Dubai based news and features writer with over 17 years experience in both the UK and UAE. Writing on areas including health and wellbeing, academic research and education, travel and tourism, environment and lifestyle. Offering services including copywriting and editing, web content creation and media support services for new and established businesses.

News And Features Articles


Use bone broth and switch to Greek yogurt: here are 12 healthy diet swaps to make

A non-stick pan uses less oil, which ought to be coconut for cooking and olive mixed with water for salads Of all the relationships you nurture, the one you have with food is both crucial and continual. What you eat (or don’t) will literally determine how well you look, feel and live. Despite all the delicious but nutritious options that have made their way to mainstream menus (from acai bowls to quinoa biryani), the idea of “healthy food” still conjures up images of low-calorie, flavourless fa

How construction workers in Dubai are benefitting from free training sessions

Dressed in a pair of overalls and heavy black boots, Richard Tawiah, a construction worker for Dewa, pumps out 10 easy table pull-ups from underneath a rickety wooden bench held down by his colleagues. The Ghanaian is one of about 50 men from Dewa who works out once a week with Hannes Loubser, a fitness instructor at Dubai gym Iconic Fitness. Loubser, who specialises in biokinesiology, has been leading a voluntary training initiative since March, with an aim to improve the group’s posture, relie

Dubai duo's 4am starts to make a stand at the pinnacle of paddleboarding in Hawaii

It’s been a gruelling four months of training for Dubai ­residents Scott Chambers and Dean Cockle as they prepare to be the first UAE athletes to take part in the Molokai 2 Oahu Paddleboard World Championships in ­Hawaii on Sunday. The duo will compete alongside 150 of the world’s top paddleboarders. The race, which is in its 23rd year, spans 52 kilometres, and requires athletes to get from the Hawaiian island of Molokai (home to the Kalaupapa National Historical Park) to Oahu (seat of the city

Balancing act: How the UAE's circus performers keep fit

We find out more about the eating and exercising regimes that four circus artists follow to stay in top form As an audience, we only see the sparkly-clothed, stunt-ridden shows that circus performers put on day and night, across the UAE’s many malls and at shows such as La Perle and at the ­Formula One. Behind the scenes, though, the life of trapeze acts, balance artists and acrobats is all about unpredictable schedules, brutal training regimes, and being ready to travel and perform at the drop

How Looking After Your Employees’ Health Can Benefit Business

In spite of the World Health Organisation’s decision to categorize workplace “burnout” among its International Classification of Diseases, studies still show that the epidemic is rising. While pioneers like Omnicom and The First Group in Dubai are forging the way and taking on corporate wellness programmes, from workplace gyms and packages at local facilities to having experts come in to give sessions, they remain in a minority. With the onset of smart phones, a 24/7 culture prevails. It is no

Money & Me: 'I want to be financially independent by 40'

Entrepreneur Dana Al Sharif says making the right financial decisions for her family keeps her up at night Dana Al Sharif is the co-founder of Urban RetrEAT, a food incubator she rolled out in Abu Dhabi a year ago. Based on Yas Island, the food court concept, which has vendors offering everything from Venezuelan to Emirati street food, is a community, bringing together aspiring new businesses and helping support local talent. Ms Al Sharif, 34, moved to the UAE from her native Amman, Jordan, in

Meet the Dubai author giving children a Muslim superhero

‘Books are mirrors, and our children should see a reflection of themselves in them,’ says Zenubia Arsalan From Roald Dahl to JK Rowling, children’s books for all ages remain the domain of English-language authors. However, there is now a growing demand for books that offer more culturally aligned characters, telling relatable stories, and with themes that link more closely to the local environment. Dubai author Zenubia Arsalan felt that as a mother, there was a lack of materials to read to her

'There is no shame in getting help' -- and if necessary, medication -- for mental health

Pete Aldwinkle had a decidedly rocky six months leading up to his mental health crisis, followed by a diagnosis of depression and post traumatic stress disorder. After splitting from his partner of 15 years, the Dubai-based Briton took his first holiday in three years back in late 2016 to cycle from Mexico to Canada with his teenaged daughter — only to return and find his company embroiled in turmoil. “I was very aware that I was very stressed and facing potential burnout,” he says. “With poss

GetFitChick: the ladies-only and community-led gym in Dubai that's an exercise in positivity

The UAE is awash with fitness studios, ranging from traditional gyms and group classes to boot camps, aqua aerobics and VR-powered workouts. Despite, or maybe because of, regular new openings, many gyms are feeling the pinch as fitness buffs switch from one innovative workout to another. Arguably, the spaces that command loyalty in the long run have community wellness at their core. GetFitChick, a training and nutrition centre inside Train Strength & Fitness in Al Quoz, is one such success story

UAE comic Arzoo Malhotra's slot at the Edinburgh Fringe Festival brings her full circle

