Dubai based news and features writer with over 18 years' experience in both the UK and UAE, writing on areas including health and wellbeing, travel and tourism, education and lifestyle. Offering services including PR and media relations, copywriting and editing.

Internationally Published News And Features Articles

The new breed of camps, clubs and lodges redefining the desert experience

After 10 years of taking family and friends to desert camps she felt were mediocre, Stephanie Danial decided to create her own. Sonara is part desert camp, part beach club – complete with live music, DJs and a relaxing vibe. Nobody will force you to watch the falcon show and if you don’t fancy the camel ride, you can scrap that, too. Sonara is predominantly a luxury dining concept in the desert, where Frenchwoman Danial has transformed a stretch of sand inside the Dubai Desert Conservation Reser

Hiking in Oman: everything you need to know

From Al Buraimi Oasis to the Al Akhdar region, verdant Dhofar and the scenic Musandam peninsula, Oman’s varied landscapes are rich in adventure. A haven for all types of adventure traveller, from the inexperienced to the intrepid, the country offers an abundance of hiking trails, rock-climbing and caving, with routes including both beginner treks and lengthy hikes on which signposting is scarce and terrain can be treacherous. Guides are recommended for these latter routes. A hike into the past,

Keeping up with the Thunbergs: How to reduce your carbon footprint as a family

This Dubai company was one of the country’s first organic farms, set up in 2012, and it now delivers a wide array of fruits and vegetables grown regionally or in the UAE, as well as other grocery items, to both Dubai and Abu Dhabi doorsteps. Founded in Australia, Modibodi is now in the UAE with waste-free, reusable underwear that eliminates the litter created by a woman’s monthly cycle, which adds up to approximately 136kgs of sanitary waste over a lifetime. From brushes made of plant fibres to

Emirati director channels his childhood fear to the big screen in ‘Nyctophobia’

As a child, Emirati filmmaker Tariq Ahmad Alkazim slept with the lights on, or with the door open just enough for there to be a glimmer of light. His childhood fear has now been translated into his creative career. Alkazim channelled it into his latest movie, Nyctophobia, which means fear of the dark. The film is a revealing insight into Alkazim’s mind and imagination. “The fear was there ever since I can remember,” he admits. “I overcame it slowly as I grew up, acknowledging that with light or

Homework. Too Much. Too Little. A Guide for Struggling Parents and Students.

Background – Dubai Bans Homework in Public Schools to Give Children “A Life Outside School”. The debate on the benefits of homework has become a passionate one, pupils and parents claiming it is placing too much a burden not only on students, but parents and family life too. Many parents contact us saying that their children are no longer able to enjoy their childhood and growing up. With so many curricula across the UAE and in turn, a variety of teaching methodologies and philosophy, there se

British women living in Dubai are going through a mental health crisis

Life in Dubai might look like a life of sparkling parties and high fashion, a land of glitz and glamour, but behind closed doors, many women - both married and single - are battling a range of mental health issues, from post natal depression to marital abuse and a sense of social isolation, and it affects all levels of society. Psychologists have revealed that many British expatriate women are turning to behaviours such as casual sex and plastic surgery, in a bid to numb the pain of feeling los

Siem Reap: Off the beaten track

Discover Siem Reap beyond its magnificent temples; this northwestern Cambodian town is slowly gaining the world’s attention for its diverse offering that combines adventure, culture, shopping and dining The gateway to some of the world’s most magnificent temple ruins, Siem Reap is a portal to the past. Every corner of this colourful city tells the tale of the region’s rich history, dating back to the Khmer Empire of the ninth century. The ruins stretch for miles, with the famous Angkor Wat temp

How selfie-related deaths have given rise to 'killfie' travel insurance

Dying to get the best holiday pics? Well, hundreds of people literally are. The number of fatalities from selfies is rising internationally, most notably among millennial men, and as the quest for these death-defying ­images becomes evermore extreme, some insurers have started to offer “killfie” life insurance. Many selfie deaths are the result of tourists taking risks in unfamiliar terrain. It’s not only the extreme rooftop chasers, the would-be wild animal tamers and the fantasy stunt heroes.

