I have a confession, I’m in a bit of a blogging rut. I have, what I believe is, writers’ bloggers’ block, when it comes to writing a post these days.

The personality that once shone through in posts, feels like it’s sort of vanished – for me, personally.

The majority of my posts lately have been reviews, and I love that because I’ve had the opportunity to discover and try lots of exciting new places and things. However, I can assure you that that is not all my blog is about.

I used to love pouring my heart out in blog posts and sharing everything that was going on in my mind, but lately when I’ve tried to do more personal posts (except this one here) I’ve just stared at the blank page in front of me and become rather frustrated.

It could partially be due to a lack of inspiration as I’ve become a bit of a hermit in the past few months, and the thought of going out – though I do push/force myself to head out – has been quite difficult lately. As I mentioned in the other personal post I did recently, it’s been a tough few months and for some reason I’ve become the polar opposite of who I used to be, in that I used to find any excuse to go out (such hearing an upbeat song on the radio, and calling my friends up seconds later pleading with them to go out that night – true story), but I now find any excuse not to go out.

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Everyday, I am pushing myself to get out there even if it’s just something as small as meeting up with someone for lunch or going for a walk in the evening. But right now, I’m in a place where I’d rather stay in and watch 585985 vlogs/Gogglebox than have a wild night out. I refuse to believe this is due to the fact that I’m turning 25 in 20 days. OMG. Help.

I feel like I’ve basically been stuck in a bit of a rut, and to be honest the only things that excite me at the moment are my blog and just doing fun, quirky things. For example, my boyfriend and I recently decided to turn into 12 year olds and raid the pick ‘n’ mix (as someone in their 20’s I don’t know why it feels so fun doing this), and then head to the arcade in Dubai Mall (it seems my boyfriend has some of the best spur-of-the-moment ideas). Playing silly car racing games and air hockey is a surprisingly nice change from going out and drinking overpriced drinks at bars – not to say I don’t mind doing that on the odd occasion!

I think I lost the focal point of this post, sorry… So, yes I’m sure there are people out there looking at my blog regularly (hello to all two of you!) thinking ‘oh god, not another review’, and I am sorry! I’m a little lost about where to go with my blog, because half of what people said they enjoyed was my personal posts and how open I was. This post and the ‘Changing my life’ posts are a start , I guess. However, I’m slowly trying to carve out its direction.

You see, I’m a journalist by profession, and I’ve predominantly written on lifestyle and luxury lifestyle publications in my career so far.

I love writing about fashion, beauty, travel and doing restaurant and hotel reviews, because that’s what I’m passionate about. I would love to write about fashion more, but I feel I’m a little limited at the moment as I see so many gorgeous outfit posts by bloggers and just sigh when I look at them now. I’ve unfortunately put on a lot of weight, meaning clothes that aren’t loose and hide all the lumps and bumps are a no-go currently. And because of how I’ve been feeling lately, I haven’t helped myself at all by eating junk and rarely exercising – it’s a vicious cycle :(. Therefore, I’m basically unable to do outfit posts and write about my love of every gorgeous garment, because I’ve basically given myself a shopping ban until I get myself into a healthy routine again. Let’s hope that happens soon…

However, I’ve been loving writing about beauty (if you haven’t seen my fave beauty products, you can find them here) – even though I have a spot so big on my cheek bone that it distracts me when I look straight ahead… obviously I’m better at writing about it than changing my own personal regime – and discovering new products.

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I’m also enjoying visiting new restaurants and trying new food. As a notoriously fussy eater, these restaurant reviews have well and truly pushed shoved me out of my comfort zone, and I’m loving most of the things I’ve tried. Previously, writing restaurant reviews for magazines I’ve worked on hasn’t been my overly enjoyable, whereas on my blog I can be completely honest and add a touch of my personality to the post, so that’s fun!

