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5 Underrated Pavilions to Visit at Expo Circa Now

And why they’re much cooler than you realize

The long-awaited Expo 2020 is now in full swing and, unless you’ve been living under a rock, you’re most likely familiar with the well-known pavilions – think: Saudi Arabia, Luxembourg, and Germany. But what about the underdogs? Here, we’ve compiled a list of the five most underrated pavilions worth visiting.

Morocco

Situated right next to the Saudi Arabia pavilion, the Morocco pavilion is unique in its architecture, featuring a combination of earthen textures and greenery to highlight its commitment to sustainability. Visitors start their journey downwards from the top floor of the pavilion through a continuous ramp (an elevator at the entrance takes you up) and have the chance to explore various displays, illustrations, and interactive projections that showcase the country’s rich history and culture, economic opportunities, and commitment to the future. Some of the things you can see include a replica of the skull of one of the first homo sapiens, a room filled with hundreds of medicinal plant extracts, and a calming indoor courtyard with a slowly spinning Moroccan chandelier that casts shadows in intricate patterns around the room. 

DP World 

Unlike most pavilions, the DP World pavilion isn’t country-specific – it represents the eponymous Emirati logistics company. The pavilion is based on the theme, The Power of Flow. Through its various galleries, visitors can explore how ideas, flow of goods, data innovation, and sustainability can come together to keep the world connected and strengthen the ‘flow’. You can also experience what it would be like to sit inside a Virgin Hyperloop passenger pod through a life-sized replica. You can even plan hypothetical journeys! Did you know that the travel time from Dubai to Abu Dhabi could be as little as 10 minutes via a hyperloop? The pavilion also boasts a digitised waterfall show that’s illuminated by hundreds of LEDs and spans five floors.

Philippines   

The Philippines pavilion invokes a sense of nature and free-flowing openness through its design that imitates a coral reef (otherwise known as bangkóta). Through a series of artworks and media, this pavilion weaves a visual narrative of the history and heritage of the Philippines over thousands of years. Some of the attractions that visitors can expect to see include a three-storey tall helix that’s meant as an ode to the distant ancestors of the Filipino people who arrived at the archipelago some 65,000 years ago and an outdoor gallery of colourful floating sculptures of overseas Filipino workers and possibly their Neolithic ancestors.

Kuwait 

The Kuwait pavilion is filled with unique high-tech and visually stunning experiences that highlight the country’s goal of sustainable development for its people, economy, and environment. At its centre is a giant water funnel that resembles the common elevated water tanks in Kuwait that hold large amount of freshwater – a symbol of the nation’s sustainability goals. Visitors can also learn about the country’s history through artifacts (such as the oldest model of a boat made from clay and dating back to 5300-4800 BCE). Another unique attraction? Interactive digital screens that explain Kuwait Vision 2035 and can be controlledmerely by making hand gestures! The pavilion also boasts a rooftop terrace that’s bathed in blue lights and features a café and sweeping views of the premises.

ENOC

The final corporate contender in this list is the ENOC pavilion by the Emirates National Oil Company Limited. The pavilion is based on the theme of Reimagine Energy, so visitors can learn about how energy has shaped human history, the science of it, and its future through a spectacular array of vivid and awe-inspiring light and sound projections and floor-to-ceiling LED screen shows. The little ones (adults, too!) will especially enjoy a mural that features electric paint that lights up when you touch it. Though the vantage point is not that high, you can also enjoy a 360-degree view of the Expo 2020 site from its terrace.

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An Etiquette Advisor on Ramadan Done Right

Consider this your go-to guide.

Ramadan is the time for hearty iftars, communal prayers, and late-night gatherings with family and friends. This year, as we return to normalcy, we share our top tips on Ramadan done right.

TIP 1: Be a Good Guest

As a guest in the Middle East, it is important to respect the traditions and cultures of the country you now call home. You can start to do this by educating yourself on the meaning of this month. Ramadan is the ninth – and most sacred – month of the Islamic calendar. It is a time of fasting, reflection on one’s relationship with God, togetherness as a family, and study of the Quranic scriptures. 

In this holy month, it’s also crucial to know how to exchange greetings. You can greet people by saying ‘Ramadan Kareem’ or ‘Ramadan Mubarak’ to acknowledge that we are in Ramadan. You can also add ‘Al Salam Alaikum’ – the standard greeting when meeting people – to enhance your Ramadan greeting. Here are some short but useful phrases to brush up on during the month.

ramadan greetings

If you would like to know if a colleague or acquaintance is fasting, you may ask, “Sayem?” You may also hear ‘Emta El Maghreb?’ quite frequently. This means, ‘What time is the Maghreb prayer?’ The fourth prayer of the day, it indicates what time the fast is broken.

TIP 2: Timing Is Everything

Work timings often become shorter during Ramadan as Muslims fast from sunrise to sunset. You should also be mindful of prayer timings as Muslims pray five times a day – two of which take place during working hours. It is important not to schedule meetings or deadlines that will interfere with prayers during these timings.

The prayer time you should be most conscious of is the one that takes place around 6:45pm because that’s when the fast is broken for the day. If you have house help who observes Ramadan, you can lessen their workload during this time as fasting is not an easy task – especially at the beginning of Ramadan. Those who fast are most likely to be tired later in the day, so if you can schedule chores in the morning while they still have energy from eating suhoor, it would certainly show your mindfulness.

TIP 3: Avoid Eating and Drinking in Public

Eating (including chewing gum) or drinking in public during Ramadan is not allowed in the UAE, unless you have a medical condition. In this post-pandemic age, you also need to be cautious not to have food or drinks nearby during Zoom calls. Even if you’re not drinking or eating, do not have water or food nearby so that these items don’t appear within your Zoom frame.   

As for alcohol? It is not okay to drink or show alcohol in public – either online or offline. And what does this mean? Comments or photos that display alcohol products or consumption on social media isn’t allowed – yes, this means #winenotwednesday is best left for after Ramadan. Also be sure to not display alcohol during your Zoom calls. This does not mean that you should change your preferences or lifestyle during Ramadan; simply continue to eat and drink as you would, but privately.

