Hello everyone!

I hope you’re having a good week/weekend :).

Today, I’ve decided to share my ultimate beauty favourites with you, because I love having a nosey at fellow bloggers’/vloggers’ beauty obsessions and staples and thought I’d share mine.

My daily makeup routine is ridiculously basic and has barely changed over the past few years, but I do sometimes add new products into the mix. I tend to stick to eyeliner (I don’t think I could leave the house without it on), lipstick and powder, along with mascara.

I’ve played around with foundations for a few years – my skin used to be extremely clear with spots appearing very rarely, but that’s changed and my skin is now a bit of a state due to an unhealthy diet, my hormones hating me and a recent issue of breakouts whenever I drink any alcohol. So, I’ve started wearing foundation fairly regularly now (a few times a week) and though I’ve been through umpteen different brands and shades (it seems my skin colour is pretty hard to match with high-street and high-end brands), I seem to have found the best foundation in the world… I don’t even think I’m exaggerating too much, to be honest!

Anyway, enough rambling. Here are my current ultimate beauty favourites!

Nuxe Micellar Cleansing Water with rose petals

Nuxe Micellar Water with rose petals

I discovered this product – and the next one – almost by accident. I interned for Cosmopolitan Middle East in 2013 for a few months and on my last day, the team presented me with a huge bag full of goodies – much to my surprise! This was in it, along with two other Nuxe products. I tried it months later and was instantly hooked.
I’d been suffering from lots of little spots at the time and poured this onto a few cotton pads, gave it a swipe across my face to remove my makeup and it was just perfect.
A lot of micellar waters irritate my eyes as I wear contact lenses, but this didn’t cause any discomfort at all. I also love rose-scented things (candles, beauty products, perfumes… the list goes on!) and this has the most beautiful fragrance, along with the product below. Nuxe do a variety of deliciously-scented products, but the rose ones are definitely my favourites.
After using the Micellar Water, my face feels incredibly fresh and clean, and it gets rid of makeup exceptionally well (including thick layers of mascara). I’d highly recommend it to anyone struggling to find a good makeup remover or suffering with problematic skin as it works wonders, and I would also suggest using it with the next product.

Available from: Sephora & Boots (in Dubai).

Nuxe Gentle Exfoliating Gel with rose petals

Nuxe Gentle Exfoliating Gel with rose petals

This exfoliating gel/scrub has been a bit of a miracle product for me since I started using it. As I mentioned above, my skin had broken out with lots of little spots when I first started using it and this cleared my skin up a lot quite quickly.
I noticed a big difference in my complexion within four to five days after using the gel with the Micellar Water.
I’ve tried plenty of cleansing gels/scrubs, including Dermalogica products, and this Nuxe one just seems to work the best with my skin type. Again, it smells lovely and is infused with rose petals (I believe these have been dried and work as the scrub part of the gel, but I may be wrong).
It can be used once or twice a week – I’m currently using it twice a week as my skin is quite bad at the moment, but I don’t feel like it dries my skin out much at all, though I do always apply moisturiser to my face afterwards.
Nuxe products aren’t the cheapest, but they are worth the money in my eyes. I’m happy to go with ‘drugstore’ brands with makeup, but as skincare is extremely important, I don’t mind paying a little more as long as it’s a product that actually delivers – and these definitely do!

Available from: Sephora & Boots (in Dubai).

Charlotte Tilbury Magic Foundation in shade 9 (dark)

Charlotte Tilbury Magic Foundation in shade 9 (dark)

I feel like every blogger has raved about Charlotte Tilbury and her products. I admit, I gave into the hype and dashed to her Covent Garden store as soon as I could at Christmas when I flew back to London. I was tempted by so many products in the store that I’d seen in hauls, swatches and reviews, but I was really good and managed to leave with just two: this foundation and the famed Pillow Talk Lip Cheat lip liner (I regret spending £16 on this as I’ve only used it once because it seems to suit everyone, but me!).
I rambled a little about foundations and my experience with them above, but honestly, this product is magic! It has buildable coverage, which won’t leave your skin feeling caked in makeup  – I avoided using foundation for a long time as I hated this feeling with other foundations I’d tried. I only apply a small amount, and it goes a long way. My skin tone looks even, my overall complexion looks smooth and (I believe) it gives you a slight glow – without making your skin look oily – while also looking very natural. Though it was quite expensive, I know I’ll buy this over and over again. I’ve tried a variety of other foundations and none of them have lived up to this, so I’m seriously impressed.

Available from: Selfridges or The Charlotte Tilbury store in Covent Garden, England – sorry UAE readers. Order it online here.

