincare products available on every street corner and wanted in on the secret – fact: it’s a super overwhelming experience and doing your own research on certain products and how to use them will save you so much time and money in hindsight.

If you haven’t heard about Korean skincare or the K-Beauty regimen, I definitely recommend you read up on it, check out some before/after photos, and give it a go before shutting it down completely. The objective of K-Beauty is to focus on your skin, nourishing/hydrating it, so it looks healthy and oh so amazing without the need for makeup (sounds too good to be true yea?!) It all comes down to the art of layering, no not clothes for once lol but your products in a specific order which I’ll go through with you below! Instead of relying on one particular product to do all the work, Koreans believe that layering products allow the skin to breathe and avoids clogging the pores.

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7-10 steps seems like a lot morning and evening, but I promise this will soon become one of the most therapeutic and rewarding parts of your day! It varies only because you don’t need to do certain steps every single day (exfoliate, sheet mask, oil cleanser) but you can gauge for yourself depending on what your skin needs that particular day.

A massive prerequisite would be to understand your current skin type and what issues you’d like to work on (excess oil, uneven skin tone, acne etc.). This will help make it so much easier when choosing which specific products you’d like to incorporate into your routine.

If you’re skeptical about going all in and purchasing an entire new skincare regime, I’d recommend you begin with the products you might already be using on the daily and try layering them in order as per the infographic above (in case layering doesn’t make sense, essentially means you simply apply the next product on top of the previous one!) Try that out for a couple weeks, see if you notice a difference and go from there!

I’ve listed and linked some of the products I’ve been using since December which have made a massive difference to my skin and in its appearance – can officially do the leaving house with no makeup on lol so your girl is completely sold on this!


 

This is a travel-size version of the original tub it comes in. Using two cleansers (oil and water-based) might seem like much, but double cleansing ensures all the gunk is completely removed and your face is squeaky clean (oil-based cleansers remove oil-based makeup and impurities)

I love this Heimish balm because it goes on as an oil (apply straight to your face makeup and all) and when you add a bit of water it turns into a bit of a cleanser consistency which you keep working into the face and then wash off. I double-cleansed religiously when I first started the routine but now only tend to do the oil-based on days I wear makeup; water-based is everyday.

Next is a water-based cleanser which gently removes the oil residue and any water-based impurities.

I usually apply one pump to my face, work it in and wash off; can use a FOREO or other cleansing device for a deeper clean if you like!

Toning is one of my favourite steps of the entire routine. I think you’re meant to apply a bit of toner to a cotton pad and wipe any residue left on the face which isn’t a bad idea lol  (I do this sometimes), but then I go in and layer my toner an additional 4-7 times to ensure it all really gets in there. Pour a bit into your palms, rub, and apply to your face using a patting motion. Definitely think the key is to pat with love so all the goodness gets soaked in, but I definitely recommend layering a minimum of 4 times to achieve maximum results!

The purpose of toner is to balance your skin pH levels; this toner in particular works amazingly, wasn’t super strong, targets a few issues, and one of my faves!

Essence helps add another layer of hydration to your skin prior to your serum/ampole. Adding an extra layer of hydration helps with the texture and plumping of fine lines and wrinkles. Essence tend to be of a thinner consistency than serums and help prep your skin to absorb the goodness to come (serums/ampoles).  One pump, rub between palms, and pat onto your face!

I’ve heard good things and bad things about SPF but it’s been a staple in my routine even before the K-Beauty routine. Korean SPF brands are the only ones I use because I find them to be perfect; not greasy or oily, don’t leave any white residue, don’t smell, and in my experience they just naturally come in higher SPF forms. You can also get great water-based ones but this one has been lovely so far. I’ve had this tube since December and we’re still going strong!

I remember doing loads of research on this moisturizer and trying to find it for ages a few years back, even in Korea and it never happened. It’s got a high count of collagen, meant to do wonders for fine lines and wrinkles, elasticity, firming, and an overall glow. It does all these things and I love it lol because it’s of a slightly thicker consistency I only use this in the evening to maximize its effect on me face; a little goes a long way, and again, patting is key!