Watch the Video: Must-Know Tips for Ramadan

TIP 4: Fashion, But Make It Modest

Ramadan fashion has some strict no-nos – even on Zoom calls. This means no tank tops, shorts, low V-necks, or sleeveless tops. Instead, you can opt for jackets, long-sleeved tops, or an embroidered kaftan if you are feeling adventurous.

Looking to get into the sartorial spirit? During this time, you’ll see that several clothing outlets, online retailers, and local designers run Ramadan collections ranging from the affordable to the luxurious. Keep in mind that even if you don’t fast during Ramadan, it is still important to dress responsibly to show respect to your host country and its people.

TIP 5: Err on the Side of Caution 

During Ramadan, make sure that you do not behave aggressively, engage in public displays of affection, dance or play music in public (although you may listen to music quietly with headphones), and swear (blasphemy is considered extra offensive during Ramadan). Generally, it is best to avoid doing anything that might be considered rude or wrong in Arab culture.

TIP 6: Be Generous and Charitable

Gift-giving is considered a significant act in Arab culture, especially during Ramadan. You could gift sweets or dates as it’s a way to wish your Muslim friends or colleagues a sweet life as they break their fast. Patchi chocolates and Bateel dates offer beautifully packaged gift sets during Ramadan. Another option is tea sets or coffee cups from O’de Rose.  

Charity is one of the pillars of Islam, so if you’d like to get into the spirit of Ramadan by giving back, look into the One Billion Meals campaign. The recently launched charity initiative by Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum aims to donate one billion meals to the poor and hungry worldwide. Giving back at this time is another way we can show love towards both our community and the country we call home.   

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You, But Better: The Gaggler Agenda for April

Mark your calendars.

April 2: Take a Stroll

Kickstart the holy month on a cultural note, exploring the colourful neighborhood of Karama through a Gulf Photo Plus photo walk entitled Suhoor Strolls. You’ll be given night-photography tips to capture images that depict Ramadan alongside a special tandoori chai stop, insights on local history, the discovery of hidden gems, and feedback on your work.

Learn more here.

April 5: Process Your Emotions

Research shows that painting can be a very potent method for expression and emotional release – and that’s where the Process Painting session at Kave comes in. Considering the experience of painting is more important than the outcome, you’ll learn how to trust your intuition and overcome blocks by embracing their hidden message.

Learn more here.

April 9: Join the Community

Ramadan Nights at Jameel Arts Centre are all about family-friendly fun from 9pm until midnight. You can explore exhibitions, participate in workshops for both adults and children led by a locally based creative, join a hands-on activity at one of many stations, and enjoy a late night treat at farm-to-fork restaurant Teible or one of the local food vendors. Bonus: entry is free.

Learn more here.

Wellness Events

April 13: Prioritise Yourself

It’s no secret that women tend to put themselves last, and attempting to remedy the problem is the Women’s Empowerment workshop at Illuminations. Taking place onsite, it will teach participants about the art of self-care – tangible tools and strategies included – in order to achieve more balance, energy, vitality, and well-being.

Learn more here.

April 15: Clear Your Chakras

Hosted by SEVA, the Full Moon ThetaHealing session is a wonderful opportunity to free yourself from the limitations and energy blocks in your life because the full moon phase is downright powerful – it’s an optimum time for recharging your energy field and clearing your chakras. Unsurprisingly, many cultures have full moon rituals because there’s so much pure energy in the air that can be used to yield incredible healing results.

Learn more here.

April 17: Mold and Destress

The Clay Art For Wellbeing session at The Workshop in Jumeirah is not about learning pottery. Instead, it’s about working with clay to release stress as participants will be directed by prompts to mold and create a piece of art based on the theme of the day, with a registered Art Psychotherapist leading the workshop.

Learn more here.

Wellness Events Dubai

April 20: Recognise the Signs

With the pandemic resulting in a rise of eating disorders worldwide, the A Parent’s Guide to Eating Disorders webinar hosted by The LightHouse Arabia is a great tool to help parents gain a better understanding of what an eating disorder is and how they develop. The session will help recognise the warning signs, learn about treatment, and learn practical tips for supporting young people with such issues.

Learn more here.

April 22: Play Your Part

With the return of Earth Day, the time for action is now – and there’s still time to register for the Green Call Project hosted by Emirates Environmental Group. To get involved and help heal the planet, exchange old mobile phones and tablets for an opportunity to plant a native tree sapling in December.

Learn more here.

April 29: Broaden Your Horizons

The beloved Ramadan Iftar Program at Sheikh Mohammed Centre for Cultural Understanding returns, taking place in a wind-tower house in Al Fahidi Historical Neighbourhood. Not only will guests have a traditional iftar with Emirati hosts, who will happily answer questions related to the holy month and local customs, but there will also be a visit to Diwan Mosque before returning to the center for dessert and tea.

Learn more here.

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You, But Better: The Gaggler Agenda for March

Mark your calendars.

March 1: Cultivate Awareness

According to Mayan belief, working with cocoa – a.k.a. food of the gods – allows one to cultivate awareness on an emotional and spiritual level, releasing what no longer serves you and guiding you in the direction that you need to take. And that’s where the Cacao Ceremony with Nacho at SEVA comes in. Led by a medicine man from South America, the ceremony will open your heart in order to help you see more clearly.

Learn more here.

March 3: Identify and Respond

Knowledge of physical first aid is universally considered crucial and, now, The LightHouse Arabia is proving that mental health is no different. The wellness institute is offering a 10-hour course entitled Mental Health First Aid, which will teach participants how to identify, understand, and respond to the signs that someone in their life may be struggling with a mental health issue – depression, anxiety disorders, and addiction included.

Learn more here.