She fell into comedy as a way to relieve the stress of her graduate studies, and now Dubai stand-up comedienne Arzoo Malhotra has made it to the very stage that first inspired her two years ago – the world-renowned Edinburgh Fringe Festival. Comedy was a “detour off the original plan”, says Malhotra, 26. First, she took a course in environmental studies at the George Washington University in Washington DC and then earned a master’s degree in food security from the University of Edinburgh. Trav

Let nature call your next staycation at Sharjah's Kingfisher Lodge

One of the great things about the UAE is the vast number of places there are to escape to for a short staycation. And one of the newest offerings that opened last year in Sharjah is all about getting back to nature: Kingfisher Lodge, which offers a glamping experience in the protected Al Qurm Nature Reserve. Arriving at the village of Kalba, an enclave of the emirate of Sharjah that’s nestled in the middle of Fujairah, is like stepping back in time. It’s a sleepy village, and there is not a tal

Adopt a dog and get walking into better health

If you decide to adopt a dog in the UAE, get ready to boost not only your activity levels, but mood, energy levels and overall health, too. New research has found that dog walkers are four times more likely to meet minimum UK government exercise requirements of 150 minutes per week than everyone else. The results came from a new study published in Nature, which examined 385 households in the United Kingdom to assess the physical activity levels of dog walkers compared to non-dog owners. Meanwhi

Money & Me: 'You only realise the importance of an emergency fund when times are tough'

Fatema Abdallah is the founder of Bespoke Getaway Safaris, a travel venture that takes tourists to parts of Africa only the locals know. Ms Abdallah, 31, grew up in Tanzania, and was always a nature lover, seeing the value of conservation from a young age. After graduating from The University of Waterloo in Canada in 2010, she worked as a university student experience officer for two years in Canada and Australia, before moving back to Tanzania in 2013 to work in the safari industry. With her pa

A yoga teacher needs more than 200 hours of training

Every month in Dubai — and increasingly, in Abu Dhabi — there are classes of eager yoga students studying and training to become yoga teachers. But how many teachers does yoga need? And how much training is enough? The situation still has a way to go from the US, where last month a headline on a New York Times story about how a large yoga chain churns out graduates of its training programs asked, Should Every American Citizen Become A Yoga Teacher? It once took people many long years to become

Money & Me: 'My work as an influencer is not my main source of income'

Life and fitness coach Nadine du Toit says her business is her 'bread and butter' rather than brand campaigns Nadine Du Toit runs the life and fitness coaching company GloryGirl Fitness. The South African, 38, who lives in Dubai, is the epitome of the UAE’s entrepreneur culture. Moving to the UAE 15 years ago to work as crew for an airline, she later set up her company in 2010 and has since become a popular lifestyle "influencer" under ITP Live, a digital marketing agency and an arm of ITP Publ

Pakistani writer unveils the life stories of young, defiant countrywomen in new book

A mix of comedy, heartfelt empathy and raging women’s empowerment, Hijabistan is a collection of short stories that give a powerful insight into the lives of Pakistani women. Reflecting the voices of the supporters and opposers, the book is a cultural conversation which both divides and unites. From secret love affairs to being lured to a life with Isis, Pakistani author Sabyn Javeri tells stories through the voices of strong women from her homeland. The evocative “feminist stories” reveal the

What you need to know before you go hiking in the UAE

Although there is much ground to cover in the region, there are many risks involved when hiking unprepared or without a guide – people have had to be air rescued from the rugged terrain of the Hajar Mountains and have even lost their lives. The Ras Al Khaimah Tourism Development Authority is trying to regulate the areas which feature the most challenging hikes, including Stairway to Heaven, and ensure that people go out with experts. The authority is also trying to protect the area from litter.

From Wadi Monay to The Hidden Oasis: a guide to the UAE's best hiking trails

Before the weather heats up, take the opportunity to explore the region’s many hiking trails. From mountains to wadis, deserts to dams, there are plenty of places to go to escape the city, and learn more about the culture and heritage around us on foot. Not only is hiking a wonderful way to see more of the landscape, it’s a fun way to be active in a place where we are all more inclined to use four wheels rather than two feet. Here, we speak to some of the region’s guiding experts to find out ab

Despite government efforts, the number of new mothers breastfeeding in the UAE hasn't budged

Joumana Saber has been breastfeeding her daughter Tara, who just turned two, since birth. She had always wanted to, believing it to be the healthier option. In the hours and days after her birth, nurses worked with Saber to ensure she felt secure and confident in feeding her child. Since then she has witnessed many benefits to breastfeeding, from bonding with Tara to boosting her overall health. “I noticed that my daughter never suffered from constipation, which I believe is because she’s brea

Report: More than 80 per cent of UAE children aren't getting the bare minimum of physical activity

Most children in the UAE don’t get the bare minimum of physical activity – an hour per day – recommended by the World Health Organization. According to the most recent research, 84 percent of the country’s children are missing out. An emphasis on academic performance, a hot climate in the summer and screen time are all contributing factors, say experts and educators. The report, published in the November Journal of Activity and Health, suggests much more needs to be studied – and implemented –
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