 

I hope that’s provided a bit of insight into the entire process and inspired you to try it out for yourselves. I’ve been doing it regularly for about 7 months now and am still shook and saying bismillah and alhamdulillah to the changes it’s made to my skin. Granted it’s not just the products themselves, eating well, drinking lots of water, a healthy lifestyle etc etc. is obviously also key; what you put inside is obviously going to reflect on the outside, but this has helped loads too!

I’ve recently begun to alternate between some serums and toners, and using certain products in the morning/evening so might potentially do another (much shorter!) post just on products to provide some options to choose from.

Super excited for you to have a go at this and wish you nothing but lovely jubly glowy radiant skin inshallah! xoxo 

Was in Oman a few weekends ago and had an absolute fabulous time. Susan and Dagmo and I worked together in Kuwait and went our separate ways last year so it was lovely to catch up and see each other again! Dagmo’s moved out to Oman and we bunked with her lol so won’t be able to suggest accommodation this time around! She’s based a little out of Muscat itself, but nothing super far out; I was in Oman about 5 years ago and we stayed in Muscat so would suggest that be a starting point!

Created this ‘pocket-guide’ if you will with some of what we managed to get done over the weekend alongside an Oman bucket-list for a future trip so that might help in the event you’re planning to head over!

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I would definitely recommend renting a car or getting a driver whilst your over because it will make your life SO much easier! Last I was over I remember it being near to impossible to hail down a cab; depending on time of day and specific location it was so difficult! We were stranded at the Masjid for ages after prayers because there wasn’t a cab in sight. It didn’t look too promising this time around and from what I’ve heard it hasn’t improved much.. Dagmo having a car was a massive relief!

Sidenote: Omanis are some of the nicest people you’ll ever come across. Not once during our time did we feel unsafe or have creepy men making comments or staring etc. which fyi is kinda sorta common to encounter in most Middle Eastern countries. (I asked if I could take their photo hence them looking lol)

Sharing photos alongside bits&bobs below!

Nizwa Fort/Nizwa Souq

-5 OMR charge ($13USD)

-we drove and it took about 1.5-2 hours to get there. Easy straightforward road similar to the on from Dubai to Abu Dhabi, just a lot more scenic!

-timings vary especially on Friday due to Friday prayers [open on Friday from 8am-1130pm and then from 130pm-6pm]

Sultan Qaboos Grand Mosque

-beautiful masjid and would always recommend Friday prayers at any masjid

-we had a bit of an unfortunate event in terms of who was and wasn’t a ‘tourist’; our friend Susan was kinda sorta kicked out/asked to leave because she wasn’t Muslim and told she should come back during tourist hours. Mind you the space was relatively empty and there was no reason for it..Dagmo and I entered and our Muslamic-ness was questioned quite thoroughly lol whether we were Muslim or not, despite being dressed in full hijab and abaya. Questions were then asked about why we were wearing sunglasses ‘like that’ if we were Muslim coming into a masjid..because it was sunny lol – mind you this isn’t typical

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-spent our last afternoon/evening by the pool which was probably the best decision we could’ve made. Gorgeous weather, stunning views, and the most beautiful sunset as the tide went out x would definitely recommend spending a day or afternoon here even more so due to the location of the hotel up on a bit of a cliff (I believe we paid 8 OMR p/p ($20USD) for a towel/access)

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Would love to hear from you or see photos of your trip if you ever venture to any of the above, or if you find new hidden secrets let your girl know! xoxo.

A couple weeks ago we spent the weekend in Abu Dhabi and had a grand time! I’ve been a couple times prior but this time had a chance to play tour guide to my sisters who were visiting so yay! If you know me you’ll also know that playing tour guide is one of my favorite things to do so I was obviously over the moon!

Sharing what our weekend consisted of in the event you’re ever in Dubai and fancy heading over for a little more than just Sheikh Zayed Mosque!

Day 1

We drove from Dubai to Abu Dhabi Thursday afternoon in wanting to catch the sunset at Sheikh Zayed and the transition from day to night with the lights. The drive was about an hour and a half, and if you don’t drive taking a Careem is always an option or a public bus (25 Dhs-one way)  from a few locations, Ibn Battuta Metro being one of them. There are also tours that head over almost daily solely for the purpose of the Mosque and other attractions (Emirates Palace) so Groupon would be a great place to check for that!