I hope you have been enjoying my content lately, I know I’ve enjoyed writing it and I’m seriously excited to keep going consistently on Surena Says. My life’s starting to revolve around it, and because it’s something I enjoy so much I’m excited that I have the opportunity to dedicate so much time to it at the moment! On the days that I don’t write a post, I will always try and do something blog-related. Lately, I’ve tried improving my blog photography and have been making the most of my Olympus PEN E-PL7, which has been quite entertaining. Check out a few fancy snaps below, and you can find more on my Instagram here ;).

Neutrogena event at Frioul Dubai, Madinat Jumeirah

Afternoon tea at Fortnum & Masons Dubai

However, if you are getting bored of my posts, I’d really really appreciate some suggestions of what you’d like to see in the future on my blog. Sometimes, an outsiders perspective can help massively so I’d be grateful for any tips, ideas etc. Fellow bloggers, have you ever had a phase like this? If so, what helped/didn’t help? I’d love to hear from you :).

Thanks for reading this rambly mess of a post. It felt good to just get all my thoughts – and thoughts about my blog – out there for you to see what’s going through my mind. I think I’ve lost my touch a bit with blogging, given the past three years have been spent behind a desk worrying about constant magazine deadlines, and I’m struggling to get that personality back into my writing, but I’m getting there…slowly!

Thanks for reading!

Surena x

All of the images featured in this post have been taken on the Olympus PEN E-PL7, you can also find them on my Instagram @SurenaSnaps :).

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Last week, I was invited to try out the newly-opened restaurant at Grand Hyatt Dubai: The Collective.

The Collective’s clever concept

Divided into four cuisines and stations described as ‘Levant Emporium’, ‘Bombay Café’, ‘Grill Bar’ and – my favourite – ‘Boutique Bakery’, the restaurant’s layout leads you through a culinary journey of flavours (however cliché that may sound!).

The Collective, Grand Hyatt Dubai

The concept was briefly explained to my dining partner and I as we arrived at the restaurant, but we were still a little unsure. So, after ordering our drinks, we began exploring the food on offer. Nearing the end of our meal, the ideology was properly explained to us by the manager, which made it much clearer and we wished we’d understood it from the beginning – better late than never!

The Collective, Grand Hyatt Dubai

The restaurant is slightly reminiscent of an all day dining restaurant often found in hotels, with a wide variety of speciality dishes and food to tuck into. However, the difference we found with The Collective was the concept of offering (mainly) freshly-cooked and prepared dishes – rather than leaving ready-made food to go stale for hours, which is what is usually found at all day dining restaurants (though we did find some of these).

The meal and money

After perusing the fare at each station, I began with some vegetable pasta from the Grill Bar station – I was going to tuck into some French fries too, but saw a man picking at them without using the tongs, so I swiftly gave them a miss! There was also a salad station that – the manager later told us – followed the freshly-made food concept, whereby the chefs whip up a salad with your choice of veggies and leafy greens, and a dressing of your choice (there are loads to choose from).

The Collective, Grand Hyatt Dubai

For ‘mains’ I did a bit of mixing from various stations with some freshly-made falafels and bread from the Levant Emporium area, a little bit of roast chicken from the Grill Bar and some rice from the Iconic Bombay Café. Something important to note, which the manager also told us, was that the meat on display is ‘half-cooked/semi-raw’ and you are supposed to tell the chefs at the station which pieces you want cooked. He mentioned that some guests had taken these without having them cooked and then complained – in fairness, it isn’t written anywhere on the Grill Bar’s station, so the chefs need to be extra-attentive to ensure you don’t help yourself to any. However, during our visit the chefs were eager to help and cooked up a storm in the open kitchen, providing a delicious selection of seafood (king prawns, crab and more) and meat for my guest, who couldn’t believe the brilliant deal.

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You see, dinner at The Collective on weekdays costs Dhs199 for unlimited food and soft drinks, and when this includes freshly-cooked meat, seafood, breads and other dishes, you realise that a meal here is great value for money – especially considering the price of normal dishes at restaurants, where you can pay Dhs100+ for a single dish. Now, here is where I confess that I’m a bit strange as I’m mostly a vegetarian, but eat chicken on rare occasions. While there was a good vegetarian selection, I feel meat eaters are the ones who can truly get value for money out of The Collective’s deal – you’d be mad not to try it at least once.

