Lasting a month, Ramadan is a time when Muslims reflect upon their faith. So what’s it like as an expat in the UAE? For the entire month, pretty much no one – including Westerners – is allowed to eat or drink during the day in public, from the time sun comes up until it drops down again. Smoking is limited, and live music is pretty much stopped (save for the gentle strumming of… Read More

The glamour of the stage looks charmingly effortless. What happens behind the scenes is anything but. Experts from Cirque du Soleil and London’s Royal Opera House discuss. This article originally appeared in Jumeirah magazine in the July/August 2014 issue. When the house falls silent and the curtain slides back, an opera singer waits on stage, his face upturned, his hands by his sides. An acrobat is poised, ready for the dive. A… Read More

When it comes to the new job, there are many things I love. This is one. For work, I trekked over to a small town in Germany called Glashutte. It’s a place designed for the watch lovers out there, known locally as the ‘valley of the watches’ owing to the presence of a few luxury manufacturers. Do as we did, and base yourself in Dresden. Spend half a day exploring the local… Read More

The first time I interviewed Charlotte Roach, I was in my bed, a hot water bottle burning my stomach, exhausted, wanting nothing more than to turn off the phone and the keyboard and close my eyes, my brain, close it all. Instead I called a semi-stranger, a friend’s friend nicknamed Roach. The line kept breaking up. “I’m sorry,” she apologised from the start. “I’m on a train. Can you call me in a… Read More

Pre-Dubai piece for the Guardian. Jogging with headphones is potentially dangerous, warn safety campaigners. So could this pair, which uses bone-conducting technology, be the answer?

I keep walking in on the maid. It’s such a first world problem, such a Dubai first world problem, that it horrifies me and amuses me in the same breath. Today it was over the lunch hour. I nipped across the street to my apartment, stepped inside, and there she was. “Good afternoon ma’am.” It’s always ma’am here. The women in the grocery store. The man opening the door. Ma’am. Or sometimes,… Read More

Some of my last few pre-Dubai freelance pieces are springing up. Like this one. This one here. I think it sat with the editor for six weeks, or maybe two months, long enough that I started to forget it. Then one of the fitness gurus quoted would poke me, half nervous, half excited. ‘When? When when?’ Now. Here.    

Dubai. The land of luxury, of rhinestone-encrusted trainers, and of shoddy shady property hunting sites. Today marks my 12th day. Here are some things I’ve learned, and a few bits I’ve seen. 1. Sidestreets hold their own quiet mysteries and very few tourists. They also have visa offices, which are bewildering structures with more queues than one would think possible. 2. Looking up is sometimes dizzying. Particularly when you live in one… Read More

Prince William says Kate’s outfit makes her look like a banana. Why do men struggle to say nice things about the opposite sex? My latest for the Telegraph. Inspired by a lovely Twitter conversation. Click here to read the rest, and enjoy.

They took my blood today. ‘It’s to test for the AIDS,’ someone explained to me with a voice dropped into a whisper. ‘Or HIV.’ The process involved papers and stamps and more offices than I could count. One had a small tent in it and bunting with the faces of Dubai leaders. My driver kindly navigated me through line after line. I stood alongside six other women. One after another we had… Read More


Get every new post delivered to your Inbox.

Join 1,530 other followers