Make Up For Ever HD High Definition Primer

Make Up For Ever HD High Definition Primer

There’s not too much I have to say about this product, other than the fact that it’s great to apply before foundation to ensure that your skin is moisturised. I also feel that it gives your foundation a better and more even finish as opposed to applying it to a completely clean face. I only use a tiny amount that I massage into my skin, then I let it dry a little before applying the rest of my makeup. It’s virtually scent-free and feels super-soft on your skin, so this is something I’d definitely suggest for someone looking for a fuss-free primer.

Available from: Make Up For Ever stores & Sephora.

Benefit Watt’s Up

Benefit Watt's Up

I was persuaded to buy this last summer in London by two super-friendly assistants on the Benefit counter in John Lewis. They offered to try it on me as I’d asked about it and after one of the lovely ladies had applied it on my face, she gasped and showed it to the other – who also gasped and said it looks amazing –, and I was sold! I used it throughout that summer and constantly got compliments from friends about it (my makeup’s usually so boring that I rarely get comments on it, so I knew this was good!). It’s so easy to use, all you need to do is swipe a line of it across your cheekbones – and any other areas you wish to highlight – and blend it in. I’ll usually use it underneath my foundation or powder, but if you’re feeling brave, feel free to put it on at the end of your makeup routine. It’s very easy to blend with the sponge on the other end or using a beauty blender/foundation brush. It’s subtle, but shimmery enough to stand out and I haven’t felt the need to buy another highlighter since finding this!

Available from: Anywhere that sells Benefit products!

Mac Mineralize Skinfinish powder in ‘Give Me Sun’

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Before my foray into foundation, I used to only use eyeliner, lipstick/lipgloss and this powder. Like foundations, I often struggled to find a bronzer/powder that matched my skin tone, until a lady at MAC tried this on me. I instantly fell in love with the colour, which gave a warm hue to my skin tone and replaced my previous penchant for shimmery bronzers (oops). It’s never irritated my skin, a little goes a long way and the packaging is great. I’ve recently managed to lose all of my compact mirrors (sad times), and this is now what I pull out when I’m doing my makeup on the move, which is fairly often due to my not-so-great time keeping. It used to have a clear lid, so I was thrilled when they upgraded the packaging to something a little sturdier/more useful. These powders are great for putting over foundation or using for contouring (if you get a darker shade), but I generally sweep it all over my face with a kabuki brush (I’ve used Body Shop kabuki brushes for years, they’re perfect for keeping in my mini makeup kit). It also stays put all day, which is great.

Available from: All MAC stores and counters, globally.

Kat Von D Tattoo Liner (waterproof liquid liner)

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Eyeliner has been a daily essential of mine for about seven years now, and you’ll rarely see me without it! I’ve experimented with everything: pencil, kohl, gel and now, this liquid pen liner that I have a love/hate relationship with. I enjoyed using a Maybelline gel pot before this that came with a brush, but it ran out and I decided to try something new. Given that beauty bloggers and vloggers had been raving about this liner for months, I decided to pick it up at Sephora and give it a go. I’ve found it a little tricky to use as the liquid dries very quickly and if you try going over it again, it tends to remove the liner in a patchy/weird way, but if you’re more of a pro than me, you shouldn’t have this problem. It stays on pretty well, but if you rub your eye at all it does tend to disappear. However, I am getting the hang of using this liner and it does leave a jet black, clean finish with liquid that dries really quickly (so you don’t have to worry about it transferring to your eyelids). I don’t know if I’ll use it forever, but I’m loving it for now. I do use the Bourjois Kohl & Contour liner for my waterline as it’s a nice, bold black that tends to stay put for hours.

Available from: Sephora.

Real Techniques Essential Foundation Brush

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About a year ago, I decided to splurge on a bunch of Real Techniques brushes because, again, I’d seen bloggers/vloggers raving about them (before #ad was an essential disclaimer on YouTube, oops!). This is one of the only ones I’ve used and the rest remain untouched, because I am absolutely hopeless with makeup and I’m too scared to experiment – terrible, I know…lessons are welcome! Anyway, this brush really is brilliant. The bristles are soft and velvety, it’s easy to clean and it applies my foundation pretty flawlessly. I bought it in a set and I can’t remember how much it cost, but it wasn’t expensive at all so if you’re looking for something basic, simple and easy to use then this is what I’d suggest.

Available from: Lifestyle stores in the UAE or online. I believe UK readers can get them from Superdrug and Boots stores.

MAC Spice Lip Liner

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OK we’re seeing a pattern here now. Bloggers and vloggers hype a product and I go out and buy it.

*Disclaimer* I do promise you lovely readers that I do genuinely love everything I put on my blog and won’t just put something on here if I don’t believe it’s a good product/service/experience.