However, I definitely made the most of the dessert section/Boutique Bakery where I enjoyed a freshly-made crepe filled with Nutella. I don’t know what they put in that batter, but I’ve tried many-a-crêpe and this was by far the best (I felt a little resentful sharing half with my dining partner, but shh!). You also must try the little coconut cake pieces they had, I could’ve eaten about five but limited myself to two because I was beginning to feel rather full. Though next time, I’d probably save more space for the desserts because there was a ridiculous amount of choice with banana cake, tarts, fresh fruit and more. The Boutique Bakery was my favourite station appearance-wise too, with gorgeous pastel-hued baking bowls and vibrant desserts on display.

The Collective, Grand Hyatt Dubai

The Collective, Grand Hyatt Dubai

So as you’ve probably gathered, I’d definitely return to the restaurant, especially after the manager informatively explained the concept to me in detail. I think my dining partner wished we could return weekly, so that they could basically eat up the ocean’s population by taking advantage of the unlimited grilled seafood.

The restaurant

I loved the décor at The Collective, with a variety of seating areas all in different styles and surroundings. As you enter, you’re given the option to sit at tables by the lush greenery in the centre of the Grand Hyatt’s lower level, but we sat in one of the booths that overlooked the Grill Bar’s grilling area – you get hungry very quickly at these seats, and you’re conveniently located right at the heart of the restaurant with easy access to food!

The Collective, Grand Hyatt Dubai

Final thoughts

Though the concept was a little confusing at first, now that I fully understand it, I love it. A chef at the Levant Emporium told me that sometimes guests complained about how long food took, but I’d rather wait a few extra minutes (and trust me, it didn’t take long at all) for freshly-cooked food rather than eating lukewarm stale food. It’s a clever format that makes a great addition to Dubai’s dining scene, which I think we should see more of in the future.

The waiters, chefs and managers are extremely attentive, friendly and great to talk to – a welcome change from many of Dubai’s almost-robotic staff. While we drooled over our crêpe being made, we had a lovely chat with the lady creating our calorific masterpiece, and before heading back to our table the manager also spoke to us. I could see his passion for the restaurant, his love of its food and its guests. He was honest, funny and truly cared about each guest’s experience, rather than looking at diners as mere customers.

There were still a number of dishes we weren’t able to sample as there’s only so much you can indulge in, in one visit. So, I’m keen to visit again to give the rest a try – and I need another one of those crêpes! I’d highly recommend this restaurant if you have guests visiting, or for a family meal as there’s plenty of choice for adults and little ones (especially in the Boutique Bakery!). For more information and to book a table, call 04 317 2221 or visit the website here.

I hope you enjoyed this post.

Thanks for reading!

Surena x

Though The Collective had myself and my dining partner as guests for the evening, I will always be completely honest in my reviews on this blog. Though I prefer to use my own photography in my blog posts, pictures were provided by the restaurant. The restaurant was quite dark and my personal pictures didn’t reflect the food as I would have liked it to! 

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This year’s bold Met Gala theme, Manus x Machina: Fashion in an Age of Technology, allowed for some seriously creative ensembles on the red carpet.

With metallics galore, quirky headpieces and robotic arms (it’s a no from me, Zayn), this theme was everything I could’ve asked for and more.

In contrast to previous years, I loved the majority of the gowns and get-ups that the celebrities picked (it could be because I am part magpie and attracted to anything sparkly). However, there were some disasters and a few questionable choices. So, I’ll stop rambling and share the looks I loved and loathed.

Love: Kate Upton in Topshop

Kate Upton in Topshop at Met Gala 2016 Engaged to Justin Verlander

I told you I liked sparkle! This simple, but statement dress by Topshop needed almost no accessorising. Upton has completed the look with a gold clutch, a beautiful blow-dry, and one of the most talked about jewellery pieces, an engagement ring, meaning she’s now engaged to Justin Verlander!