March 6: Sweat and Refuel

W Dubai – The Palm’s popular wellness experience FUEL Happening returns, this time partnering up with leading fitness retreat BeFitreat to host an unrivalled week full of epic workouts and delicious healthy cuisine. Expect everything from Muay Thai sessions to mindfulness workshops will be offer, complemented by exclusive access to the Instagrammable WET Deck and overnight stays in the hotel’s Wonderful Room.

Learn more here.

Wellness Events In March

March 7: Champion Equality

With the theme of International Women’s Day 2022 established as #BreakTheBias, the Joint Business Council event hosted by British Business Group at Hyde Hotel will delve into how gender equality factors into a more sustainable tomorrow. A number of inspirational speakers will share their own experiences in this area – Carly Dubery from (founder of Vegan Entrepreneurs UAE)  and Nayla Al-Obeidli (founder of FixPro UAE) included.

Learn more here.

March 10: Read Your Chakras

With the seven chakras in the human body serving as potent energy centres that influence your life experiences in areas like relationships, finance, and career, knowing the flow of energy will help you make choices that can bring your desires to life. Enter: the free Online Chakra Reading with Bharti Jatti Varma workshop that is hosted by Illuminations and explores the chakra system in an interactive forum.

Learn more here.

March 18: Bend, Stretch, Twist

Yogafest Dubai – the largest and only eco-conscious wellness event in the Middle East – returns to the city, this time taking place at Dubai Internet City Amphitheatre. The yoga festival will consist of three days packed with sessions covering different types such as hatha, power, and vinyasa, complemented by pilates and meditation sessions and stalls selling yoga gear and health food. 

Learn more here.

Dubai Wellness Events In March

March 20: Return to Nature

Ideal for beginners and nature enthusiasts alike, the upcoming Gazelle Trek and Trail Notes led by UAE Trekkers will wind through hills and around a lake to see ancient villages, geological features, an old falaj, a gazelle enclosure, and more in Hatta. The first 40 minutes will be a gentle walk, followed by hikers climbing the first group of switchbacks and coming over the top of the ridge, back down the same side, clocking a total of 7.5km.
Learn more here.

March 24: Explore Entrepreneurship

Taking place at Media One Hotel, the March edition of Female Fusion’s Firestarter Breakfast will delve into the challenges of entrepreneurship – and the roller coaster of emotions that comes with them. Attendees will therefore hear from three women who have not only faced massive challenges in life or business, but also managed to overcome them and thrive as a result. Expect to wrap up by noon with plenty of new wisdom to take home.

Learn more here.

March 31: Bid Farewell

Few details are known about the closing ceremony of Expo 2020 Dubai, but if the pomp and circumstance of the global event’s opening ceremony is any indication, it’s not to be missed. While not everyone will be able to witness the spectacle onsite, it will be live-streamed on Expo 2020’s official YouTube channel. As for what happens after that? The site will transition into District 2020, a sustainable smart city that will reuse at least 80% of the Expo-centric infrastructure.

Learn more here.

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In Conversation with Jenny Lawson

Still hilarious, still brutally honest.

Jenny Lawson is broken, but in the best possible way – according to her latest book, that is. The New York Times bestselling memoirist is known not for her physical and mental health issues, but how she copes, using an unapologetic combination of sardonic wit and a hysterically skewed outlook on life. Her 2021 release Broken is easily her most personal book yet, chronicling the ups and downs of her life through a collection of essays that hold nothing back. Here, she gets candid on all things humour and health following her sessions at the 2022 Emirates Airline Festival of Literature. Listen in.

Q

Mark Twain famously said, “Humour is tragedy plus time.” Is time the ingredient that helps you see the humour in a challenging situation or something else?

A

Personally, I’ve found that being able to laugh at terrible things as they are happening is a wonderful tool – if it works. There’s something about laughing at monstrous things that makes them somehow smaller and more manageable. It sounds strange, but my sister and I always end up giggling at funerals. In fact, we tend to laugh the most at the ones that are the hardest to be at, but I think that’s because laughing is such a wonderful way to counter terrible pain. The more I mourn something, the more I have to find a way to smile about what I’m mourning so that it doesn’t destroy me, so I guess I will consider myself a great success in life if there are people laughing hysterically at my funeral.

Q

Your ability to put a light spin on a heavy subject has become a signature of sorts. What’s your earliest memory of using humour as a coping mechanism?

A

I’m not sure, but I do remember when I was about seven, my dad had to write a note to let me out of class early. We ended up creating a ransom note offering to exchange my teacher’s mother for me (at 2pm so I could go to the dentist), and I remember being absolutely delighted at how ridiculous it was and wondering why grown-ups didn’t always do these insane sorts of things. I vowed to always try to be ridiculous whenever I could, and it has served me (moderately) well. There’s enough darkness in the world, so sometimes, you have to take back joy in extraordinarily silly ways to counter it.

Q

Around the world, access to mental health resources remains a luxury, which is why your An Open Letter to My Health Insurance Company essay resonated with so many. What did the process of fighting for adequate coverage teach you about yourself?

A

It taught me that, in spite of what the insurance company seems to think, I am worth fighting for. It taught me that depression tells you terrible lies about your worth, but that just because healthcare and coverage doesn’t come easy, it doesn’t mean that I’m not worth the time and effort. I’ve learnt that it’s okay to ask for help, and that includes asking for help from friends or family because when you’re in severe depression, you often don’t have the energy to fight for yourself.

Q

Mental health is no laughing matter, but laughter has been proven to do everything from boost mood to diminish pain. Is laughing in the face of adversity a value that you’ve instilled in your teenage child, Hailey? 

A

One thing that I’ve learnt is that not everyone deals with struggle in the same way that I do so, especially during the dramatic teenage years. I had to make sure Hailey understood that my way of dealing with things through humour didn’t mean that I was discounting how difficult or serious things can be. Just because that’s the healthiest way for me to deal with things doesn’t mean it’s the best way to parent because each kid is so unique in their needs. Luckily, Hailey has inherited a lot of our strange sense of humour, so we often find ourselves laughing at awkward situations and that makes it easier to discuss hard things.