However, this was definitely worth the hype and I’ve bought three of these so far. They all sold out at one point, no doubt due to the rave reviews, and I searched in about five stores in Dubai and at least six in London before popping into Harrod’s and asking there. The poor lady serving said it was, in fact, in stock. She went to the back to get one, and then I remembered the nightmare I’d had sourcing one and asked her to grab another – I won’t be left Spice-less again, MAC! It’s a beautiful shade that I think could suit pretty much every skin tone. I love it so much that I sometimes wear it on its own (such a makeup novice, I know). It’s the perfect year-round shade and it looks quite natural (to the point where my boyfriend often asks me if I’m actually wearing any ‘lip stuff’). I’m basically obsessed with it, and for me, it works really well with the next product.

Available from: All MAC stores and counters, globally – unless it’s sold out!

MAC Matte Taupe Lipstick

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This is my all-time favourite lipstick shade. If I’m not mistaken, the lady who helped me get my hands on the Spice liner at Harrod’s suggested this when I asked her for a lipstick to accompany it (she is my MAC hero and I wish I remembered her name). I instantly fell in love with this shade. I struggle a lot with lipstick shades to suit my skin tone and can rarely follow fellow bloggers’ recommendations as they often don’t really suit Indian skin tones like mine, I’ve personally found. This shade is a gorgeous browny/red hue that works as a subtle daytime colour or layered a little more on top of the Spice liner for an evening look. I don’t know if it’s for everyone, but I’d recommend trying it. Though it’s a matte lipstick, I find it extremely moisturising and it also doesn’t settle into your natural lines in your lips like a few others tend to. I’ve bought two of these so far and I’ve never used a lipstick so much, I came close to finishing the first one and managed to lose it – I’ve never come close to finishing a lipstick before, so this is a big deal!

Available from: All MAC stores and counters, globally.

Here’s my general everyday makeup look using most of the products above:

Surena Says ultimate beauty favourites

I hope you enjoyed looking through my ultimate beauty favourites, let me know if you love any of the products above too or if you’ve now felt the urge to get your hands on any of the products now. I’m struggling to find a good mascara at the moment – my lashes are reasonably long, but straight and a little sparse – so feel free to recommend your favourites.

Also, feel free to share any recommendations, post suggestions and opinions below :).

Thanks for reading!

Surena x

All images for this post (except the selfie at the end!) were taken on the Olympus PEN E-PL7. 

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Hello everyone!

I hope you’re having a lovely week. Last weekend was probably one of the most relaxing weekends I’ve had and I loved it. I first visited the Dubai Miracle Garden two years ago as I was covering it in a feature for Good Taste magazine, a magazine I previously worked for. However, every year it supposedly gets bigger and better – it really has improved!

On Saturday, I dragged my boyfriend and mum to the flower-filled garden. This is a very picture-heavy post, but I will be sharing information and my thoughts throughout!

Dubai Miracle Garden

If you’re looking to go on a quiet and peaceful day do not go on the weekend. It was extremely busy and if you’re hoping to take pretty pictures, prepare to have someone’s head or back in 90% of them.

Dubai Miracle Garden

However, the Miracle Garden is truly stunning. There are beautiful, quirky details wherever you look and there is so much greenery surrounding you – something we lack a little in Dubai. So, if you do want to escape concrete and skyscrapers, you’ll love spending a few hours here.

Dubai Miracle Garden

Dubai Miracle Garden highlights

I absolutely loved the peacocks, flower houses (I’m desperate to move into one) and floral hearts everywhere. I also loved all of the vibrant flowers they’ve used – according to the website, there are approximately 100 million flowers in total, which is a lot of flowers.

Dubai Miracle Garden

Dubai Miracle Garden

Dubai Miracle Garden

Dubai Miracle Garden

Being in the Miracle Garden feels a little like being in Disney Land (replace the rides with flowers). It’s great for visiting on your own, as a family (I can’t imagine how magical children must find the garden if I found it so enchanting!) or with friends/your partner. It’s an unusual attraction for the region, where you’re often faced with flashing lights, noise and buildings – I can deal with this most of the time, but sometimes it’s lovely to be surrounded by nature and pretty natural sights.

Dubai Miracle Garden

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What else you’ll find at Dubai Miracle Garden

There are SO many places to eat in the gardens, so if you’re coming with little ones don’t worry they won’t go hungry! I’d highly recommend some of the freshly-roasted corn on the cob. It’s natural, delicious and super-sweet. There are also multiple places to buy fresh fruit and fruit juices. There are covered eating areas, which are perfect for the warmer months (look up at the umbrella canopy!) and benches everywhere.