Love: Rita Ora in Vera Wang

Rita Ora in Vera Wang at Met Gala 2016

Though I may not be her biggest fan, there’s no denying that Rita Ora looked stunning in this magical Vera Wang gown.

Love: Naomi Campbell in Roberto Cavalli

Naomi Campbell in Roberto Cavalli at Met Gala 2016

I love everything about this Roberto Cavalli number, from the sexy cut-out panels to the meticulous attention to detail in the dress’ border/hemline. In my opinion, it strikes the perfect balance between edgy and elegant. With minimal accessorising needed, Naomi kept it simple with two chunky bangles and some dainty diamond earrings.

Love: Kylie Jenner in Balmain

Kylie Jenner in Balmain at Met Gala 2016

It pains me to put a member of the Kardashian/Jenner clan on here, but I do think Kylie looked lovely at the Met Gala this year in her glistening Balmain gown. Opting for a more muted makeup and hair look than we’re used to, she kept it simple and let the dress do the talking. Dare I say, she looked quite classy?

I have noticed I’ve gone for sparkly, silvery gowns so far (sorry!), but I also loved this look…

Love: Jessica Chastain in Prada

Jessica Chastain in Prada 2

Jessica Chastain rarely fails to look elegant, and this year’s Met Gala outfit was no different. I love the striking blue hue, perfectly complimented by the black embroidery. The structured dress also fitted her figure perfectly.

And now for the not-so-great get-ups.

Loathe: Beyoncé in Givenchy

Beyonce in Givenchy

I am probably going to get some serious hate for this, but (in my opinion) Beyoncé’s ensemble was seriously tacky. Nothing about the dress was particularly flattering, and with her amazing figure, it’s a shame she couldn’t have chosen something a little nicer like she had in previous years. The poofy shoulders definitely didn’t help, and I wasn’t particularly fond of her eye makeup either, but I’m glad she didn’t go overboard with accessories.

Loathe: Grimes in Louis Vuitton

Grimes in Louis Vuitton at Met Gala 2016

I wasn’t fond of any of the Louis Vuitton creations that celebrities wore to the 2016 Met Gala, but this monstrosity was my least favourite. Everything about the look (apart from the embellished Petit Malle bag), just looked so out of place at this event. In my eyes, the Met Gala is a rather elegant and prestigious event, so going for the ‘I’m-not-too-phased-I’m-here’ (what a description) look just doesn’t work for me.

Loathe: Amy Schumer in Alexander Wang

Amy Schumer in Alexander Wang at Met Gala 2016

I love Amy Schumer, I love her figure and I find her pretty hilarious, but even she looks less-than-impressed to be in this gown here. It looks a little like she got carried away playing dress-up in Lady Gaga’s wardrobe, and then had to dash to the Met Gala. Her silhouette looks great in the dress, but the straps and cut-out panels, cheapen the look – along with the bag and matchy sandals.

Loathe: Elle Fanning in Thakoon

Elle Fanning Thakoon

I wish Elle Fanning had gone for something a little more fun than this stiff-looking number. Her hair and makeup looked perfect, but the dress looks a bit like she wrapped herself in a creased duvet that dragged behind her like a messy train.

Loathe: Selena Gomez in Louis Vuitton

Selena in LV

I love clashing textures, but I think it’s gone a little far with this mis-matched Louis Vuitton ‘look’. I’m not even too sure what’s going on (especially with the shoes), to be honest, but I do know Selena has the potential to look far better.

There were many more looks I wanted to cover, but I thought I’d keep this short and sweet. I avoided mentioning outright disasters such as Madonna, Nicki Minaj and Lady Gaga’s looks, because they left me a little speechless.

There’s also a bonus look that I thought I’d squeeze in here. It’s safe to say Claire Danes nailed the theme in this enchanting Zac Posen dress.

#clairedanes #zacposen #metgala

A post shared by Zac Posen (@zacposen) on

Starry night! #Zacposen #metgala #glamour @metmuseum @voguemagazine @instagram

A post shared by Zac Posen (@zacposen) on

I hope you enjoyed this post, feel free to share your thoughts or any other looks that caught your eye in the comments or on Twitter (you can find me here).

