Diva’s drinking from a Haute Couture Tea Collection


How sexy is the TWG tea packaging

I’m drinking tea…lots of it. Not just any tea but after a trip to Singapore couple of months ago and discovering TWG Tea, I’m sold. No more Red Bull Energy shots or the sinful 3 in I chai sugar laden lattes for this lazy girl. Afterall, in the spirit of the ceaselessly creative designers of haute couture, TWG Tea offers an aesthetes’ collection of unique and exclusive seasonal tea blends that reflect the core of TWG Tea’s global expansion and cosmopolitan appeal….sounds totally up my street!

Distinguishing itself from the archives of cultural tea traditions, the world’s finest luxury tea brand is constantly conceiving and shaping the trends of this new era with creations that are sensual, irreplaceable and exceptional. Challenging and inventive, TWG Tea defies history in the crafting of its myriad collections, each more provocative and alluring than the last.

TWG Tea Haute Couture tea collection was first launched in Singapore with the signature Silver Moon Tea. A grand green tea bouquet that represents the ultra-modernity of this cosmopolitan city, this tea has become one of the most popular blends ever launched by the brand.

The Haute Couture tea collections are a selection alluding to indelible memories of marvellous flavours. The collection includes some of my favourites…..look out for the flavours below if you are tea connoisseur looking for any excuse to have a cuppa.

1837 Black Tea
Brother’s Club Tea
French Earl Grey
Jade Dragon Tea
Napoleon Tea
New York Breakfast Tea
Red of Africa Tea
Silver Moon Tea
White House Tea
Alexandria Tea
Early Grey Gentleman
Geisha Blossom Tea
Maharaja Darjeeling Tea
New World Tea
Place Vendôme Tea
Royal Moroccan Tea
Singapore Breakfast Tea


The World’s most elegant convertible


Bentley Mulsanne Convertible…delightful!

Its been a while since I checked out a Bentley…i reckon the last time I really went into Bentley’s new developments was at the Dubai Motor Show when NJD and I spent an entire weekend salivating looking at cars and loving the Ferrari lounge guarded by tall fierce looking security personnel who thought NJD was my sister :).

Since its debut in 2009 (long time ago), the Mulsanne saloon still remains a pure example of the Grand Touring Bentley, combining coach-built elegance and hand-crafted luxury with immense power and sportiness – its a mixture of a car that I would love to use when I want a nice evening out but also be seen near a race track just to prove a hoity toity point. (I should stay away from Brits and their expressions like hoity toity)

So… What got me writing on the Mulsanne Convertible Concept is because Bentley’s designers are providing a glimpse into the potential future of the marque’s flagship family. Appealing to automotive connoisseurs seeking the ultimate in contemporary design, prestige and exclusivity, the Mulsanne Convertible Concept will be the world’s most elegant and sophisticated convertible, providing a supremely powerful and refined luxury grand touring experience for four adults….how will they do this?

Perhaps they are banking on the graceful form of the Mulsanne Convertible Concept which is a fusion of sportiness and coach-built elegance with its sculpted lines and muscular haunches conveying a sense of power and movement.

The spacious yet intimate cabin design is inspired by luxurious, high-performance power boats. With its unrivalled combination of chic, contemporary design, sumptuous materials, painstaking attention to detail and supreme refinement, the Mulsanne Convertible Concept reinforces Bentley’s position as the undisputed benchmark in handcrafted automotive luxury….

I can’t help it but every time I hear handcrafted in the context of cars, I have the image of this amazing artist used by Rolls Royce who I met in Abu Dhabi during one of their celebrations… It was fascinating watching the artist carefully working away on a car with me thinking how I can ever achieve that much patience for anything.

I have a sketch of how the Mulsanne Convertible will look like (see above)….. Since Bentley has created an array of glamorous and desirable convertibles in the past, I can just visualise how cool this one will be.

Ferrari Red Power


The masculine packaging that totally suits the fragrance

There is a new scent in town….this one combines my love for cars and passion for fragrances into one: The Ferrari Red Power perfume.

The complex scent imbues the soul of the Prancing Horse, appealing to confident connoisseurs with timeless taste…. I love the clean masculine edges of the bottle. Must learn to study the male species the way I was studying the bottle a little earlier 😉

Ferrari, the famous purveyor of Italian supercar heritage, has in fact launched Red Power – it is a new masculine fragrance encompassing the Prancing Horse’s affiliation with performance, excellence, and sheer adrenaline. It kind of reminded me of someone who has similar qualities.