Q

You’ve addressed the overwhelming anxiety that comes with the responsibility of being a parent. Any advice for women who are first-time moms during such a socially isolated time?

A

It gets easier. And then harder. And then easier again. I discovered blogging when Hailey was a few years old and that really helped me to find other parents I could identify with. It is a really isolating time, but there are a lot of online resources that help. One of the best things I’ve learnt is that whatever decision you make is the right one for your child because you are their parent. Unfortunately, whatever decision you make is probably also the wrong one in some way, but in the end, it all works out. And if you screw up? It just teaches your kid that it’s okay to make mistakes. 

When Hailey was young and my depression was terrible, the only thing I could do was sit on the couch and watch Doctor Who episodes with them. And I felt awful because other moms were making organic dinners and setting up playdates and doing laundry. I was just trying to breathe and waiting for myself to come back. But when Hailey was older and I apologised for those periods, they thought I was insane because they only remembered how I was spending time with them instead of cooking or visiting friends. What I thought was failure ended up being a wonderful memory for my kid. We need to give ourselves credit for the things we don’t even realise we’re doing. 

Q

Yet another side effect of the pandemic is that we’re a lot more socially awkward than we were in the past. As a self-professed introvert, is there a sense of relief that comes with those dynamics? 

A

This pandemic is a marathon of isolation that I’ve been training for my entire life. Honestly, I sort of love that I don’t have to make excuses to avoid parties and awkward interactions. That said, I did have some dark times in the past two years where I thought I was going to go a little stir-crazy. We ended up doing a lot of serial-killer-escape-rooms-in-a-box and I literally read hundreds of books because that was the best way I could escape into another world that wasn’t my house. Now that we’re all vaccinated and more likely to get out, I’ve sort of become even more socially out-of-shape than before. I love to see old family and friends, but after 30 minutes, I need a break to catch my breath. It’s a little embarrassing. 

Q

Not all your fans were privy to the bonus chapter of Broken, which chronicles your life in quarantine. Can you give us a glimpse of how that has changed since 2020?

A

It changes from day to day, but the biggest difference is that I started a bookstore called Nowhere Bookshop. I literally opened it as the pandemic began. We couldn’t open the doors because it was too dangerous for our staff, so we did online orders and curbside book delivery. We also started a monthly book club called The Fantastic Strangelings and became (I suspect) the longest running bookstore that had never actually opened its doors to customers. Luckily, we eventually all got vaccinated and now we’re finally open. I spend a lot of time reading advance copies of new books because picking titles for the books club is pretty much my favourite thing. That book club saved the store and, in some ways, it’s still saving my sanity.

Q

Sometimes, it’s easier to confide in or lean on complete strangers, and your thriving Twitter community is proof. Can you share a recent anecdote or example of how it has helped you through a particularly dark moment?

A

It’s not unusual to be struggling with anxiety at 3am, but I know if I reach out on Twitter – even when I’m feeling incredibly alone – there will be people who immediately tweet back that they’re also awake wondering why they said that dumb thing in 6th grade or whatever else is haunting them. And for some reason, it’s comforting when you realise you aren’t alone. Also, there’s something about telling other people it’s all okay and they should go to sleep that makes you think that maybe it’s also all okay for you and that you can go to sleep as well.

Q

You’ve frequently credited reading for helping you through the pandemic. Which three books can we turn to for our own diminishing sanity levels?

A

Oh gosh, I don’t think I could narrow it down to three. Some of my most recent favourite escape-from-my-head-books are Still Life by Sarah Winman, Mexican Gothic by Silvia Moreno-Garcia, A Deadly Education by Naomi Novik, and Meaty by Samantha Irby. Oh, and The Witch’s Heart by Genevieve Gornichec. And The Midnight Library by Matt Haig. And Madhouse at the End of the Earth. You should stop me now because I could talk about books all day.

Q

Written notes have played a special role in your life – from your mom leaving them in your lunchbox to remind you everything was okay to connecting with classmates at a time of social anxiety. Can your experience carry over into the smartphone era? Can a tweet or text ever replace the magic of a written note passed discreetly in class?

A

That’s such a good question. I think electronic notes can absolutely make an impact and I am so incredibly lucky that texting exists because I have a fear of the phone, so it makes it much easier for me to talk to people without actually talking to people. But I also don’t think it’s a substitute for an ephemeral, handwritten note. You know, someone came into my bookshop and set up a little station at the bar with coloured paper, pens, and a little sign asking people to leave a kind note to a stranger and encouraging people to take home a kind note from a stranger. 

I would see people spend an hour going through all of the colourful notes left all over the bar, and I didn’t blame them – I did the same thing. Sometimes, they were confessions or words of encouragement or funny stories. I noticed that people left them, but seldom took them, probably because they wanted others to enjoy them. In the end, we had so many that we started tucking them into books as we shipped them out so people would find a little secret note from a stranger. That’s the kind of magic that makes the world go around.

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“I Force Jeff to Do TikToks.” – Priti Malik

The Virgin Radio presenter on marriage, social media, and more.

How did you and your husband meet?

Jeff and I met in 2010. We both had mutual friends, and 2010 was definitely the year that I was out pretty much every weekend at a club. I kept seeing him around and, one day, I thought I’d go up to him and ask him to dance. Jeff said no, so I went back to dancing with my friends. The next day, I got a Facebook message from him and it made me laugh. We started talking and I really didn’t think anything of it, but the more we talked, the more I realised how much we had in common! And the rest, as they say, is history!

What’s the best piece of advice you’ve received about relationships?

Communication is KEY!

Priti malik and husband

What do you think is the key to the success of your marriage and being happy together?