Thanks for reading!

Surena x

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Resigning from my last job was one of the scariest things I’ve ever done. Leaving a job is never fun or pleasant, and this was a decision that was made after weeks/months of worrying and feeling – probably – the lowest I have ever felt (not only due to work, but multiple personal factors too).

Eventually, I took the plunge and nervously handed in my notice, but the people closest to me had reassured me that I wasn’t making a ridiculous decision. You see, the first thing friends and family asked when I said I wanted to leave my job was, ‘Do you have another job secured?’, ‘Do you think you’ll find another job?’.

The truth is, I had nothing other than this blog and a few freelance leads waiting for me after I’d worked my notice period (fortunately). Not because I had a crazy quarter-life crisis and just made an irrational decision, but because that is all I wanted to do.

Follow your heart coaster Sass & Belle

A little bit of background

 After leaving the last company I worked for last year, I had intended to take some time out and just not focus on work for a little while (it hadn’t been the easiest job/working situation and had massively run me down). However, I had zero confidence in myself this time last year, to the point of me believing I’d never find another journalism job again (drama queen, or what?!).

The reality was extremely different! I’d been offered four jobs by the time my notice period had been completed. So, following a relaxing two-month trip to London, I knew I had something to come back to.

Due to my shock at being offered one job, let alone four, I thought it was vital that I got myself back in an office again. I gradually started realising that this was definitely not what I wanted. And after an extremely turbulent few months from November onwards, my happiness began deteriorating at a rapid pace. Now, everyone who knows me has told me that they were shocked when I announced that I would be the Deputy Editor of Hospitality Business Middle East (a promotion from my previous role as Assistant Editor of BBC Good Food Middle East). Everyone – though they didn’t tell me at the time! – thought a business/trade publication was the least likely job role for me, a girl who loved lifestyle publications (my experience has mostly been on fashion, beauty, food, travel and features writing). They were right and I knew this deep down, but at the time of moving to the magazine, I knew I’d have full support from my bosses on this confusing/exciting challenge.

I took on the role, knowing absolutely nothing about the region’s hospitality industry – other than the fact that the UAE has some of the most glam, fancy and fabulous hotels, obvs – or business writing.

St. Regis Dubai

The rather glam St. Regis Dubai!

It took some time, but I gradually began getting the hang of it and worked on the title for four issues. I encountered short deadlines, a few dramas (nothing unusual in journalism) and great support – plus a whole lot of learning. Also, when I work on something, I tend to put my all into it and I’m also extremely stubborn. This is a pretty lethal combination at times, so when I was working on the magazine I felt like I could never switch off. I wouldn’t let myself go out and socialise, because though I wasn’t working every single evening when I got home, my mind was constantly worrying about the magazine. I look back and I have to say I am proud of what I achieved, I proved to myself that I wasn’t the ‘airhead’ I thought I was (I’m so lovely to myself…not!).

 However, it was not what I enjoyed writing about at all and I realised that I didn’t have to do what I didn’t enjoy if it was making me miserable (I know life isn’t a bed of roses, and sometime you have to do things you don’t want to, but there’s a limit).

What’s next for my blog and I?

I love blogging and though my blog is nowhere near as good as I want it to be yet, I feel like it’s gradually getting there. I also love having the freedom to choose what I write about freelance-wise (to an extent), and I will also hopefully be trying a new venture that I’m quite excited about.

Though I haven’t saved loads of money, I have enough to get by as I’d started saving in the months before my resignation – and fortunately, I’m not the shopaholic I once was! I don’t plan on getting another job any time soon (if I can help it), and have already had a few offers (that weren’t exactly what I was looking for) that I now have the confidence to turn down (I’m not showing off, it’s just a shock for me to see how much my self-belief has improved and realising that I am capable of getting a job if I needed one). A strange turn of events occurred when I left my job recently that also proved I had made the right decision.

