Dubai Diaries Part 1: Dubai Miracle Garden

If you follow me on instagram you probably know I was in Dubai last week 😉 I decided to get away for my birthday this year and Dubai was a place I’d always wanted to visit. I was there for about 4 days but was able to pack in a lot of sightseeing. I’ll be chronicling my visit to Dubai and my outfits in this new series called Dubai Diaries.

My first stop in Dubai was the Dubai Miracle Garden. I’d heard so much about this place and was told it was a must-see in Dubai, and it did not disappoint. The garden was truly beautiful and I was overwhelmed by the amount of flowers. If you thought Mosaik in Ottawa was great well I’m sorry to say you haven’t seen anything until you see this garden. The exhibits were spectacular and there were plenty of places to grab a quick snack and rest as you toured the garden. One of the exhibits in the garden even set a Guiness world record. The exhibit in the shape of an Emirates Airbus A380 airplane is the  largest flower arrangement in the world.

I decided to play it safe and dress conservatively while I was in Dubai. For my visit to the garden I chose a midi length ruffle skirt  paired with my signature Weekend Fashionista t-shirt in white. I opted for a pair of Lucky Brand wedge heels as I would be doing a lot of walking and I wanted to be comfortable. I tied in the camel colour of my shoes with this Ellen and James rectangle bag. Although I visited during the Winter, Dubai can still get pretty warm during the day so I decided to bring a sunhat to keep cool during the garden tour 🙂

Pro Tip: The garden can get quite busy during the day so it’s best to go earlier in the morning if you want to get some nice photos free of other visitors. I visited the garden around 9:30 am right when it opened.

Admission fee: Admission to the garden costs 45 Dirhams which is about $15 CAD. Remember to keep your ticket as a souvenir.

 

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Travel Beauty Favourites

It’s vacay time!! I’m going on vacation again so I thought I’d share some of my travel beauty favourites. I used to travel a lot for work so I’m quite used to packing my beauty products in a clear plastic bag 🙂

Moisturizers

The recycled air inside a plane combined with high altitude can do a number on your skin so it’s important to moisturize when you fly. I like to pack some face cream, hand cream and lip balm with me. I find my face and hands get especially dry when I fly. My current favourite moisturizer when flying is Olay Classic Moisturizing lotion. I have combination skin so this works well for me. I haven’t been able to find a travel size Olay lotion so I usually just carry some in an empty container (hint: it’s in the circular Nivea container ;)). For lips I go with a generic lip balm like Blistex and for my hands I usually go with a generic hand moisturizer.

Pro-Tip: If you’ve ever been upgraded or traveled business or first class you usually receive an amenities kit which contains lip balm and hand lotion.

Makeup/Perfume

I don’t carry travel sizes of my makeup but I make sure all the makeup I take in my carry-on is 100ml or less. I usually take some foundation, my liquid eyeliner, mascara and a lipstick. I use MAC for my foundation, eyeliner and lipstick. I also like to pack some perfume with me just to freshen up between flights. Most perfumes come in travel sizes that fit perfectly in your clear plastic bag.

Here’s what I’ve got with me:

Foundation – Pro Longwear: NC42

Liquid Eyeliner – Boot Black

Lipstick –  Mac-Syrup

Mascara – Buxom Lash

Perfume- Dolce (Travel Size)

I carry some makeup removing wipes and a cleanser – for freshening up while in transit.

Pro-Tip: Most airports have paid entry lounges that you can use to grab a bite, take a shower and catch a few winks between flights.

After Flight Care

Getting some quality sleep on the plane always helps with jet lag so I like to bring an eye shade with me to block out extra light and help me sleep. A few years ago I discovered a product called Liquid Oxygen by O2Spa. Just a few drops under your tongue or mixed with water can help relieve jet lag and improve your energy. I purchased mine on Air Canada duty free but you can also purchase the product through their website. I also pack a gel eye mask to help relieve puffyness under the eyes as a result of lack of sleep. Gel masks can usually be used as a hot or cold option and they’re great for helping you relax post-flight.

Pro Tip: Drink lots of water while you’re in flight and try to avoid alcohol. The altitude combined with the alcohol will leave you feeling dehydrated and you’ll have a more difficult time dealing with jetl ag. Taking a quick stroll around the cabin (when the seat belt signs are off) will also help with circulation and leave you feeling more energized.

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Valentine’s Day Wish List

Valentine’s Day is just around the corner and here are a few items that are on my Vday Wish list 😉

 

1. Something in red – This cute jumpsuit is the perfect for a Valentine’s Day date. It’s also a nice alternative to a red dress and provides a bit more coverage if you live in a colder climate like I do 🙂

2. Perfume – I love Dior perfumes. Miss Dior Blooming Bouquet is a light romantic scent perfect for Valentine’s Day.

3. Champagne truffles – Champagne and truffles are great on their own but even better together, and who doesn’t love candy?!