Jeff and I are best friends, we love hanging out with each other – and I think that provided a solid base for our relationship. We really don’t look for time away from each other. Instead, we’d rather do new things with each other. I also think the best thing we have learned about relationships is definitely a basic understanding of each other, especially with both of our careers. It wasn’t always easy finding time together before the pandemic, so we had to have a level of trust and understanding knowing that we wouldn’t see each other for days.

What is your favourite way to spend time together?

Honestly, any time we are doing something together, it’s fun for us. It can be cooking, working out, going for walks/hikes, or even when I force Jeff to do TikToks… he eventually loved it.

Priti Malik & Jeff

Do you think constantly being attached to your phone can have a negative impact on relationships?

It definitely can. The boundaries need to be set from the beginning. A lot of my work revolves around me being on the phone, so although it does irritate Jeff sometimes, he understands that it’s just a part of my world.

How did you celebrate your first Valentine’s Day together?

We cannot even remember! BUT we did start a tradition in the beginning that we would always alternate Valentine’s Day celebrations. We’re not big on gifts that day, so each year, we take turns organising some sort of an outing – whether that’s a dinner or an adventure.

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You, But Better: The Gaggler Agenda for February

Mark your calendars.

February 3: Celebrate Literature

The Emirates Airline Festival of Literature returns to the city, this year taking up residence at Al Habtoor City and hosting over 160 authors. Some of the names on the roster? Bridgerton author Julia Quinn, best-selling children’s books writer David Walliams, and Nadiya Hussain of Great British Bake Off fame.

Learn more here.

February 5: Run for Good

Now’s the time to celebrate the legacy of humanitarian, amputee athlete, and cancer research activist Terry Fox as the Terry Fox Run returns to Dubai. Taking place at Jubilee Park, all proceeds will be donated to cancer research, whether you opt for the 3km or 5km run. Bonus: you can take part in person or virtually.

Learn more here.

February 6: Connect and Create

Escape the real world for 90 minutes, courtesy of the Creative Art for Wellbeing workshop at café and community space The Workshop. Led by a registered art psychotherapist and licensed lifestyle coach, it will feature creative prompts with a shared focus to help you connect with yourself, reduce stress, and gain new perspectives, leaving you feeling inspired and calm.

Learn more here.

wellness events in Dubai, empower your man

February 10: Empower Your Man

Leave it to SEVA to host the wellness events and workshops that truly matter. Case in point? The Powerful Strangers Men’s Gathering led by coach and men’s worker Tom Young. This ‘drop-in’ monthly forum allows men to communicate in a group setting, sharing honestly and confidentially without fear of judgment or shame – ideal if the man in your life is feeling misunderstood, grappling with workplace issues, or unable to share his emotions.

Learn more here.

February 12: Find Your Bliss

Part of Dubai’s appeal is being able to leave the frenzy of the city for the serenity of the desert. Enter: the Desert Bliss weekend escape hosted by Yoga House. Here awaits an evening of yoga, gong meditation, vegetarian dining, and glamping alongside like-minded individuals who have come together to cultivate a sense of nourishment and positivity. All the little extras – stargazing and sunrise views from a special vantage point – are just the proverbial cherry on top.

Learn more here.

February 13: Design Your Future

You know what you want your life to look like – now start living it. The LightHouse Arabia is hosting a two-part Val-YOU 2022 workshop that will delve into all things vision boards. Led by a psychologist Christine Kritzas, it will guide participants on how to visually express their dreams, offer strategies on living a life of purpose, and provide practical tools to start actioning one’s goals.

Learn more here.

wellness events

February 18: Sleep Differently

Sleep concerts date back to the 1960s, when avant-garde composers were looking for new forms of musical performance. Now, you can experience one in Dubai as the Sleep Concerts series takes place at the Theatre of Digital Art. The audio-visual show, complete with experimental electronic music concert provided by Russian artists Yuri Elik and Pavel Mikhailov, is designed to put the audience into a deep sleep. Bonus: each of the four sleep concerts will be unique.

Learn more here.

February 22: Scour the City

Launching this month, Nara Nomad (yep, the same folks as the boho-chic Sonara Camp) caters to foodies, fashionistas, history buffs, and art enthusiasts across the UAE, showcasing Dubai in a totally different light through expertly curated, off-the-beaten-track guided city tours that span four hours. And if you prefer something customised to your personal interests, bespoke tours are also on offer. 

Learn more here.

February 27: Address Stressors

Family relationships are some of the most complex ones out there, often riddled with conflict and miscommunication – and that’s where the Family Constellations workshop at Illuminations comes in. Led by Hypnotherapist and Mind Science Specialist Arpita Mitra Gupta, the day-long session will help you heal on a deep energetic level, addressing painful family situations and releasing blocks in the unconscious mind that limit growth, health, and happiness.

Learn more here.

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Future Imperfect: This Is 2022 at a Glance

New year, new trends.

On the heels of yet another harrowing year comes a handful of trends across fields like fashion, travel, and wellness that wouldn’t have existed if it weren’t for the ongoing pandemic. Sure, we (still) have more questions than answers, but as the world soldiers on, we offer a peek into what 2022 will look like – and it’s not all bad.

Beauty

Beauty

We called it last year – waterless beauty is only set to skyrocket in popularity as we seek to make more eco-friendly choices. And like 2021, beauty will be more fun and joyful in the months ahead, resulting in the dominance of celestial nail art and makeup palettes housing bright hues. Y2K nostalgia is another major trend, so expect to see unapologetically shiny lips (courtesy of ‘plastic’ lip gloss) and 90s-inspired hairstyles (think: ultra-sleek strands and playful accessories). Elsewhere, the world of clean beauty will bring with it more transparency – about time, too. Considering the term doesn’t entail with one clear definition, beauty giants like Ulta and Sephora have not only started establishing guidelines with regards to formulation, but also helping consumers identify which products adhere to them. 