You can also visit the Butterly Garden, I chose not to but if you’re a big fan of pretty butterflies be sure to check it out.

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How to get to Dubai Miracle Garden & entry price

Dubai Miracle Garden is located near Dubai Motor City, you can find a map on the website here. Entry costs Dhs30 per person, with kids under 3 entering for free! I don’t think that’s a bad price at all for what you get to see and the amount of time that you can end up spending in there. Fellow bloggers and Instagram-addicts, you’ll also manage to get tonnes of gorgeous photos to fill your feeds with!

I hope you found this post useful, let me know if you’d like to find anything else out and I’ll try my best to give you my feedback.

If you do decide to visit Dubai Miracle Garden now, enjoy :).

Thanks for reading!

Surena x

I’ll leave you with some more pictures. All pictures in this post have been taken on an Olympus PEN E-PL7.

Dubai Miracle Garden

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Some of these tips for making yourself happier are slightly obvious, others aren’t. Though they may not be for everyone, a lot of these tips help me and I thought I’d share them with you for when you’re feeling down or sad.

Enjoy!

1 – If you have a pet, hug it! Unfortunately, I don’t and sometimes when I’m having a cry I just think everything would be better with a dog or cat to squeeze (gently, obviously).

2 – Think about all of the positives in your life at the moment. Whether it’s something as simple as having a roof over your head or having a job and good friends/family.

3 – Remind yourself of all of the amazing things you’ve achieved so far.

4 – Be nice to someone. Whether it’s a friend or doing a good deed for a complete stranger, it’s always nice to make – and see –someone else happy. Laughter and happiness are pretty infectious!

5 – Take some time out. Be it five minutes, hours, days, weeks or months. Your happiness comes first and if you’re feeling really low, try and find a way to take some time out to figure out how you can make things better for yourself. I did this last year and it helped me to make some decisions that benefitted my life in the long-term, so I’d highly advise it.

6 – Set yourself some goals and try to achieve them. Make sure that they’re written down in your notes app on your phone, in a journal, in a diary, on a blog, in a vlog… wherever! You’ll feel pretty motivated and excited. It’ll also be great to look back and see which ones you’ve achieved or even for reflection to see how you can change what you’ve been doing in order to achieve them.

7 – Look at positive things: quotes on Instagram (check out KeepItBright and ThisIsAHappyPage) or Pinterest, cheerful blog posts (like this one!), articles, vlogs or keep some positive and motivational posters/coasters around you – I have over ten and though people make fun of me for having them all over my room, they do make me happy!

Sometimes, looking at positive quotes may make you happier!

8 – Speak to someone; your mum, your best friend, your sibling or anyone who you feel you can confide in who will listen. After speaking to my mum or one of my friends, I feel like I can conquer anything and they really have helped me to build my confidence by believing in me, along with others.

9 – Go somewhere you love. It could be one of your favourite places from your childhood, a quiet cafe, the beach, the park… anywhere! Whether you go on your own or with someone, it gives you a chance to collect your thoughts and distance yourself from your problems – if only temporarily.

10 – Exercise. I’m awful at this one, but every time I do manage to work out or even go for a long walk, the happy hormones do kick in and I instantly feel pretty invincible – after I’ve managed to catch my breath, obviously.

11 – Listen to music. Preferably something happy and upbeat. Not only will it motivate you, but it is also likely to cheer you up.

12 – Have a little dance. Or a head bob…whatever floats your boat.

13 – Try and take your mind off whatever may be getting you down temporarily. I tend to watch vlogs or read blog posts, or even watch my favourite TV shows. I prefer watching something that is fairly cheerful and requires minimal focus/brainpower. If I really want to switch off and distract myself I’ll watch some of my favourite reality TV shows.

14 – Look through old photographs and cards, there’s plenty of happy moments to reminisce on in those. My friend Johanna made an amazing scrapbook full of memories for my birthday years ago. I recently dug it out and just laughed and smiled at every page. In fact, why not gather old photos (or get them printed) and make your own!

15 –  Pamper yourself (see my post here for super-simple and fun ways to have a pamper day/evening). Treat yourself to something you wouldn’t normally, whether it’s a hot chocolate or a manicure!

16 – Think about all the things that make you a great person. I’m the last person to be big-headed, but it’s always good to give yourself a little credit and recognise what a fab person you are.

17 – Remind yourself of how lucky you are to have the life you do have. Though there may be plenty of negative things happening at the moment, try and focus on being grateful for what you do have and things that are going well.

18 – Avoid dwelling on the past. I am SO guilty of this one, but it helps no one. You can only learn from it and build on bad past experiences or actions. Moping about the past helps no one, especially not you, so why do it?

