Dubai

XVA HOTEL in Dubai

For me the XVA hotel and gallery is a little haven in the middle of the hustle and bustle of old Dubai. It's located in the Al Fahidi neighbourhood, right next to the Dubai museum. 

There are 13 uniquely designed rooms, which are also used by artists in residence. Unlike the glitzy towering 5 star hotels of Dubai, XVA has a charm of its own. 

There is no fancy spa or pool, but it does reside above the beautiful XVA gallery, and overlooks the courtyard cafe.

You can also walk around the neighborhood and down the narrow old alleyways of how Dubai used to be. It's a peaceful reminder of how we need to sometimes slow down amongst the noise and rush of modern day living. And in a city like Dubai, we all need a little secret place to get away from it all.

Click on the video above to see my review on the XVA hotel.

www.xvahotel.com

HONG KONG

So we are going to Hong Kong to film the NY parade. Oh ok!  

So that was my not so excited reply when I found out we were going to be shooting our TV show in Hong Kong. Why? Well in my pre-conceived mind I assumed HK was a city of noise, traffic and business meetings. And yes that is partly true however, but it had so many more surprises waiting for me. 

Who knew that HK had 263 Islands…I know i didn't. Someone described HK to me as Manhattan next to Hawaii. You have the city lights and buzz of the city, right next to the tranquil chilled out islands looking out to the South China sea. Seriously, this is one impressive place. HK has markets, food, culture, beaches, hiking trails, history, nightlife, art. It's an electric mix of the old and new. 

So where do I recommend going: Well when it comes to food OMG you are spoilt for choice. But there is one place that truly stood out for me and that was M&C Duck at Harbour City. The food is chinese yet with a minimalistic twist. Every bite was a delight to my taste buds. 

As for fun why not check out Ocean Park where I was lucky to feed the local pandas there. We then rode up the cable car across the beautiful ocean (be careful if you are scared of heights). It's a place for all the family where you will find rides, animals and entertainment to keep you busy.

When it comes to markets, HK is full of shopping options. But for me I really liked the laid back Stanley Market on HK Island next to the sea. Shopping is done at a more relaxed pace. 

We were there filming the chinese NY, which happened to be the year of the horse. It was an experience that included parades, magnificent fireworks, and visits to the temple where people start of their NY with blessings. A great way to truly start a NY in my opinion.

One of my favourite things was making a wish for the NY, then tying it on to a piece of paper attached to an orange and throwing it high up in the air hoping it will land on a on a tree. It's known as the wishing tree, and for your wish to come true the orange must land on the tree. Mine did fortunately…as for the wish? I'm still waiting!

And saving the best for last, Hong kong isn't over until you meet the Big Buddha face to face. To get to him all you need to do is take a 25 minute cable ride over the mountainous terrain of Lantau Island, and then walk up 286 steps. Trust me, he's worth the effort.

I had no expectations of HK and thank goodness too because it completely blew me away. Would i go back? Absolutely. And by the way our flight there with Cathay Pacific was amazing! My first trip with them. I will be back!

Check out our trip here: 

HONG KONG VIDEO

 

 

 

 

Spill The Bean

The latest obsession with coffee has spread far and wide, and now coffee shops around the globe have not only become the place to hang out in, but also to work from. So I thought I would tell you about one I recently filmed at for my new health show  'Re-Treat Yourself'. It's called 'Spill the Beans', and can be found at Sunset Mall in Dubai. Manager Ola is a busy mum and a coffee connoisseur, and will be happy to educate you on the various types of coffee blends she serves from all over the world. In the meantime press play on the picture, and have a look at what Ola says about coffee and your health.

 

www.spillthebean.ae

 

 

WAKEBOARDING

Whilst working on OUT & ABOUT I got an email from two wake-boarding fanatics, who have turned their passion in to a full time career. They have created a platform for wake boarding and wake surfing fans called XtremewakeUAE located in Ghantoot Marina, between Dubai & Abu Dhabi. Lucky for me, on the day I was invited to film with them, they surprised us with two world champions including wakeboard champion Rusty Malinoski. Definitely give wake boarding a go at least once in your life. Yes, you will fall off a few times, but once you do manage to stand up the buzz of it will keep you wanting more.

 

http://www.xtremewakeuae.com

Deira Fish Market

Nothing beats fresh food, and at the Deira Fish Market in Dubai, it doesn't get any fresher than straight from the sea. However, to catch the fish of the day, waking up early is essential, and from 8am the Deira Fish Market is heaving with customers ready to haggle and bag a bargain. You name it they got it, from Prawns, Lobster,  Hamour, clams, tuna, just take your pick. And, next door there is even a vegetable market so you can add your 5 a day to your seafood lunch. We had a lot of fun bargaining there!

 

 

 

FLYBOARDING - Extreme sport

'I believe I can fly, I believe I can touch the sky'. Welcome to the FLYBOARDING soundtrack, because your about to experience a futuristic-looking extreme sport, that not only takes you up in to the sky, but also deep in to the sea. The flyboard was developed in 2011, where a rider stands on a board which is connected to a jet ski. It then forces water in to your boots, which thrusts you up 15 metres in the air or headlong in to the sea. Your choice! All i can say from my experience was, beware, because if you lose your balance, and crash in to the water from 15 meters up, whilst wearing a helmet too, it's kind of like getting whiplash. Ouch! But, as they say, practice makes perfect. Click on the video to see how we did.

 

www.diveindubai.com