Eton, Repton, Cranleigh, Harrow, Brighton - Do Big Name British School Brands Matter in the UAE? – Dubai schools, Abu Dhabi schools, Sharjah schools with fees, ratings and more –

Big Brand British Schools in the UAE – The Benefits. Brands do matter in the global economy. We pay a premium for them in every part of our lives. From shoes and high fashion, to fizzy drinks and theatre productions, we pay for what a brand carries with it – reputation, celebrity, authenticity, some form of guarantee of quality, however nebulous, status and often simply the comfort of a known quantity. One estimate suggests that by removing brands entirely from our lives we could more than doub

Inside the Cambodian circus offering women and impoverished children a place to thrive

When Choub Kanha was 6 years old, growing up in the remote Cambodian village of Battambang, her father bought her a hula-hoop. Her mother was worried, thinking the rigorous movement would prevent her being able to conceive children later in life, but Kanha was hooked. It awakened her passion for gymnastics and, over the next three years, she practised as many skills as she could at home, before she decided to join circus school. Now, aged 24, as her peers primarily work in factories, on family

Digital intervention: how to help your children stay safe online

Twelve years ago, Julia Hicks, swept up in the flush of newly-wed excitement, began blogging about her life as a young Russian living in the UK with her British husband. It became one of Russia’s top 10 blogs and she gladly shared personal images detailing her everyday life. However, her pictures were soon taken by an online scammer, manipulated and used in sexually explicit materials. Now, eight years later, Hicks lives in Dubai with her two sons, aged 11 and 4, and has learnt her lesson. Whil

Saved by the temple: the girls of Bangkok striving for a better life

Natisha, 19, is scarred by the repercussions human trafficking has had on her family. The young villager’s older sister was duped, like many, into working in Bangkok – sold the dream of a better life, a salary and freedom to experience the excitent of the big city, but instead forced into a life of servitude and sexual abuse. Natisha saw her sister suffer from mental health problems after she’d escaped, Natisha knew she had to follow a different life path. When we meet her in Thailand, she has

Eating disorders in middle age: a complex issue

There is little data to show the true extent, but recent research has found that growing numbers of middle-aged people are experiencing eating disorders. In regards to women in particular, Dr Tara Wyne, a clinical psychologist and co-founder of The LightHouse mental health clinic in Dubai, says it has become “almost expected” in this age bracket, with low self-esteem and poor body image significant factors as people age. “These women usually present with other primary problems such as anxiety,

The life of a flying butler: stories from a woman who serves the world's elite at 35,000 feet

Barbara Szep is one of the butlers in Etihad's three-bedroom on-board suites: her job is all about the detail, she even learns if her guests are left or right handed One of Barbara Szep’s earliest memories is the acrid smell of kerosene that filled her nostrils as she boarded her first flight from her native Hungary to Greece when she was 7 years old. “Once I smelt the kerosene, that was it – I fell in love,” she says, with a laugh. “I loved everything about flying – the uniform, the adventure

Does endurance training negatively affect the brain?

Endurance athletes may suffer from impaired cognitive abilities due to over-training, according to a new study. But how true are those claims? The UAE’s race season is well under way, with the likes of the 42-­kilometre Abu Dhabi and Dubai Marathons, the 300km Al Marmoom Ultra Marathon and three-discipline Ironman 70.3 in Dubai drawing ever closer on the calendar. Each year, these events continue to grow, attracting a throng of participants from novices to elite athletes, taking to the UAE’s te

The Emirati guides opening their homes to tourists

However, Emiratis of a new generation are opening their lives -- and some their homes -- to become the representative of their heritage. Shamsa Al Naqbi is just 20, one of the youngest members of the now roughly 200-strong network of independent freelancers working as tour guides in Abu Dhabi, offering mostly private tours. Studying a law degree in French at Sorbonne University Abu Dhabi, she gives tours on the weekends as a way of giving back to her country, she says. She specializes in mosqu

We are binge-watching ourselves to bad health

Not long ago, the world would wait a whole week between each captivating episode of its favourite television show. Process that for a second, and then compare it to today’s streaming culture, where it has become the norm to watch episode after episode, maybe even a whole series across one or two sittings. Recent research by Radio Times in the UK suggests that half its sample viewers had watched an entire series in a ­single sitting and that four-hour stints were regular practice. The trend of t

Emirates first female pilot opens up about battle to wear headscarf

The UAE's first female pilot has opened up about her four-year battle to wear a headscarf at work, describing the prejudice she faced for flying a plane. Huda Al Musallami, 39, from Dubai, who grew up loving planes, joined airline Emirates as cabin crew before rising up to the position of pilot 15 years ago, in 2004. She has been flying planes for Abu Dhabi's national airline Etihad for the last four years. However her successful career has not been without its hurdles, and Huda has told how

Meet the Emirati athletes training for Al Marmoom - the world's longest desert ultramarathon

Following on from Dubai’s ultra­marathon debut last year, Al Marmoom race is back with another first to its name for 2019: this year, it will be the world’s longest desert ultra at a distance of 300 kilometres, up from 270km. Although 30km may not seem like that much longer, 270 is already a gargantuan number – and every kilometre counts. The ultramarathon will be held from Monday, December 9, over five days for individual athletes, and two for teams. It’ll vary between 50km and 110km per stage
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