19 – Look at cute pictures of animals. Instagram and Twitter are the best places for this, in my opinion. I’ve also been told Reddit has plenty too. You’re all welcome.

20 – Do some colouring in. Adult colouring in books have been all the rage the past few years, and it’s not hard to see why. I received a few for Christmas and they’re fun and rather therapeutic. My favourites are the Joanna Basford ones (you can get yourself one here, I love the Secret Garden colouring book), but there are such a variety available now that you can find.

21 – Forget about your worries and your troubles. Baloo the bear got it so right in The Jungle Book. Sometimes it’s OK to just ignore all the mundane, stressful tasks you have ahead of you for just a few minutes or hours. You’ll be surprised how focussed you are if you just go for a quick stroll for 10 minutes or sit outside, and then get back to work or whatever you were doing.

22 – Try and smile. It sounds a bit odd, but if you force yourself to smile or laugh (by maybe looking at the aforementioned cute animal pictures and videos) it may just stick!

23 – Write your thoughts down. Sometimes seeing what’s worrying/upsetting/annoying you in writing can help you look at the problem a little clearer, and can potentially make you feel like you can conquer it. Even the process of thinking about the problem in your head and breaking it down can make it seem so much more simple and manageable.

24 – Paint your nails. You’ll focus so much on avoiding smudges that you’ll forget about your worries – for a short time, at least!

25 – Think about – and be grateful for – all of the lovely people you have around you.

26 – Plan something to look forward to. A holiday, a mini break, a dinner with friends or a Netflix marathon on the weekend (all of these will inevitably happen). Creating a countdown is also surprisingly satisfying.

27 – Treat yo’self! Every now and then, it’s a good idea to spoil yourself. It could be a new item of clothing, the handbag you’ve been lusting after for months or a nice evening at a cocktail bar, whatever makes you happy.

28 – Eat cake. Not necessarily every single time you’re feeling sad, but a delicious red velvet cupcake has been known to turn my frown upside down.

29 – Go for a long walk. Whether it’s down your street, in a park, through city streets or somewhere quiet and calm. It really does help.

30 – Tidy your room. Honestly, mum’s are so right when they say a tidy room is a tidy mind. I often stick on my YouTube music playlist and get to work. You’ll feel so proud and refreshed once it’s all spotless.

31 – Go one step further and redecorate your room. Hop on Pinterest, Harper’s Bazaar Interiors, Instagram and blogs to draw some inspiration, and revamp your room. It needn’t be expensive and could just be a reshuffle of your furniture or painting a feature wall, but the whole experience can be seriously fun and may help you to take your mind off things.

32 – Go to a comedy show or watch your favourite comedians sketches online. You’re guaranteed to laugh at least a little!

33 – Do something crafty. If you’re already a pro at painting and haven’t done it for a while, pick up that paintbrush. Or, if you’re as hopeless at crafts as me, why not learn or brush up on a skill? There are heaps of websites and tutorials online these days so you could try anything from fashion illustration to knitting.

34 – Light a candle. They’re calming and they smell great, what more could you ask for!

35 – Have a relaxing bath. My favourite baths involve Lush products (check out my post about the new store and my favourite products here), candles and silence. It’s a great time to think, reflect and completely zone out.

36 – Cuddle.

37 – Put on your favourite pyjamas. Whether it’s a flannel set or a satin number, just get cosy.

38 – Read. Escape reality for a few hours and just enjoy being immersed in a brilliant book.

Reading could make you happier!

Gorgeous books at Virgin Megastore in Mercato Mall. Dubai!

39 – Volunteer somewhere. It’s a great way to meet people, get out of the house and do something you potentially love. UAE readers, Dubai Kennels and CatteryK9 Friends and Feline Friends are probably always on the lookout for volunteers so try and reach out to them.

40 – Make a list of all of the things that you are grateful for. It should instantly cheer you up.

41 – If it’s your thing, try yoga.

42 – Or if you’re more like me, why not try your hand at boxing (pardon the pun). I find it very stress relieving and fun.

43 – Don’t entirely rely on other people for happiness. You need to learn to be happy with yourself and your own company first.

44 – Try baking, cooking or whizzing up a smoothie. I love creating delicious smoothie concoctions in my Nutribullet, and can honestly say that it’s one of the best purchases I’ve made.

45 – Everything is honestly going to be OK. If it’s not OK immediately, things often do get much better in the long-term. I often find myself looking back at problems I once had and thinking, ‘Wow. Look how much my life’s improved since then, I had no reason to worry after all!’.

46 – Get off your phone and the internet once in a while. It’s so easy to become trapped in a cycle of checking Whatsapp, Instagram, Facebook and Twitter (repeat). Sometimes it’s good to completely disconnect and give yourself some ‘me’ time where you just do nothing.