I’m not saying I don’t have mornings where I wake up and think ‘what on earth have you done, Surena?!’, but fortunately the lovely people close to me remind me why I’ve made the decisions I did and that far better things are ahead of me in the future (if I put the hard work and effort in!).

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Life lessons…

This post had three points, and though I’ve rambled a lot (well done if you’ve got this far) I feel like it’s helped me to understand everything a lot better myself.

Firstly, I’ve learnt through everything that your happiness is one of the most important things in your life. Not to be morbid, but you have no idea what could happen to you tomorrow and we have no guarantee of how long we’ll be around for. I’m soon turning 25, so I don’t want to look back to my twenties when I’m 30+ and think, ‘Wow, I spent a lot of time being upset, anxious and miserable!’. I also don’t want to regret not putting my happiness first, when I had the chance to.

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The second thing I’ve learnt and would recommend to everyone is (and this is disgustingly cliché): follow your heart, and take the plunge! Everything has a weird way of working out and you aren’t trapped doing anything you don’t want to do, there is almost always an alternative out there for you. If you love something, why not try to turn it into a job or at least an opportunity on the side?

Finally, believe in yourself! I haven’t ever really believed in myself and to be honest, I’m not exactly 100% there yet. However my confidence is gradually improving. I’ve realised I’m my own harshest critic (if I knew that someone I loved thought of themselves the way I think about myself, I’d be pretty disappointed in them and they’d definitely get a telling off!). I’m not very nice about myself, but through multiple people telling me otherwise, I’m slowly learning that I’m capable at far more than I give myself credit for and you probably are too!

I hope you enjoyed reading this post. I haven’t done a very personal blog post in a long time, because life’s been a little bit of a rollercoaster lately and to be honest, I’ve had no idea how to convey all of my thoughts and feelings – I don’t think I’ve done the best job, but at least it’s an attempt!

I’d love to hear about your experiences and whether you’ve made any life-changing decisions that you’re glad you did in hindsight, so feel free to share them below :). It’s been just over a month since I left my job and I still think that it’s one of the best decisions I’ve ever made, and though I have no idea if things will change within the next few months/years, I’m feeling positive!

Thanks for reading (if you’ve made it to the end)!

Surena x

P.s. Excuse the random pictures, there was a lot of writing so I thought I’d break the post up a bit with some snaps I’ve taken!

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So, yesterday I decided to visit The Hamptons Café & Restaurant, and I certainly wasn’t the only person to have that bright idea!

With almost every seat filled, both outside and indoors, this clearly was the place to go for a chic, tasty Saturday lunch.

The Hamptons Café & Restaurant

But I’m getting ahead of myself. Let me give you a little background to this pretty little eatery.

     The Hampton's Cafe & Restaurant Dubai

Located on Jumeirah Beach Road, The Hamptons is hard to miss. With a pristine white exterior surrounded by an array of colourful flowers, rustic outdoor furniture and a beautiful vintage car parked outside, this quaint café is one of a kind. I’ve dined here once before on a much quieter and cooler day, where we were able to enjoy our food outside, but with summer fast approaching we decided to venture indoors.

The Hamptons Cafe & Restaurant Dubai

The interiors sparked some serious home inspiration/decor envy! There are a variety of seating areas to choose from, with terraces, balcony seating, cosy and intimate spaces or in the heart of the action on the ground floor, between the kitchen/dessert counter and the entrance.

The latter is where we were seated on this rather busy Saturday, and though the whirring of the coffee machines was initially a little distracting, our chatter soon drowned it out.

I knew what I wanted to eat, without glancing at the iPad menu presented to me, as I had been dreaming of it since the first time I visited a few months ago: buttermilk fried chicken, served with homemade slaw, and sweet potato fries or truffle wedges. I chose the wedges this time, but I preferred the tasty sweet potato fries I had tried during my last visit.

We also ordered the Burrata salad with homemade basil pesto, rocket leaves and tomatoes. This was great for sharing or as a starter, but you would potentially still be a little hungry if you opted for this as a main on its own.