We stayed at the gorgeous Bab al Qasr situated on the Corniche which was unbelievably stunning and right across from Emirates Palace and Marina Mall so #primelocation.

First off, it smells divine as soon as you walk in – they wouldn’t tell what scent they use, but Tom Ford was name dropped lol (if anyone knows please let your girl know). The architecture and Arabesque interiors perfectly compliment a modern-day Bedouin feel which is consistent throughout the hotel and ugh. Just so so beautiful!

(sidenote: Bab Al Qasr means ‘gateway to the palace’ which kinda sorta sums it up exactly!)

Once we settled in, got over the prettiness, selfies taken etc. we headed over to the Grand Mosque. The Mosque is open to tourists on the daily except Fridays during prayer time (midday) so definitely don’t plan to go then (unless your Muslim and intending to pray because then yes, I’d definitely suggest it!) Prior to entering everyone has to cover; women are provided with a hooded abaya (long dress with a hood) to cover their hair which is standard procedure for most places of worship. Arms and legs for both need to be covered and bottoms need to be at least ankle length, nothing above. The mosque is always my favorite in terms to its beauty and just the serenity it brings to my heart and soul. Definitely not to be missed!

Spent the evening at Yas Mall for some shopping and munch which was lovely and worth checking out. I believe Warner Brothers Studio is also close by if that tickles your fancy and/or if you’ve got kiddies who need some entertaining!

Day 2

Afternoon was spent at Sheikh Zayed again for juma (Friday prayers), which again I will forever recommend.

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We were booked in for high tea at Observation Deck at 300 by Jumeirah later that day which was also perfect timing to catch the sunset from up above. The observation deck is located on the 74th floor of Jumeirah at Etihad Towers and is the highest vantage point in Abu Dhabi where you’ve got a 360-degree view of the skyline. Another place not to be missed!

Day 3

Reluctantly checked out in the morning and crossed the street over to Emirates Palace. In actuality Emirates Palace is a 5 star hotel in AD but feels completely palace-like from the moment you step through the doors.

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You’re free to walk around inside and dine at any of the 14 restaurants inside. It’s also where you can grab a coffee with 24k gold dusted on top because why not lol

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Heritage Village is just up the road if you’re interested in a bit of traditional Emirati history. Entry to the park is free and it’s another touristy place to hit up.

The Louvre was next and I was super excited for the sisters to see the beautiful dome on the outside bit. Another favorite of mine which would be a shame to miss!

Apparently the ceiling was designed to reflect light into the museum like palm trees do; you don’t necessarily get the palm frond, but the reflective light is spot on and so beautiful [the museum itself is grand as well!]

We stumbled upon a place called Manarat Al Saadiyat as we were looking for places to eat nearby. Such a neat creative space used for exhibits and the arts which was nice to have a look at. There’s a restaurant inside called L’Arte which had good munch, wasn’t busy at all, and quite the Instagram location, so worth checking out in my opinion!

Evening was spent at the St. Regis back by the Corniche for the launch of a new Afternoon Tea held at the Azura Panoramic Lounge . Unbelievable views and would recommend the lounge for sunset views yet again!


Regardless of only being a couple hours away, our time in AD genuinely felt like a holiday and my sisters actually preferred it to the hustle-bustle of Dubai. It’s smaller, quieter, and less touristy, but not to be overlooked if you’re ever in town, moreso now that you’ve got a bit of an itinerary made xo.

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Special thanks to Bab al Qasr for hosting me during my stay in Abu Dhabi. Thank you also to Jumeirah at Etihad Towers for hosting us for afternoon tea. All opinions and views expressed are my own. 

After last years #7yearhomecoming to Nepal, I returned this April with a super special someone (Mama) who I’ve always wanted to show my Nepal to!

Super long story short and I think I’ve mentioned this before, Nepal was probably my first solo trip at 19 when I went to volunteer for about 6 weeks and it’s always going to hold a special place in my heart x Mama’s been wanting to go for ages and ever since I can remember, she’s wanted to see the Himalayas and I’m sure climb them as well haha but I did the best I could and tried to fulfill that dream via watching the sunrise over them and Everest so it was a quarter of a win I suppose!