47 – Glam up! Once in a while, it’s nice to put on your favourite outfit, take your time with your makeup (rather than applying it in a rush in a cab or on the tube!) and feel great – ideally with a special night out where you feel like a million dollars. If that’s what you normally do, then why not do the opposite and take it easy? Have a makeup-free day where you just enjoy putting on your favourite jeans, a cosy jumper and trainers.

48 – Do something you’ve been putting off for ages. We often tend to make the tasks seem far harder than they actually are, but it can feel like a weight off your shoulders once the task is completed.

49 – Sing. Belt it out to your favourite song/album. If you fancy singing at the top of your lungs to the Spice Girls classic albums, do it!

50 -Go somewhere new and exciting that you have never been before.

I hope that this post may have helped to cheer you up if you were feeling low. Feel free to share it with friends and family if you think it could help them too.

Let me know anything I’ve missed in the comments below or on Twitter, it would be great to hear your suggestions :).

Thanks for reading!

Surena x

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Hello everyone!

I’ve had quite a busy few weekends, and one Saturday stood out to me in particular. My boyfriend recently moved to Dubai from London and upon downloading Uber, he spotted the UberCHOPPER option. I had heard about it, but had no idea what it involved, how much it cost and where it would take you.

We decided to find out a bit more, by messaging Uber UAE on Twitter, who promptly replied and told us everything we needed to know, along with how to pre-book it for a particular day. I’ll give you more details about how to book the experience below.

We booked it, with much excitement, and eagerly awaited the special day. We’d been told that the chopper would take off from the Atlantis Helipad and would take us on a 15 minute ride across Dubai (you can select longer times for more money). It’s been my dream to go on a helicopter ride from a young age, so when the day arrived I just couldn’t wait to hop on.

The helicopter!

The helicopter!

After making our way to the Helipad, we were greeted by an extremely friendly driver who took us to the waiting lounge where we were given a safety briefing and assigned our seats on the helicopter after being weighed (the weight must be evenly distributed, so that you don’t end up with a wonky helicopter!).

When our group of six passengers (you will be sharing with others unless you book a group of six) was called up, I virtually sprinted to the door where I was told myself and another lady would be at the front of the helicopter – I sat right next to the pilot, it was amazing! – and my boyfriend and the other passengers would be sat at the back.

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The Atlantis Dubai, Palm Jumeirah

Up, up and away! 

We soon boarded the helicopter, and were belted up and handed our headsets that we could hear the pilot and her commentary throughout the flight (helicopters are loud). The next thing I knew, we were taking off into the sky – what seemed like – effortlessly.

I looked through the windows around me and saw the blue sea surrounding The Palm Jumeirah in front of me and a clear view of The Palm as a whole, including the majestic Atlantis hotel in windows behind me.

There are plenty of opportunities to take photos throughout the experience, (I have about 100 on my phone and you can bring cameras as long as the lenses aren’t ridiculously large), but I’d highly advise enjoying the experience with your own eyes rather than focussing on taking snaps!

However, if you are keen to take photographs on the trip, I think you’d be very pleased with the results. Plus, we were told by the pilot that anything we missed seeing through our windows (if you’re sat on the left or right of the helicopter) on the way out, we would see on the way back as the route goes back on itself. There are also professional photos of you taken throughout the experience (on land), that you are able to look at and buy at the end of the experience.

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The Burj Al Arab, The Jumeirah Beach Hotel and Jumeirah, Dubai

We flew over the – unfinished – World Islands, and towards downtown. Of course, the Burj Khalifa stood out among its surrounding array of skyscrapers. The one thing I kept noticing was that, regardless of all the twists and turns the pilot took, it felt smooth and comfortable throughout the journey.

The World Islands, Dubai

The World Islands, Dubai

The 15-minute journey was perfect for us, we were able to see most of the city and were blessed with clear skies and sunshine on the day that we went. A relief, considering the unpredictable weather the UAE has had recently. I was amazed at the views just before landing as we came back towards The Palm, it’s astonishing how perfectly built the island is and the attention to detail – something you don’t see from land.

Downtown Dubai

Downtown Dubai

The landing meant we faced The Atlantis from the back, it was a gorgeous view! Within minutes, we were back on land and I think every passenger on the flight, including myself, was amazed by what we had just experienced. My boyfriend and I have already said we would want to do it again. Living in Dubai means lots of visitors, so we think we’ll have to make sure that everyone who comes over experiences UberCHOPPER!