Picking your drink at The Hamptons is one of the hardest things you’ll have to do. There are a vast selection of smoothies, juices and very tasty virgin mojitos – I went for the strawberry one, which was incredibly refreshing and moreish, while my friend chose the strawberry milkshake (I’ll be ordering this next time).

Strawberry Mojito at The Hamptons Cafe & Restaurant, Jumeirah, Dubai

The food was incredibly filling, and I had to have a little help with my buttermilk chicken (read: I – very easily – persuaded my boyfriend to eat the entire last piece). This was a tactical move as I was determined to have dessert, because I obviously needed it after eating this rather indulgent dessert the day before (BAD, SURENA).

Though I was lucky enough to eat the rose macarons that the café is renowned for on my last visit, they’d run out of that particular flavour this time. So, I decided to share one of the most delightful slices of red velvet cake (yes again, and I am contemplating doing a list of my favourite red velvet cakes in Dubai soon, so stay tuned). Do I regret it? Mostly no, other than after seeing the horrific numbers on the scales this morning – I’m hopping on the treadmill straight after this blog post.

Red Velvet Cake at The Hamptons Cafe & Restaurant, Jumeirah, Dubai

If you do visit The Hamptons (you’d be mad not to at least once, whether you live in the UAE or are on holiday here), or have visited and not tried its desserts, then I’d definitely recommend trying the rose macaroons and red velvet cake for dessert. However, I will warn you that you will be craving them long after your visit!

Rose and Chocolate Macarons at The Hamptons Cafe & Restaurant, Jumeirah, Dubai

The café offers a great selection of dishes for breakfast, lunch or dinner and I’ve been told that the breakfast, in particular, is also worth trying. Though the food is a little pricey, it’s great for a treat or special meal and worth every penny Dhiram. On average, a meal for two can cost roughly Dhs200+.

During my visit, I took a peek at the first floor (I thought the café was only one floor, silly me!), which was occupied by a baby shower – um, hello birthday lunch venue… What I didn’t know, was that the second floor is a picturesque rooftop terrace. Sadly, I only discovered this after browsing the website after my visit. The Hamptons Café is the perfect spot for catching up with friends, celebrating a special occasion, escaping the hustle and bustle of the city for a quiet cup of tea or even indulging in the High Tea – I haven’t tried this, but it’s been recommended to me before (advance booking is essential).

Conveniently, this makes for a great excuse to visit The Hamptons again – to check out the views and not to indulge in another incredible meal, of course. Ha!

To be honest, with the elegant decor that draws inspiration from its namesake New York state, the wonderful staff – who manage to look effortlessly calm, even when the eatery is full-to-the-brim with demanding diners – and, of course, the food, I’d quite happily move into The Hamptons Café.

If you are planning on visiting The Hamptons Café, I would recommend booking a table in advance (call +971 4 331 5118 or visit their website here).

Flowers outside The Hamptons Cafe & Restaurant, Jumeirah, Dubai

I hope you enjoyed my review. Let me know your thoughts, comments, suggestions and, if you’ve visited the café before then be sure to leave your recommendations.

Thanks for reading!

Surena x

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The irony that it has taken me all day to write a blog post is not lost on me. I’m pretty awful with procrastination sometimes, I always have been – I’d be the person frantically doing homework during registration at school, or the person pulling an all-nighter at university doing an assignment that was set a month ago and due in at 8am.

However, with time I’ve gradually become a little better with it. Working in journalism, an industry that revolves around deadlines and quick turnarounds, has certainly helped. That magazine needs to go out in the first week of the month, no matter what and you cannot be the person who holds it back. So, I thought I’d share a few tips with any fellow procrastinators out there that may (or may not) help you to be more productive!

1 – Break it down

A task can sometimes appear far bigger than it actually is because you’ve spent so long avoiding it and thinking about what a chore it’ll be to do. Sit down, clear your head and break it down. For example, if it was a 1,500 word feature I would need to produce, I would break it down into the introduction, each point I needed to cover within the main copy and how I would conclude it. I realised, once bullet pointing all of the areas I needed to cover that it wouldn’t take so long after all, and I’d often actually think it was pretty easy!