This is a rundown of what our 4 night, 5 day itinerary more or less looked like. I stayed for a bit longer last year with Lucy so we were able to fit in Chitwan National Park and see the elephant sanctuary and more wildlife etc. but that’s probably the only thing slightly missing from this time around; that and staying in an area called Bhaktapur. We lingered in and around the area but didn’t stay a night which we had done before, but I’d recommend it after ‘Day1’ if you’re going by the itinerary below just because location-wise it makes the most sense!

definitely think the following is realistic for someone who’s maybe headed to Nepal for the first time and wants to experience a bit of everything in a short time, which is what I had in mind for mama, but you can always stay a day or two longer in one place and take out another etc etc. as it suits you best! Going to try and not get into too much detail so this doesn’t long out, but places, things to maybe visit whilst you’re in the area etc. are down below and you’re always more than welcome to get in touch if you’ve got a jillion and one questions because promise I won’t mind answering them!

Nagarkot

Nagarkot is a village in central Nepal kinda sorta at the edge of the Kathmandu Valley and known for its views of the Himalayas and Everest. Its about an hours drive from Kathmandu Airport and one of the maddest car rides you’ll ever experience! Mostly uphill on the absolute worst, not even roads lol, ‘path’ I would call it, where 2-way traffic is a thing despite there only being enough space for one car and you risk falling off of steep cliffs (there are no barriers), but you do it anyways because you’ve got to get to Nagarkot! Nepal is actually known for having some of the worst roads in the world, and this is no exception lol last year the drive was made at night in the rain which meant mudslides and even more unevenness and no visibility whatsoever, so all my goodbye world messages were done as I prayed to make it out alive just because you never know what might happen!

Unless you’re interested in hiking and trails are your thing, I’d say 1-2 days max are enough in Nagarkot, maybe even one and a half. Get there midday, walk around the village, get through a smaller hiking trail, sleep in the cold (it’s always super cold in Nagarkot so bring a jumper and gloves!), wake up early to see the sunrise, have breakfast, and take the local bus back down to Bhaktapur!

I’ve never taken a local taxi upwards and instead opted for airport pickup by the hotel seeing as it tends to be the first stop; the drivers they send are slightly more familiar with the roads and terrain as opposed to the city drivers so that’s always a good thing. Nagarkot is also the first stop just because its slightly out of the way than other places and this way you’ll start at the farthest and make your way West-ish to everything else!

I’d recommend staying at the ‘Peaceful Cottage’ (hotel) just because so far they’ve given the best view of the sunrise. Didn’t stay there this time around, but I remembered where it was and snuck mama and myself onto the roof bit and caught it from there. There’s also supposedly an observation tower to catch the sunrise from as well but I’ve never ventured that way so can’t help with that!

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Thamel

Skipped Bhaktapur and instead of taking the local bus down from Nagarkot, mama decided we should hitch a ride with strangers lol initially it was just to the end of the road so we could catch the local bus, but turns out our new friends were also headed there so we joined lol to be honest if you get the chance, I’d recommend it; people are extremely nice and helpful and not even in a schemy get-rich-quick type way in that they notice you’re a foreigner [this happens in the city], but in remote areas everyones willing and wanting to help if they can, so step out of your comfort zone and have a little faith in the goodness of people and you’ll be glad you did!

Got dropped off at a random roadside only after our friends ensured the bus driver knew exactly where he was taking us (faith in people again!); I planned for us to spend the afternoon and night in Thamel because we needed to book bus tickets for Pokhara the next morning. Thamel is a tourist hub and this beautiful dusty congestion of people and shops and bikes and cars all on the same road lol and because of this there are tour companies at every corner where you can book anything from flights to paragliding to elephant safaris etc. Managed to bargain bus tickets at a decent price without getting the standard tourist scam price (I’m always proud of this lol) and also found a halal momo place outside the hotel which was blessed alhamdulillah.

Mama wasn’t a fan of Thamel because of the dust and chaos and garbage but I love it; walking through the streets, getting lost, coming across cool shops and trying random food on the street etc. lol I hardly notice the madness, but also maybe because I’ve been before so knew what to expect!