The Palm Jumeirah

The Palm Jumeirah

This wasn’t the average outing for my boyfriend and I, so it made for a truly special experience that I think we’ll remember for years to come. So if you’ve got a special occasion coming up or want to treat someone, this is something well worth considering.

Try UberCHOPPER!

I would highly recommend the experience to anyone living in or visiting Dubai. It’s an unforgettable experience and one that we still talk about often – you’ll find me glancing at the photos and videos on my phone quite regularly (check out my snaps on Instagram here).

To book you need to download the Uber app, with your location settings on (you need to be in Dubai, I believe). We were instructed to book UberCHOPPER once it said the option was available, it sometimes says the note below:

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UberCHOPPER on the Uber app

Once the option is available, we were instructed to wait for a confirmation call. My boyfriend handled this part, but I believe he spoke to the person who called and told them that our chosen day was Saturday. We were then allocated a time of 3:10PM, but you may be able to pick particular times depending on availability.

The tour company that we booked with (after requesting the tour on the Uber app) was Alpha Tours. They were very helpful and answered any questions we had. They also sent through the booking confirmation quickly, which had everything we needed to know before our experience (including a map of where the helipad is, it’s the first right after turning right towards The Atlantis when you reach The Crescent on The Palm).

UberCHOPPER price

We paid Dhs1,300 for both of us, a brilliant price considering I was told that some people paid up to Dhs1,600 per person for helicopter tours here. I believe you can also apply an Uber discount code if you have any (feel free to use mine: surenac3ue), which my boyfriend did and got Dhs60 off (every little helps!). We flew in the Eurocopter 130  – Sightseeing Helicopter, which had large windows at the front and smaller, but really clear ones, on the sides.

If you do have any more questions about the experience itself, please feel free to ask me in the comments below or on Twitter (@SurenaSays).

I hope you enjoyed reading this post, and let me know your thoughts if you’ve already tried UberCHOPPER, or if you are now planning on giving it a go!

Surena x

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Hello everyone!

As a huge Lush fan, I was counting down the days for the Lush Dubai Mall store to reopen after it closed for refurbishment a few months ago. While I was excited to see what the exciting new store would look like, I have to admit I did miss it and had to do a few mad dashes around Dubai hunting for other branches for birthdays and Mother’s Day.

But it was SO worth the wait.

Though I liked the way the store looked previously, I’m in awe of the revamped outlet.

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Lush Dubai Mall

I love the rustic shelves, stands and drawers, along with how vibrant the store looks as a whole!

It can be easy for a store with so many products of all different shapes and sizes to look cluttered, but I think Lush has nailed it with neatly shelved and placed goodies under clearly-signed sections.

I couldn’t resist picking up a few pieces and considering I visited the day it reopened (just before Easter), I had to get my hands on at least one Easter-inspired bath bomb. I picked up Fluffy Egg and Milky Bath bubble bar, I’ll admit I bought the latter because of how cute it looked. I’ve already used half of the bubble bar and love how soft and silky my skin feels afterwards, and it also smells deliciously fresh too with cocoa butter and orange oil in its ingredients list.

Lush products

Fluffy Egg & Milky Bath

While the store and products were fabulous, it was also the lovely staff that impressed me during my trip. I often find myself missing the friendly chatter with store assistants in London while in Dubai, but I ended up spending an extra few minutes speaking to the friendly staff at the Lush store. Two of the girls I spoke to had recently moved to Dubai from Boston and England, along with another member of staff (I wish I’d remembered her name), who talked me through all of the new products and some of their recommendations. It made the entire shopping experience really enjoyable, and it was fun speaking to people who were as excited by the brand and products as I often am!

I’m trying to force myself to use up my stash of Lush products before returning to the store, but when I next go it would be great to have some of your recommendations so please do leave them below.

Here are a few more products I spotted at the store, which is open now at The Dubai Mall.

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Karma Bubble Bars

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How adorable are these little guys!


Thanks for reading!

Surena x

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Every now and then life gets a little manic and stressful, so why not give yourself an indulgent (and low-cost) evening of pampering?

It’s something I love doing once every few weeks, so I thought it would be fun to share my favourite ways to unwind and pamper myself.

1 – Change your sheets

Obviously not if they’ve been changed a few days before, but nothing beats getting into fresh, soft bedsheets after an evening (or day) of spoiling yourself. Make sure your room’s nice and tidy too, so you can completely relax.

2 – Run a bath

And not just any old bath. Stock up on Lush bath bombs or bubble bars (I’ve written about my favourite here), and make sure it’s extra-bubbly. Light some candles around the the bath, I love Bath & Bodyworks and Diptique, but scented tea lights work really well too. Lay back, relax and forget all your problems and worries for as long as possible!