Fashion 

Fashion

But why should beauty have all the fun? Fashion will also be fun and frivolous in 2022, indicating a universal yearning for simpler (read: pre-pandemic) times. After way too long of WFH and living in athleisure around the clock, the months ahead will be rooted in feeling optimistic and dressing to the nines. Translation: higher hemlines, bright bags, 70s-esque sparkle. The 90s will influence fashion, too, so chain belts will be big. Not the navel-baring type? Wear yours over a knit dress. And because the fashion world loves playing with extremes, expect your shirts to go oversized and your blazers to shrink. As for the trend we’re most excited about? The return of party shoes, of course!

Food

Food

2022 will bring with it some rather unexpected additions to the menu – potato milk, anyone? The next big thing in non-dairy milks, it’s low in both sugar and saturated fat, and kinder to the environment from a production perspective. Chefs and home cooks alike will not only increasingly use locally sourced food, but also commit to reducing waste by using all parts of the vegetable (stalks and stems included). Another trend that will only gain traction? Non-alcoholic concoctions that are more thoughtfully designed and artfully presented than the sugary mocktails of the past. Owing to their health-boosting properties, the category of fermented beverages is also set to grow. And because we’ll continue to eat in a lot more, we’ll expect more of our dining out experiences – personalised menus, more intimate settings, or inclusive of cooking classes.

Travel

Travel

While it’s impossible to pinpoint which industry was most negatively impacted by the pandemic, one thing is for certain: travel is up there on the list. According to the experts at Expedia, this is the year we’ll take our GOAT trip – a.k.a. the Greatest of All Trips. It comes as no surprise that after two years of not travelling, we’re ready for excitement and willing to splurge. And because planning during a pandemic is an oxymoron, travellers will be a lot more spontaneous, especially as airlines and hotels continue to offer more flexibility in case of cancellations. Like 2021, wellness retreats and nature-centric destinations will continue to soar in popularity, drawing focus away from big city breaks. Opting for staycations and domestic travel over far-flung locales is another travel trend carrying over into 2022 from last year.

Wellness

Wellness

2022 will bring with it a continued focus on self-care, resulting in wellness trends that should’ve been a part of our lives much earlier (yes, better late than never). Workouts that benefit both mind and body will gain popularity, as will practices like breathwork. Another seemingly simple activity, walking, will help us cope with yet another year of uncertainty – who can forget the Hot Girl Walk that took over social media in 2021? And because we’re increasingly invested in the health of the planet, menstruation products will be a lot more eco-friendly, with the likes of The Period Company, Looni, and Lunette paving the way. Lastly, both reducetarian and flexitarian diets will encourage us to eat fewer animal products, with The Gaggler soon making a case for such a lifestyle over eliminating them entirely.

Watch this space.

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20 Things to Look Forward to in 2022

It’s not all bleak.

Even though we’ve begun 2022 under the inescapable shadow of COVID-19, there are plenty of things to look forward to in the months ahead. Whether you’re a pop culture junkie, a football fanatic, or a die-hard foodie, there’s something in this round-up that will appeal to you. 

1. CHICAGO, The Musical

The longest-running American musical in Broadway history is headed to our shores, running at Dubai Opera from January 5 to 15. Not only does this iconic production set in the roaring 1920s boast it all – murder, greed, corruption, exploitation, adultery, and treachery – but its sassy score also includes hits like “All That Jazz” and “Razzle Dazzle”.

2. Opening of Pavilion at The Beach

Expected to open in Q1 of 2022, Pavilion at The Beach will span 1,394 square meters and house six licensed restaurants – Italian favourite Eataly, the second Dubai outpost of Akiba Dori, and authentic Mexican eatery La Mezcaleria included. Bonus: the new culinary hub will be air-conditioned.

3. 2022 Emirates Airline Festival of Literature

The upcoming Emirates Airline Festival of Literature will take place from February 3 to 13, taking up residence at its new home in Al Habtoor City. Themed Here Comes the Sun, its programme has been designed to bring about optimism and “shed light on issues that are usually obscured by the dark”, according to Ahlam Bolooki, Festival Director.

4. 2022 Winter Olympics

Beijing 2022 is already marred by controversy – both Australia and the US have announced a diplomatic boycott over China’s human rights record. Still, with a total of 109 medal events (seven of which are brand new) taking place across 15 sports from February 4 to 20, there’s plenty of action on the horizon.

5. Opening of LENTO

LENTO practically has a cult following in the capital because of its smashed burgers and, now, it’s gearing up to open its doors in the Umm Al Sheif vicinity come February. For the uninitiated, an Emirati celebrity chef is at its helm of this artisanal fast food concept: Faisal Naser.

The Real Housewives of Dubai

6. The Real Housewives of Dubai

Reality TV is the pop culture equivalent of greasy comfort food and, this year, there’s not one, but two major shows that we’ll all turn to for a mental escape: The Real Housewives of Dubai (Bravo’s first international ‘Housewives’ series) and The Kardashians (the return of reality TV’s first family). No premiere date for either of the two has been announced, but the latter is expected to air in early February.

7. Opening of The Guild

Expected to open its doors in March 2022, The Guild by hospitality giant Bull&Roo will be a larger-than-life dining concept located at ICD Brookfield Place in DIFC. Spanning 15,000 square feet, it promises to “blow up the food scene” by way of five culinary experiences, eight homegrown brands, and a setting accented with foliage aplenty.

8. Season 2 of Bridgerton

Netflix hit Bridgerton is set to release on March 25, with showrunner Shonda Rhimes revealing that she has plans for at least eight seasons because there are a total of eight Bridgerton siblings. And while Regé-Jean Page will (tragically) not be reprising his role as the duke, Anthony Bridgerton – played by Jonathan Bailey – will be the main storyline of the new season.

9. Expo 2020 Closing Ceremony

Few details are known about the closing ceremony of Expo 2020 Dubai on March 31, but if the pomp and circumstance of the global event’s opening ceremony is any indication, it’s not to be missed. As for what happens after that? The site will transition into District 2020, a sustainable smart city that will reuse at least 80% of the Expo-centric infrastructure.