Bus ride to Pokhara

So this is definitely something I’d recommend everyone do if you’re ever visiting, like a must must!  A 6 hour bus ride doesn’t sound too appealing, but I promise it’s one experience you’ll never forget. No photos of the winding roads and incredible views below (which are actually a tad terrifying in real life) can really do it justice. Legit breathtaking and you’re left in awe of it all and how freaking beautiful and wonderful this world really is.

There are definitely other places which you can travel to via these buses which follow a similar route, but I’m not too sure whereabouts; Pokhara and Chitwan (Chitwan National Park) are ones I’d recommend just because I’ve been, and also if you opt to go water rafting, the same buses drop you off on the way so #samesame

Pokhara

Pokhara itself is a beautiful place in Nepal, one of them ones that makes you feel like you’re not really in Nepal lol quieter, cleaner, less busier, and I think suited for maybe an older audience (Mum preferred it to Kathmandu lol) I’ve got another post coming on what to actually do in Pokhara so I won’t get into too much detail here; think of it as a quaint getaway I suppose!

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Fly out of Pokhara to KTM

Because we were short on days, I opted to fly out from Pokhara on the way back instead of doing the 6hour bus journey again. It’s a small domestic airport and we totally underestimated the size of the plane itself! Legit the smallest plane I have ever seen or sat in ever ever ever! Maybe a 12 seater with the personal space factor being synonymous to what you’d find on a public bus lol it was one of those rides you say bismillah on and hope for the best haha

Once we got back to Kathmandu, the plan was to head to a small village called Godawari. Godawari is where I stayed during my very first trip and I wanted to take mum to show her my Nepali families, where my school was, the streets I roamed and all that good stuff! Mum also opted to not take a taxi so we did like the locals and bussed it from the airport to the local Lagankhil bus stop with suitcases piled on our laps and from there took another bus aka minivan cramped with as many people as possible lol and finally made it to Godawari!

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Godawari

Godawari is the type of village where electricity is sporadic and the day ends when the sun sets. The type where lizards are friends and if the occasional one is found on your bed or while you squat in the bathroom, you’re apparently not meant to freak out…! It was lovely to take mum around and show her the route I used to take to school, where I’d get local munch from and just reminisce all those memories and feels with her by my side. Lots and lots of love to my Nepali family for hosting mum and I for the night and treating us like their own! Love you Mridula!xx

Kathmandu

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Headed back to the city for our last night in Nepal and figured mum had been a good sport and stayed in some pretty unconventional accommodation thus far lol so we should maybe find something cutesy to end the trip with. We hadn’t yet roamed about Durbar Square or any of the temples so opted to stay at Hira Guest House which was right outside the Golden Temple and a stroll away to the main square. Pathan Durbar Square is another place one should definitely visit if you’re in town. A lot of it is still under construction after the earthquake and I suppose to someone who has never been before it all probably looks like rubble, but it always hurts my heart walking through because I remember what it used to be like; how certain temples towered over you as you walked through alleys, and the flow of people from tourists to locals to worshippers who would gather in the square, the smell of incense almost choking you as you’d breathe lol;  not to say it’s dead and there’s no vibe to it, but definitely a bit of difference from before! There’s also a fee to enter the square, different rates apply if you’re a foreigner versus local or Indian, and I know this sounds really terrible, but I always tend to enter from the back route just because of familiarity with the streets so have kinda sorta avoided the ‘toll’ if you will, but just letting you know so it doesn’t come as a surprise!

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As for Hira Guest House, mama loved it as did I, and would definitely recommend it to anyone. The building itself has some historical meaning behind it and I believe it belongs to a member of the royal family who had preserved its authentic architecture both inside and out, and its actually one of the few structures in the area which was untouched by the earthquake which is super subhanallah! Regular bathrooms, hot water, lovely view onto the courtyard as well as a rooftop you can get photos on, have breakfast at, or just creep on the city really lol don’t not stay here if you’re in town!

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–and that’s that! It has literally taken me ages to complete this and I feel a whole lot better now that it is lol but hopefully it might come in handy for one of you at some point and maybe even inspire you to trek over to that part of the world! Also put together this cutesy infographic of our 5 day guide to Nepal which I think might be something we do for future trips! Enjoy! xoxo

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