Warm Vanilla Sugar by Bath & Body Works

Warm Vanilla Sugar by Bath & Body Works

3 – Scrub

This is one of the most satisfying parts of a pamper routine – in my opinion – because of just how smooth and silky your skin feels after. Exfoliating your skin is a great way of removing dead, dull skin, preventing ingrown hairs (sexy!) and it supposedly helps circulation. I love the Soap & Glory’s Smoothie Star Breakfast Scrub (available here and at Boots stores in the UAE) because it smells delicious and makes a noticeable difference, leave suggestions for any other great ones in the comments!

4 – Get fresh-faced

My skin goes through periods of looking pretty spot-free and normal to being an oily spotty mess sometimes, which is far from fun. However, I’ve found that doing a face mask once every few weeks has massively helped clear a lot of the spots up and my skin feels super-soft and fresh afterwards. My current favourite face masks are the Irish Moor Mud Mask by Peter Thomas Roth, which is available from Sephora in the Middle East and online and the Out of Trouble 10 minute mask by Origins (both pictured below).
I use the Peter Thomas Roth mask quite often and do notice a big difference just days after using it, it’s not too strong-scented and feels nice and cool after application, I keep it on for 10 minutes, walk around my house and try to scare every family member (vital step, obvs), then remove it gently with a flannel and hot water. I managed to pick up the Origins mask when I was in the UK this summer after hearing rave reviews about the brand’s products and though it hasn’t been miraculous, I think it has made a difference after I’ve used it. Sadly, Origins products aren’t available in Dubai – as far as I know – but you can get them online here. The Lush face masks are always lovely and fresh too, but when I’m in the stores I get too distracted by bath bombs and bubble bars…oops! Alternatively, and I’ve been meaning to do this for ages, why not make your own? There are also hundreds of DIY blog posts, vlogs and Pinterest posts with instructions and ideas! Again, if you have any other recommendations please let me know :).

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Out of Trouble Face Mask by Origins & Irish Moor Mud Mask by Peter Thomas Roth with the Warm Vanilla Sugar candle by Bath & Body Works

 

Irish Moor Mud Mask by Peter Thomas Roth

Irish Moor Mud Mask by Peter Thomas Roth

5 – Ditch your phone

It’s scientifically proven that looking at our computer and phone screens make it harder for our minds to switch off before bed. So, why not ignore your iPhone and lose yourself in an interesting book for a few hours. You’ll be surprised at just how refreshed you feel after. I’ve recently started reading books again after far too long – I’m currently reading The Girl on the Train by Paula Hawkins, which you can buy here – and would love to see your favourite book suggestions  below. My all-time favourite is Where Rainbows End by Cecilia Ahern (available here), because I’m a sucker for a cute, cheesy storyline and it’s just such an easy read!

Where Rainbows End by Cecilia Ahern

6 – Can’t let go of your laptop?

If you don’t fancy the step above, another thing I love doing when I’ve got a little free time is watching vlogs or reading blog posts and discovering new bloggers/vloggers. My favourite vloggers are are Zoella, Niomi Smart, Tanya Burr, Amelia Liana, Fashion Foie Gras and Lydia Elise Millen – if you haven’t checked their blogs and vlogs out, I suggest you do! Let me know your favourites :).

7 – Listen to music

I’m talking mellow Kygo-like material not your favourite club anthems. I usually stick on Sam Smith, Ellie Goulding or some tropical house when I’m looking to wind down and relax. You’ll probably find yourself belting your heart out to ‘I’m Not The Only One’, but that’s totally fine. Listening to music often calms me down when I’m having a manic day and listening to your favourite artists is often a simple way to improve your mood.

8 – Sip on a smoothie

These are great for pamper evenings/days. I’ve become rather addicted to using my NutriBullet. It’s great for whizzing up delicious smoothies and you can be pretty adventurous with it. My favourite concoctions are: coconut water, spinach, pineapple, apple and strawberry (I told you, you could be adventurous with it!), and almond milk, strawberry, banana, apple, flaxseed and oats – it’s almost like having dessert!

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9 – Get polished

It can be quite relaxing doing your own nails – obviously after you’ve spent about 20 minutes racking your brains about whether to go for a coral-y or vampy red and not-so-much when you smudge one nail about 0.37 seconds after you finish! Be creative, this is the perfect time to try and recreate some of those Pinterest ideas (I have a whole board dedicated to them here).

10 – Sleep

You should hopefully be feeling quite pampered and relaxed by now, so falling asleep shouldn’t be a struggle. It’s vital to get plenty of sleep both for your mind and body, so get cosy in some comfy PJs, turn your phone on silent and get some shut-eye.

I hope you enjoyed reading this :).

Surena x

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