10. Left on Tenth by Delia Ephron

After the heartbreaking losses of both her sister and her husband to cancer, Delia Ephron of You’ve Got Mail fame channelled her grief into a New York Times op-ed, resulting in reconnecting with a man she dated in college just before she’s diagnosed with leukemia. Her memoir Left on Tenth: A Second Chance at Life, which will be in stores April 12, explores life and all the highs and lows that come with it.

11. Jo Koy’s Rescheduled Show

Jo Koy (yes, Chelsea Handler’s new boyfriend) was set to kick off his Funny Is Funny world tour in Dubai on December 29, but coronavirus had other plans. Now, the Filipino-American comic’s show has been rescheduled to May 14, promising an evening of spot-on impersonations and highly relatable humour.

Legally Blonde

12. Legally Blonde 3

We’re still thanking our lucky stars that Mindy Kaling is a longstanding fan of the two Legally Blonde films – the actress and comedy writer is writing the script of the third installment as we speak. Legally Blonde 3 is set to release in theatres on May 20, with both Reese Witherspoon and fan favourite Jennifer Coolidge confirmed to return.

13. Season 4 of Stranger Things

While we’re still awaiting an official release date of the fourth season of sci-fi hit Stranger Things, we do know that filming has wrapped and it will drop sometime in the summer of 2022 – a relief considering season 3’s explosive finale left plenty of loose ends that need tying up. Fans will also be pleased to know that Priah Ferguson – who stole the show last season as Erica – has been promoted to series regular.

14. Season 4 of You

With Joe’s sights now firmly set on his boss Marienne, season 4 of You promises to be gripping, especially as the final few moments of the last season place TV’s most beloved sociopath in Paris. There’s no word on when it will be released, but based on the launch dates of the first three seasons, Fall 2022 feels like a safe assumption.

15. Opening of Legoland Hotel

With the planned 2021 opening of LEGOLAND Hotel postponed, families across Dubai continue to wait with bated breath for this unique property to start welcoming guests. The first of its kind in the Middle East, it will boast LEGO-themed rooms, play areas, entertainment, and more, with its Stay & Play package including complimentary tickets to LEGOLAND Dubai and LEGOLAND Water Park within Dubai Parks & Resorts.

16. Opening of Atlantis The Royal Resort

Atlantis, The Palm is where so much of the city’s excitement happens, so the anticipation for the opening of its sister property Atlantis The Royal Resort is very, very real. Due to open in September of 2022, the property will house a whopping 90 swimming pools – including a rooftop infinity pool suspended 96 metres above Palm Jumeirah – in addition to the world’s largest jellyfish tank, eight restaurants by award-winning celebrity chefs, and more.

17. Opening of Museum of the Future

Unlike typical museums that transport visitors to the past, the calligraphy-covered Museum of the Future is gearing up to offer a glimpse of life in 2071 by combining elements of traditional exhibition, immersive theatre, and themed attractions. An official opening date is yet to be revealed, but considering it was supposed to be announced last year, we reckon any day now.

FIFA World Cup

18. 2022 FIFA World Cup

Kicking off on November 21, FIFA World Cup will arguably be the biggest sporting event of 2022. Not only will this year’s edition mark the first World Cup to take place in the Arab World, but it will also be the last to involve 32 teams – the final will be expanded to 48 teams from 2026 onwards.

19. The Release of Avatar 2

13 years after the release of the original, the highly awaited sequel to James Cameron’s epic science fiction film is expected to drop on December 16. Once again transporting audiences to Pandora, it’s expected to be the first of four Avatar sequels and will primarily be set underwater, with much of the film centering around Neytiri and Jake Sully’s preteen offspring.

20. The end of coronavirus.

Here’s hoping.

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You, But Better: The Gaggler Agenda for January

Mark your calendars.

January 3: Dine and Align

Well-being centre SEVA Experience is hosting a special New Moon in Capricorn pop-up dinner in honour of – you guessed it – the first new moon of 2022. Dine on a unique set menu based on natural roots aligned with the moon in SEVA’s tranquil garden as you take a moment to put all your intentions and wills under the guidance of Capricorn. The first seating will kick off at 6:30 pm, while the second seating will take place at 9pm.

Learn more here.

January 5: Catch a Classic

Chicago is the longest-running American musical in Broadway history – and for good reason. Based on real-life events dating back to the roaring 1920s, jazz slayer Roxie Hart shoots her lover and, along with cell block rival Velma Kelly, they fight to keep from death row with the help of smooth-talking lawyer Billy Flynn. Not only will this iconic production at Dubai Opera boast it all – murder, greed, corruption, exploitation, adultery, and treachery – but its sassy score also includes hits like “All That Jazz” and “Razzle Dazzle”.

Learn more here.

January 7: Hop to It

Swing dancing? In Dubai? Absolutely! Hosted by dance community Lindy-hop Dubai, the Swing Dancing Social at Kave in Alserkal Avenue will (thankfully) kickstart the new year on a fun, cheery, and upbeat note with a three-hour session of swing dancing – and it’s open to everyone. The event will start with a short beginners’ class, with the dancefloor then opening for the rest of the evening.

Learn more here.

Swing dancing In Dubai

January 13: Think Green

If you’re signed up for Veganuary – or at least intrigued by the idea – then join fellow plant-based foodies at Expo 2020 for the Vegan Food Festival that will take place until January 29. Not only will you get to discover international eateries that have never been showcased in the city, but you can also try celebrity chef Matthew Kenney’s very first vegetarian high tea, taking place at XYST in the Sustainability District.

Learn more here.

January 15: Take Action

Expo 2020’s Theme Weeks continue into 2022, with Global Goals Week running from January 15 to 22, seeking to drive positive change and advance the 2030 Sustainable Development Goals. As for how you can be part of the ‘Decade of Action’? Educate yourself on the 17 goals, test your knowledge, download the AWorld app to inspire more sustainable everyday actions, or join one of the many events taking place at the Expo 2020 site –  just be sure to reserve your seat well in advance.