The cost (125 ml) was 270 AED which is not much for a Ferrari fragrance…I recall paying more for the last one I got so its good value for money….enjoy!

Compact hatchback gets me nippy


This green zesty Micra was my ride for a few days in Ramadan

I had fun this Ramadan…in terms of wheels. Normally you will see me checking out some SUV or top of the range sedan, driving down SZR with club music, windows down and smiling ear to ear. Well….i was in the same mode this Ramadan (minus the music) except that for the first time in years, I was doing this in a Nissan. Not just any big bold Nissan but the cute Micra, which is the car of choice of none other than Nancy Ajram, a fellow diva and an awesome musician from Lebanon.

The all-new Nissan Micra is undoubtedly the zippy and smart compact hatchback in tune with today’s urban lifestyle. With stand-out looks, class-leading driving dynamics and an interior design offering both comfort and convenience, the Nissan Micra goes beyond the regular compact hatchback offering… I can vouch for that. Man I love the front passenger seat as it has this cool feature that makes sure my bag stays intact as I rummage through it for my phone or make up at traffic lights.

While driving it, I looked onto fellow drivers and I reckon the Micra will strike a powerful chord with the young and trendy youth of the Middle East….most the younger drivers were looking – not sure whether it was the car itself or the bright green colour. I could find the car easily in Mirdiff City centre car park as well as in Dubai Mall which can sometimes be a task.

I also love how efficient it was – largest-in-class 1.5-liter engine, I did not even use half the tank in 4 days. My Fortuner just guzzles petrol and I can easily finish an entire tank in 2 days. The car had dual airbags and an Intelligent key & Push button ignition + power folding door mirrors. This was particularly good in my garage when I had to park 2 cars in one port allocated to Villa 7.

With Micra, this was easy!

Micra’s visual appeal is further enhanced by the broad range of fashionable colors available – ten in total including three character colors: Spring Green, Night Veil Purple and Sunlight Orange. I drove the Spring green 🙂

Inside Micra was a unique ‘twin bubble’ shaped cockpit that gives a secure feeling for both driver and passengers with convenient stowage compartments and generous headroom. The arched lines and warm curved surfaces on either side of the instrumental panel create a distinctive bubble-shaped interior space that enhances driving pleasure.

There was no shortage of places to safely store my music player and both phones with pockets and cup holders conveniently placed throughout the interior. User-friendly storage spaces include an instrument panel under box and glove box and despite the size, Micra had two front cup holders….one for my FIJI water and one for my Hagen Daz coffee…and the boot had 15 pairs of shoes, gym bag and beach bag space. Should I be driving something smaller from now?

Velvet Amethysts and Spinels from ROGER DUBUIS


Stunning….love the amethysts

Being a hard-core Pisces means I am always in love with all things amethyst… I sleep next to a cluster of raw amethysts beautifully set on a dark wood shaped like South Africa and lodged in a  base in case in a dodgy moment I knock it off. Combine that with being a watch lover who comes across a most beautiful black watch with splashes of amethyst and you have an ecstatic Fijian chick on your hands. Well….more than just a traditional watch manufacture, ROGER DUBUIS has created a watch that appeals to this diva’s discerning taste. Note that I am currently going through a watch phase and loving the dark classic pieces that are so lush – to watch and feel.

The Genevan watchmaker has taken its inspiration from four different and distinctive worlds from which it has created a universe in which exuberance takes pride of place and creativity reigns supreme… I mean it. The Velvet Amethysts and Spinels watch from the ROGER DUBUIS is infused with the spirit of rock and roll. Playing on the different tones of light and shade, it exhibits a kaleidoscope of colours that are both deep and strong. Amethysts and spinels are intertwined like a Byzantine mosaic on the 36 mm titanium and DLC case. Different materials and precious stones create a dazzling mixture of colours to produce a mystical array of reflected tones in this model…the result is awesome and the piece stunning.