4. Heart purse – This adorable heart shaped purse from Kate Spade is the perfect accessory for Valentine’s Day. It’s also a great way to add a pop of colour to an outfit.

5. Red strappy sandals – I’m a shoe-a-holic and I’ll readily admit it. I simply love these red heels and the bow detail.

6. Tiffany bracelet – What girl doesn’t love something that comes in a little blue bag? This Tiffany heart bracelet is one of my ultimate favourites

7. Champagne – No special occasion is complete without a little bubbly! This rosé champagne from Moët et Chandon is made for Valentine’s Day 🙂

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Bed Makeover

 

 

If you follow me on Instagram you probably know I recently did a bed makeover! I love pink so I decided to revamp my room to reflect my favourite colour 🙂 I found this  adorable bedding set  from Hometrends at Walmart Canada. The set comes with: a comforter, 2 pillow shams and 2 decorative pillows. I wanted to off set the pink colour of the comforter set with a soft white so I opted for this simple white sheet set from Mainstays. The set I picked up came with a fitted sheet, flat sheet, and 2 large pillow cases for a Queen Sized bed but there are lots of options to choose from.  To finish off this pretty in pink look I found this too cute to be true heart pillow at Quilts Etc.  I also found these cute pyjamas at Garage. They’re so comfy and come in black as well if you’re not as crazy about pink as I am 😉

I truly love my new bedding but the best part about this bedroom makeover is that I did it for under $250 including all the pillows! It just goes to show you that you don’t need to spend a tonne of money to  make something look pretty and professional 🙂

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Ladurée Yorkdale

This past weekend I was in Toronto and I got to check out one of my favourite places, Ladurée. Famous the world over for its Parisian flair Ladurée is a macaroon shop and tea room. Although it’s especially popular in Europe the company has made the trip across the pond and I’m thrilled that there’s one in somewhat close proximity to me. I simply love their macaroons and decor. To me this place is like every little girl’s dream – soft colours line the walls which are topped off by an elegantly carved out ceiling and of course there is the iconic green on the facade of the shop. Whether you’re stepping in for a peek or staying for tea Ladurée is a must do if you’re ever in Toronto! The Yorkdale shopping centre itself is quite glamorous in my opinion so it’s a perfect setting for this cute little macaroon shop.

As far as flavours go my personal favourites are the pistachio, coffee and vanilla. I also tried the rose flavour which I was quite surprised by. Ladurée offers a wide range of flavours to choose from and there’s really something for everyone 🙂 The shop also has a cute selection of gifts and souvenirs so if sweets aren’t your thing you can always grab a key chain, candle or gift box 😉

 

 

Vacay Style

As you probably know I’ve been on vacation for the past two weeks so I’ve been a little slow with my posts. I’m totally loving the tropical weather here in Sri Lanka especially since there’s been a deep freeze in Ottawa lately. I thought I’d share some of my vacay style outfits with you since some of you may be planning a winter getaway to a tropical paradise.

When packing for this trip I wanted to add some tropical flair to my outfits.

Here’s what I’ve been wearing 🙂

Fairy Top – Chichwish |Jeans- Suzy Shier |Bag- Cult Gaia

Lace detail top – Suzy Shier | Soft Shorts – Dynamite

Hi-Low Skirt – Dynamite | Ballerina Top – Garage

Dress – Express (I’ve linked to a similar dress since this is no longer available)| Shoes – Schutz | Bag- Cult Gaia

Christmas Cocktails: Mulled Wine

 

Mulled wine is a drink that’s synonymous with Christmas. I like to think of it as Christmas in a cup. It’s a great warmer on a cold winter day. The thing I like the most about this drink is the way it makes your house smell when you’re making it. The blend of spices along with the wine gives off the best aroma and makes your home smell inviting and festive 🙂

Here’s my recipe for Christmas in a Cup -Mulled Wine

  1. 1 (750 ml) bottle of dry red wine – I usually use a Cabernet Sauvignon
  2. 1 orange, sliced into rounds.
  3. 1/4 cup brandy – this is optional but it does add a bit more flavour to the drink
  4. 1/4 cup honey or brown sugar – I used brown sugar
  5. 8 whole cloves.
  6. 2 cinnamon sticks.
  7. 2 star anise

To make Mulled Wine combine the wine, orange slices, brandy, sugar and spices in a large sauce pan and simmer on a low heat for at least 15 minutes. Makes sure the heat is set on low as you don’t want the mixture to boil and the alcohol to evaporate. I like to let it simmer for about half an hour but you can allow it to set for up to 3 hours, if you’re that patient.

Once you get the aroma of the wine and the spices use a ladel and strainer to pour the wine in to glasses (you can also use mason jars for a more rustic look) and enjoy with a piece piece of Christmas Cake.