Learn more here.

January 20: Paint and Rejuvenate

Taking place from 7:30pm-9:30pm, the Parts Integration workshop at community arts space thejamjar is designed to bring harmony to inner conflict, allowing our unconscious to remove the gap between split decisions in order to recognise the purpose beyond. Not only will this Transcendent Healing art session help you gain insights into each separate ‘part’ of yourself, but you will also learn how to find yourself and feel whole. Journals at the ready.

Learn more here.

January 20: Paint and Rejuvenate

January 21: Journey North

With the Omicron variant putting a big fat damper on people’s travel plans, UAE Trekkers is offering a two-day respite with a trip to Kumzar, the northernmost tip of the Musandam peninsula. Here, you can swim, snorkel, kayak, spot dolphins, and even explore the island while meeting with the locals. Hoping to squeeze a hike into this month? A four-hour trek at sunrise (or sunset, depending on the weather) is also on the agenda, as is dinner on the beach and sleeping under the stars.

Learn more here.

January 26: Discern the Difference

With the human mind unable to discern the difference between a crisis and modern-day day stressors – therefore initiating our fight-or-flight mechanism regardless – the Understanding Crisis in Our Day to Day Lives seminar at wellness centre Illuminations comes highly recommended. Facilitated by Holistic Therapist Jessica Canero, this free hour-long session will unveil the science of the subconscious mind and the ingrained responses within us that define our most primitive state of being.

Learn more here.

January 29: Support the Arts

After a hiatus in 2021, the popular Quoz Arts Fest returns to Alserkal Avenue for two days of live music, food trucks, outdoor installations, art exhibitions, wellness sessions, a midnight movie marathon, and more – all of which are free and open to the public. The 2022 edition will not only celebrate homegrown creatives from the avenue, but also showcase the wider Al Quoz community – The Courtyard, The Smash Room, and Akka Project included.

Learn more here.

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Wooden Live Well

You, But Better: The Gaggler Agenda for December

Mark your calendars.

December 2: Train Your Brain

It’s often said that women overthink things more than men – and rightfully so. Enter: author-coach-speaker Lison Mage, whose free online workshop entitled Conquer Overthinking and Make Lasting Changes is designed to train your mind to get the results you want and the happiness you deserve through a four-step model. You’ll discover and practise the behavioural science-backed framework to confidently make efficient decisions without losing your mind. Win-win.

Learn more here.

December 4: Breathe and Reboot

Transformation is real and possible when we are able to reset. As for the key? Learning how to let go of extra chatter and baggage, which is exactly where the System Reset Immersive Workshop at The Retreat Palm Dubai comes in. Not only does it pair modernised meditation with breath and movement through frequency music in a complete “system reset”, but it also activates one’s five physical senses and four psychic senses with all four elements in an immersive synchronised musical show.

Learn more here.

December 7: Ease That Stress

If you’re new to the world of yoga and looking to understand how it can serve as a spiritual path of awakening to the divine, the Onsite Yoga & Meditation session at wellness centre Illuminations is the perfect pick. Spanning 60 minutes, it will guide participants through a yoga practice of body postures, breathing techniques, and guided meditation to harmonise the physical body, purify the energy channels, awaken the chakras, and stabilise the mind.

Learn more here.

December 10: Escape Reality

Part of Dubai’s appeal is being able to leave the frenzy of the city for the serenity of the desert. Enter: the Desert Bliss weekend escape hosted by Yoga House. Here awaits an evening of yoga, cacao ceremony, sound healing, and glamping alongside like-minded individuals who have come together to cultivate a sense of nourishment and positivity. All the little extras – stargazing and sunrise views from a special vantage point – are just the proverbial cherry on top.

Learn more here.

December 14: Get a Glow

As a city, we’re still obsessed with supper clubs, but the one hosted by Wild & The Moon is unlike any other. Entitled Wild Supper Club, it features a five-course menu created by combining elements of adaptogenic tonic herbs and Ayurvedic wisdom that will make you glow inside out. Priced AED 230, the exclusive menu is accented with Asian, Mediterranean, and Local flavours, enriched with rare and powerful ayurvedic ingredients as well as superfoods and elixirs.

Learn more here.

December 20: Let It Go

The full moon phase is downright powerful – it’s an optimum time for recharging your energy field and clearing your chakras. Unsurprisingly, many cultures have full moon rituals because there’s so much pure energy in the air that can be used to yield incredible healing results, both physically and mentally. Hosted by SEVA, the Full Moon ThetaHealing session is a wonderful opportunity to free yourself from the limitations and energy blocks in your life, especially as it will be led by Theta Healing Master Mihaela El Haj.

Learn more here.

December 23: Catch a Classic

‘Tis the season to slow down, soak up the festive spirit, and spend quality time with your family, making a visit to Dubai Opera for The Nutcracker a must-do. This all-time Christmas favourite will see the beauty of Russian ballet set to Tchaikovsky’s splendid score (a live orchestra with over 30 musicians!) alongside elements like snow flurries, sweets, princes, magic, and love – just what we all need after another precarious year, right?

Learn more here.

December 26: Journey South

Exploring personal responses to and interactions with space and time is the ongoing The Distance from Here group show at Jameel Arts Centre. As for a must-see element in this exhibition? The screening of Glimpses of Now by Mohammad Alfaraj. The 48-minute film is a visual and auditory exploration of the cities and people of Saudi Arabia, with the multidisciplinary artist gathering footage for the film since 2015 and shooting the video in a documentary format using both a video camera and mobile phone.

Learn more here.

December 29: Laugh Aloud

You may know Jo Koy as Chelsea Handler’s new boyfriend, but we know him as a comedian who will have you ROFL. Kicking off his world tour in Dubai, the Filipino-American comic will perform at the Coca-Cola Arena for one night only. And considering Jo Koy has mastered the art of everything from impersonations and stand-up to highly relatable humour, you’re guaranteed an unforgettable evening with this one.

Learn more here.

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