What makes the aura of a watch? Its charisma, its mechanism, its appearance? The Velvet Amethysts and Spinels watch combines all of these advantages: it has everything it takes to please. At the forefront of its qualities is its ability to capture both the light and observers’ attention. An absolute icon of glamour, it struts its stuff on the new Fine Watchmaking scene with a combination of elegance and mystery. The spirit of the Genevan watchmaker infuses every detail of this model produced in a limited edition of 188 pieces. On its dial, numerals and appliques darkened by DLC give the aesthetic trompe-l’oeil impression of being in relief. In the foreground, a black brushed centre-dial reveals the brand name ROGER DUBUIS, while the black brushed sunray effect exterior contrasts with the purple of the elongated Roman numerals.

A game of hide-and-seek between the tones of light and shade soon commences, highlighted by the bright colouring of the deeply-tinted bracelet. On the bezel, the amethysts invite us to follow their dazzling dance of light. Veritable bubbles of ethereal light, shining with a thousand lights to pierce the mysteries of the depths! Their glittering covers the entire watch right up to the surface of the blackened titanium case. Here the stones play with time, and the horns are set with attachments that merge with the bracelet to wrap the watch around the wrist. Precious links between the case and the bracelet, these attachments reflect a daring design and are a signature feature of the Velvet Collection, reminding us that at the heart of this watch beats a Fine Watchmaking calibre: the RD 821 automatic mechanical movement. A manufacture movement designed, developed and produced in-house.

The femininity and jewellery spirit of this watch are also emphasised by the white gold model set with diamonds. One hundred diamonds are set into the case and the buckle of this watch (approx. 1.77 carats), matched by a silvered dial decorated with black Roman numerals and a strap in black satin-finished fabric….it looks super sexy and reminded me of my diamond encrusted GENEVE that I have not worn in over a year!

Like all models produced by ROGER DUBUIS, the Velvet models also comply with all the latest requirements for the “Poinçon de Genève”. This mark of quality, issued by the Canton of Geneva to a small number of manufacturers, represents an official guarantee that the watch and its functions operate correctly. It also certifies that its mechanical watch movement is made by hand, assembled and regulated in Geneva and that it complies with the strict requirements laid down for the watch manufacture. Roger Dubuis is the only watch Manufacture to produce 100% of its movements in accordance with the criteria of the “Poinçon de Genève”.

The best part of coming across this was that it prompted me to go looking for my diamond encrusted black GENEVE which was my very first luxury watch 11 years ago….finding it was oh so sentimental this week, I have the good people at ROGER DUBUIS to thank for as my first watch brought back loads of beautiful memories like the birth of my daughter, my first published poem in an International anthology and the time when I spent staring at the watch waiting nervously for Paul Gazza to turn up for a TIME OUT interview on Masters Football with legends from the UK. I can just see other Pisces in love with Amethysts plus people with discerning taste creating beautiful memories with the Velvet Amethyst and Spinels watch.

Another AMARI to try out


Inside Amari Hua Hin

The last time I stayed in an Amari Hotel was during a 5 day stop in Bangkok on a fairly complicated journey back to Fiji Islands. With NJD and her penchant for being curious, we thought it would make sense to stop in Bangkok and Adelaide Australia so she could have a break, meet her  godmother and we could have peace of mind on shorter flight times in between. The Amari we stayed in was right in Bangkok and it was an amazing experience – now they have a new hotel Amari Hua Hin, which is the latest addition to Amari’s portfolio of properties in Thailand.

Ideally located just two and a half hours from Bangkok and next to Khao Takiab, a popular stretch of beach, the resort offers easy access to the city’s shopping and entertainment venues. The 223-room Amari Hua Hin offers refined comfort and elegant resort style accommodation combined with exclusive services and facilities including new signature initiatives that involve bringing people together, whether a group of friends, colleagues or a family.

The food outlets at Amari Hua Hin offer a selection of popular and healthy choices from family-sized sharing baguettes at Reef Deli, a modern twist on Thai street food and international favourites at Aqua Pool Bar,  signature XL cocktails or a personal BBQ grill station at Shoreline Beach Club.

In addition to the extensive dining options, the resort also boasts; conference facilities, ballroom, fitness centre, kids club and kids pool, outdoor pool surrounded by landscaped tropical gardens, a vast sundeck, and a Breeze Spa and Salon. Through an “Amari Host”, based on property and a specially designed destination web portal, “Destination Amari”, guests will be encouraged to experience local culture, whether it is through visiting nearby attractions or by attending a festival or trying a local delicacy.