 

Christmas Cocktails: Peppermint Chill

One of the things I love most about Christmas are the parties and entertaining. I enjoy hosting friends and family. In the coming days I’ll be sharing a few of my favourite Christmas cocktails.

If you love chocolate, coffee and mint together then Peppermint Chill is the drink for you. It’s very easy to make and a nice treat to indulge in during the holidays 😉

To make the Peppermint Chill you’ll need: Peppermint Mocha Kahlua (it’s a limited edition flavour that’s usually available around Christmas time), Bailey’s, Chocolate Ice Cream, Martini Glasses and Candy Canes.

Prep the glasses:

  1. Place the candy canes in a plastic bag and crush them to form small chunks
  2. Mix equal parts sugar and water in a pan and bring it to a simmer
  3. Dip the rim of the Martini glass in the sugar and water mixture and then in the crushed candy canes. Ideally the candy cane dust should coat the rim of the glass.

Before making the drink take the ice cream of out the freezer and let it sit for 5 mins so it softens.

Mix the drink:

  1. In a shaker place one and a half scoops of ice cream
  2. Add 1 shot  glass of Kahlua (approx. 1.5oz)
  3. Add 1 shot glass of Bailey’s (approx. 1.5oz)
  4. Shake well for about 2 mins
  5. Pour mixture in the the Martini glasses
  6. Top with whipped cream and cocoa power
  7. ENJOY!

Holiday High Tea at Chateau Laurier

I’ve been a tea drinker ever since I can remember and high tea is something I really enjoy. Attending the Holiday High Tea at the Chateau Laurier hotel in Ottawa has become somewhat of a tradition for me. Even though I moved to Canada from Sri Lanka when I was just 5 years old, my family doesn’t have a lot of relatives here in Ottawa so we’ve kind of had to make our own Christmas traditions. The Chateau Laurier offers a lot of great dining events around the holiday season including a Christmas dinner in the ballroom. My favourite event however is their Holiday High Tea.

High Tea at the Chateau Laurier is hosted at Zoe’s Lounge. The restaurant recently went through a major renovation and I highly recommend checking out their new look. The tea menus change according to the season and although High Tea is offered throughout the year the Holiday edition is especially popular. You can find their holiday menu here. Typically the menu consists of some savoury sandwiches, scones with Devonshire cream and strawberry jam and some desserts served on a 3 tier platter.

There is usually a wide selection of tea to choose from and a tea sommelier to guide you through the options. I normally choose the traditional English Breakfast tea but this time I decided to change things up and try the Ice Wine flavoured tea – it was a welcome surprise. The ice wine added a fruity flavour to the tea which was quite light. The nice thing about the teas is that you can determine how strong or weak you want the tea to be depending on how long you steep it. The staff at Zoe’s even give you a handy tea timer so you can perfect your tea to your liking.

In addition to the finger food and tea selection Zoe’s also offers some holiday inspired cocktails. I tried the Kir Under The Mistletoe, a Christmas spin on the traditional Kir Royal which just happens to be my favourite cocktail. I loved this cocktail and would recommend it to anyone who likes Champagne or Prosecco. It was a perfect blend of fruity and sweet.

Many people ask me what I wear to High Tea and my honest answer is it depends. In the Summer I usually wear a dress with a matching fascinator. This time however I opted for pants and a top since my reservation was for 4:15 and the sun usually sets around 4:30 in the Winter in Canada. I found this fabulous statement sleeve top at Suzy Shier. This top honestly looks like a haute couture piece with its organza sleeves and medallion embroidered hem across the bottom. I paired the top with these jacquard print pants which I picked up at Le Chateau a few years ago. You can still find them at their outlets 🙂

If you ever plan on going to High Tea at the Chateau I highly recommend making a reservation in advance as space is limited and it tends to sell out soon. The same goes for their other Christmas dining events. The best way to avoid disappointment is to book early so if you’re in Ottawa and looking for something special to do this holiday season check out the Chateau Laurier and don’t forget to walk around the hotel to take a look at their Trees of Hope display 🙂

 

Beats + Brunch at Andaz Ottawa

Brunch is one of my favourite things to do on the weekend 🙂  Beats + Brunch is the trendiest brunch event in Ottawa at the moment. Held at the Rooftbar Bar – Copper Spirits and Sights atop the Andaz Hotel, the event takes places on the last Sunday of every month. Seats are hard to come by as the event is always sold out but I was fortunate to make in for the August and September editions.  Beats + Brunch is a buffet style brunch with appetizers brought to your table. $40 plus taxes gets you access to the buffet, appetizers, tea/coffee and a glass of bubbly. You can take in views of the Byward Market and Parliament while you eat as this brunch offers indoor and outdoor seating on the 16th floor of the hotel. I highly recommend making a reservation far in advance to avoid disappointment. It’s also a good idea to check in with the staff at Andaz and confirm your reservation.