2 – Get it done

Though this is easier said than done, sometimes if you just throw yourself into doing what you’ve been avoiding, you find yourself becoming immersed in it. I hate the thought of getting on the treadmill when I wake up, but when I’m actually on it, listening to good music and realising I’m working towards losing weight and getting healthy, I actually start really enjoying it. Try not to think about it too much, rid yourself of excuses and just do it!

Victoria's Secret PINK, VS Pink yoga pants/leggings

3 – Set goals or rewards

This may not work for everyone, but it sometimes worked for me. Set yourself little – or big – goals/rewards such as allowing yourself a quick browse of Instagram once you’ve done half an hour of work or if it’s a big task, maybe allow yourself a takeaway in the evening…essays don’t seem so bad when you’ve got a pizza at the end of it all! Alternatively, set yourself time-related goals e.g. I’m going to have written 500 words within 30 minutes or I’m going to finish this by a certain time. You’ll feel great when you hit the goal and you’re in charge so if you do tweak it slightly…no one will ever know.

4 – Think of the bigger picture

Procrastinating is easy to do, but it’s also quite unfulfilling (even if you have managed to make yourself breakfast, watch your favourite TV show and upload an Instagram – true story…see below). Instead, think about how great you’ll feel once you’ve finished. It will feel like a huge weight has been lifted off your shoulder, you’ll feel a lot calmer (guaranteed), you’ll feel a little proud of yourself, you’ll have time to do something fun or all of the fun things you wanted to procrastinate with – that you can now do guilt free!

Barry M nail polishes Instagram

5 – Save the stress

Think about how you feel after you procrastinate. I know that I, personally, feel more stressed, disappointed and frustrated with myself. When it comes down to rushing a task that you’ve put off for ages, you’ll wish you’d done it earlier and sooner. Don’t put additional stress and pressure on yourself and get whatever needs doing…done.

6 – Don’t miss out

A lot of the time, procrastination will make you miss out on opportunities. I’ve found this with job applications or updating my CV in the past. I’ll see the job of my dreams, but know that the cover letter/CV updating isn’t the most exciting task so I’ll put it off and before I know it, someone else has been hired. Or, I’ll complain about my figure all the time, but I’ll put off exercising. I know, in hindsight – especially when I see transformation photos on Instagram – that if I had started working out regularly (and eating right) far sooner, then I’d be much closer to the figure that I want. Basically, you snooze, you lose!

7 – Good things take time…

… So when you leave yourself two hours instead of two days to do a task, the chances are the quality of the end product won’t be half as good as if you’d spent the right amount of time on it. Utilise the time you’ve been given and do a good job of it, it’ll be far more rewarding. You’re also less likely to make careless mistakes or sacrifice high standards. Your reputation could also be tarnished if you’re known for regularly producing rushed, poor-quality work.

8 – Get organised

Getting organised has helped me the most when it comes to avoiding procrastination. I now live by lists, I fill my notepad with things I ‘must do’ each day. That’s a tip I learnt from a past ‘Get sh*t done‘ feature in Glamour magazine. Instead of writing a ‘to-do’ list, write a ‘must-do’ list, it’ll give you a sense of urgency and pressure to get the tasks done. If you think you can only realistically achieve a certain three tasks in a day, write that down rather than aiming for eight and feeling rubbish when you’ve only done four things on the list. Getting organised and writing down things you need to do in a day allows you to see how much you have to do in the time you have. Seeing that you’ve got another two large tasks to complete within the next two hours will hopefully deter you from watching yet another cat video!

lists help to avoid procrastinating

I hope that’s helped! These are things I’ve learnt over years of procrastinating, and I’ll often have a think about these points when I’m contemplating procrastinating, which then makes me realise that watching reading seven other random articles/blog posts is not going to help me get a blog post done!

Thanks for reading and feel free to share this if you found that it helped you or leave any other tips in the comments too :).

Surena x

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