One thing is for sure, in Thailand there is always something exciting happening in every street corner you turn to 🙂

Ten months of double digit growth for Mercedes-Benz


Yum! The M-Class exudes strength and class

Just heard from the awesome performers at Mercedes Benz – it seems the Olympics was not the only event for record-breaking performances in July. Mercedes-Benz Middle East & Levant have clearly taken the gold in a flurry of best ever sales results. New records include a marathon 10 consecutive months of double digit regional growth, with year to date (YTD) sales up 16% on 2011. Regional distributors in Abu Dhabi, Bahrain, Kuwait and Qatar also celebrated from the top of the podium with best ever July country sales as well.

I agree that I have not yet tested the bigger cars in the Mercedes Benz line up but the new records are testament to the success of Mercedes-Benz Middle East and Levant’s ‘Year of the SUV and AMG’ 2012 sales strategy, building on the success last year. SUV sales increased 25% over July 2011, led by 50% month on month (MOM) growth from the newly launched M-Class – pairing performance with sophistication….cool aye! I’m told the evergreen G-Class continued to assert its dominance in the segment, with 19% more customers lured by the resilient icon’s rugged charm.

That’s not just it though – The fires of Affalterbach were given a high octane sales boost, with July sales for the precision Mercedes-AMG performance division turbo charged by 178% over the same month last year. Feeding the flames of Affalterbach’s success was an astronomical increase in demand for the bi-turbo AMG version of the fashionable CLS 63 AMG four door coupé… I need to make time to check this one out!

The beast in a business suit (E 63 AMG executive saloon) increased 20% YTD, with five times more people buying the newly launched 0-100km/h in 4.7sec ML 63 AMG. Still refusing to rest on its laurels, the relentless success of the G 55 AMG grew sales 65% MOM, together with its newly launched G 63 AMG and G 65 AMG variants. I can just see the Merc team looking at Frank Bernthaler, Director, Sales and Marketing, Mercedes-Benz Cars, Middle East & Levant for a night out as reward.

Now I wonder if I can get some tips and pointers from the Mercedes Benz team in reaching the right premium audience for our products and exhibitions.


Gorgeous…my favourite piece from Frederique Constant

It is no doubt that Frederique Constant Black Beauty is the most exciting addition to Frederique Constant’s bestselling Double Heart Beat Collection. As a watch fanatic, I totally relate to the deep black mother of pearl dial but I know most of my friends will however salivate over the many diamonds of the Black Beauty.

The original design of this range, that is two intertwined hearts forming an aperture in the dial revealing the ‘heart beat’ of the movement- makes the Frederique Constant Double Heart Beat more than just a watch. These fine timepieces have been developed with passion to reflect the values and aspirations of today’s woman (like moi). Frederique Constant’s Double Heart Beat watches are created with precision design and assembled by hand, allowing for a high quality timepiece each and every time.

When I buy a watch, perceived value is important but the real quality, consistency, craftsmanship ultimately is the main attraction….its just the way this brand thinks. I like the idea of being able to go corporate with my Mont Blanc, wild with my Roberto Cavalli snake watch in mother of pearl or when I feel uninspired, I go for the boring looking white metallic GC that looks like everything else in the market except that its white…big deal! But hey….there is no accounting for taste and sometimes one just isn’t in the mood. However, moods can be changed if there are ultra special pieces that totally give you that extra bit of endorphin kick, making you smile and I believe that the pieces from Frederique Constant have that edge.

As always I like brands that are passionate about charity….. What is nice is that US$50 from each watch sold in the Double Heart Beat Collection is donated to charities related to the heart and children. Hence the slogan for this collection is “Assembled by hand to touch your heart”.

For people who don’t know watches or don’t know the Frederique Constant brand, the first thing to learn is that they really are on the top position amongst leading makers of Swiss luxury watches. In 1994, Frederique Constant developed its first Heart Beat watch to show the mechanical nature of these Frederique Constant watches. Heart Beat watches have an aperture at the position of the balance wheel to show that the movement of the watch is mechanical.

Early in the 1990’s, automatic mechanical watches were slowly making their return to the market after the quartz crisis of the 1970-1980’s. Typically, the exterior of such mechanical watches looks similar to quartz watches except that the second hand moves continuously. On quartz watches, the second hand makes 60 steps per minute.  It’s an interesting lesson on how it all works and I am so glad that Frederique Constant considered it important to show the difference between mechanical and quartz watches….it helps uninitiated people like us learn a bit about the back-end of how these beautiful pieces work.

In a mechanical watch, the balance wheel beats 28’800 times per hour. The balance wheel rotates clockwise and counter-clockwise on its axes in a large ruby jewel. Its rotation is controlled by the hairspring, which constantly coils and uncoils, and can be seen through the open eye of the Heart Beat watches…i can never do justice in explaining how this works and how awesome these watches are. I suggest you check Frederique Constant pieces out yourselves!

The breadfruits and the jackfruits of Fiji

A zoomed view of the greenery from the balcony of my current home in Fiji. Our tropical weather allows us to have the best of the best organic fruits and vegetables

This week I broke my fast at a Fijian friend’s house – she is married to an Emirati so the Iftar fare was a mixture of Arabic and Fijian cuisine. The reason I was there was because Rajah (my friend) had brought some breadfruit and cooked it in Fijian style with Roti and wanted me to go down memory lane as we enjoyed our iftar experience.

Fijian cuisine is unique and often one can’t recreate the taste elsewhere although in some cases one can come close. I have been battling to make soft round roti’s and curries abroad for years but because its hard to get fresh organic ingredients easily in other countries, the taste is never the same.

Occasionally we get overjoyed when we see a rare vegetable that we associate to our extensive Fijian produce and are able to cook it Fijian style as we have all the vegetables the rest of the world has but more….where else can you get a vegetable as tasty as daruka. (this is not going to be another whitebait style story, I swear. In my defence, there is no fish in the world that is as delicious as whitebait so I had to gloat about the fact that we get it in Fiji and my family always keeps this rare treat for me when it is in season)

In Fiji, we love our root crops – so instead of eating bread and rice all the time, we get our carbs through tapioca, yam (dalo), taro, breadfruits, sweet potatoes etc. We are also super lucky that our cuisine is influenced by old-world civilizations mainly Polynesian/Melanesians, Indians and Chinese with a dose of influence from our Kiwi and Aussie neighbours.

Our styles of cooking happen to be an interesting experience as well. As Polynesians, we love cooking lovo (food marinated and cooked underground on hot stones) often accompanied with root crops. We also enjoy spicy Indian cuisine and Chinese delicacies  (our chop suey, chow mien and stir fries are out of this world).

Our cooks, family members and young chefs are spoilt for choice when it comes to the variety of fresh food so they use their imaginations to experiment and come up with amazing food that Fijians abroad and visitors of Fiji keep coming back for. We come from a world where we can cook fresh white fish entirely in lemon juice, wash it and make a mean salad (kokonda) that our visitors talk about for days.

I also remember the times in Dubai both me and Rajah go scouring for jackfruit in Karama when we craved Fijian food – being a snobbish marama, I normally would not venture to Karama for love or for money but for jackfruit, or any Fijian delicacy, I am willing to put up with anything. Eaten ripe, jackfruits are the most sweetest and succulents of desserts (very popular in Asia) but I prefer the young ones cut in small pieces and fried with garlic, onion, chillies and tumeric with Fijian style roti.

I still go to Lulu Supermarket to get the ripe ones from Malaysia for my better half and the raw ones for me to cook with. In Thailand, the ripe ones are cut in small pieces and served in sweet coconut milk as desserts….lush! What is great also is that the green jackfruit is full of vitamins that helps to prevent many sicknesses like fighting cancer and lowering blood pressure.

Its going to be Eid next week and I certainly will miss my usual delicacies like fried jackfruit and going to the amazing markets in Fiji full of organic food fresh from the farms every morning. I’m glad though that NJD is coming back to Dubai post Eid and is bring me back some of the Eid goodies like barfi, coconut candy and a few other decadent and sinful things that I so enjoy!

In the meantime, I want to get my retirement sorted in Fiji – with the world in chaos, it’s about time I earned in Fiji dollars and enjoyed life under a coconut palm complete with a drink that has a multi-coloured umbrella in it. (I can see my stalker and the green-eyed monsters hoping a coconut would fall on my head and put a stop to this drivel). Oh well! – a girl can dream!