Category Archives: shopping

Exploring Doha: Souq Waqif on a hot summer evening

The more I go around Doha, the more I am reminded of Dubai in the early 90s. Back when I was a kid, there weren’t any big malls and shopping went down to just the necessities. What we did as a family during weekends was walk around. We hated those weekends because it meant we had to wake up early and go to places we really didn’t like. But looking back, I appreciate more the culture we were exposed to during those walks- the markets, the small shops, the nuts and spices in sacks being sold, bargaining with very little common vocabulary and eating with the laborers.

During the recently concluded Eid holidays, chubby hubby (who is determined not to remain chubby forever) had an entire week off which gave us a lot of time to go around the city and explore. However, the lazy bums that we are spent around 70% at home sleeping and lounging around and 30% outside in the heat. I wanted to spend a day on a beach resort somewhere but all hotels were fully booked (and also dang expensive) so we didn’t push that idea through.

One evening, out of the blue, chubby hubby took me to Souq Waqif.

I love everything traditional because it makes me feel like I understand a place or a person more when I am exposed to their traditions. Souq Waqif was true to the Arab culture of trade and architecture. I understand that the place was torn down and rebuilt just recently but I think they did a good job recapturing the old styles that these kind of markets (souqs) represent.

Souq waqif
Goods were stocked outside the stores. If this was Manila, those goods would have been long gone
Souq waqif corridors
Along the corridors/avenues of the Souq with the chubby hubby and Aria fast asleep in her stroller

You can buy fabric, garments, toys, food, traditional goods, hardware, and even live animals here at the Souq. There are a couple of boutique hotels, restaurants and an art center too.

Souq waqif (7)
Turtles on sale.
Souq waqif (6)
And Rabbits too!
Souq waqif Animals and birds for sale
Aria afraid of the animals

We didn’t get to check out the Art Center which was located in the middle part of the market because it was being renovated at the time. However some of the artists were seated outside doing their thing.

Souq waqif, Art Center
Outside the Art Center where local artists did portraits for a fee (ofcourse)
Souq waqif (5)
Bhosphorous restaurant where we had a our Turkish dinner.
Souq waqif (4)
Restaurants of different cuisines were scattered around the souq. You can take your pick.

It was a really really hot evening so we walked in a hurry to see as much as we could. We are already planning to come back when the weather is much cooler and we can enjoy the ambiance of the outdoors more. I feel like there is still so more to see. Hopefully by then I would have better photos because I would have a better camera (paging CHUBBY HUBBY!). For now this hot mama needs to stay away from the outdoors as much as possible and anchor her butt comfortably in air-conditioned areas.


Iconic USB fobs from Deego toys

Been looking around for good souvenirs for a wedding I’m helping to plan and thought that since everybody was using USB drives, why not use that as a giveaway. My wedding souvenirs were nail-clippers that were keychains. They were green and they were pretty… as pretty as me. (insert evil laugh) I didn’t get to keep one for reasons that I do not why and I wished I did.

The coolest USB fob I ever had and still own is this free one that came along with a purchase of the Sims 3 back in 2009. I thought it was the coolest. I thought I was the coolest by owning one.

geek alert geek alert! image courtesy of

I found ones from deego toys that are noteworthy. These are my favorites.

1,2) noa 3) candy 4) Disco Duro Externo lamb 5) Disco Duro Externo Cow 6) Disco Duro Externo Pig 7) Lis 8) Robot Rojo 9) Hiyori All images courtesy of

The USB fobs cost AED 95 for 4GB, AED 115 for 8 GB and AED 135 for 16GB at Do you think it’s worth that price? Aren’t thumb drives suppose to be extinct in a year or two?

However, I wouldnt mind if someone would give me one of these for my birthday. Total cuteness!

Surat at ARTE SOUK- the Art and Craft Market of Dubai

I have always been a lover of handmade stuff and recently purchased a handmade journal by a fellow kababayan living in Dubai as blogged here. He participates at a local market held twice monthly called ARTE Souk and the next one will be held this coming February 8 at Times Square. There are a million of cool stuff out there and I am looking forward to checking them out hoping that I can participate some time in the future.

For more info on ARTE you can visit the following pages:

For more info on SURAT journals:

My Surat Journal

“Surat” is an ilocano word for “write”. I am a journal/notebook lover and I have recently proclaimed my love for it here so when my cousin told me about this handmade journal that’s making waves in Aussie and is supposed to be made in Dubai by a fellow “kabayan” (we Filipinos call one another kabayan which means fellowmen when we are in a foreign country), I knew I had to get one. The fact that it is a notebook without lines that is handmade and also made in Dubai by a Filipino impressed me a lot that I couldn’t get my mind off of it.

Every year I get a new notebook – without lines – for scribbling, jotting down notes, or just to add to my growing collection and I knew that this year, this was the notebook for me.

my package hand delivered by a new friend
I ordered a yellow leather journal this time instead of my usual green color.

The leather used for Surat journals are exported (imported?) from Marikina,  the shoe capital of the Philippines.

love this quote
little blank book – ahhhh! my favorite kind of notebooks… blank without lines!
the last page… handmade in Dubai.
i love the texture of the paper. it is not the cheap recycled paper that is rough but is actually smooth enough that it is ideal even for sketching.

How to get your own Surat Journal:

BB cream review: the most economical options in the Dubai market

Everyone who uses makeup is aware of BB Cream. BB can stand for anything you want, no not really, it actually stands for blemish balm and originated from Japan and Korea. If you want to read more about it, you can check out wikipedia here. My good friend Ivy from a wife’s charmed life also wrote about the BB creams she had tried that are available in the market as well as a background on the product, you can find the post here.

With BB cream growing in popularity, the prices for BB creams in the market has also risen tremendously. And you know me, I am always on the lookout for the cheapest and good products out there!

bb cream
the battle of the best (and cheapest) bb creams

I never use to wear makeup and I still do avoid using it most of the time. But lately, I am on a makeup frenzy and started enjoying putting it on. I still have a lot to learn and this review is from the perspective of an amateur. I have normal skin but I do get oily skin occasionally. I also sweat a lot which is why it is so hard for me to find ‘no drench’ makeup that would suit me. It was my sister in law who introduced me to the world of BB creams when she came to visit Dubai last April. She did my makeup for the family photoshoot and I definitely looked great.

The cheapest BB cream I could find cost me AED 7 for a 50ml tube from Daiso. I love Daiso and I do sometimes buy makeup from there (face powder and concealer). The cream was from Korea and had an SPF of 20. I did not get any breakouts and the coverage after 3-4 hours is still great.

daiso bb cream
this is the BB cream from daiso
before and after
I know the pictures might be a bit offensive (coz of too much of my face) but I just had to show the difference after applying the BB cream. 4 hours later after going out, the makeup still looks good although I do feel a little oily, which I believe, nothing a good oil blotting paper cannot handle.

The second cheapest BB cream I got my hands on was from Garnier for AED 30 for a 50 ml tube. I bought the Medium shade which complimented my skin. Unlike Ivy, I did not get any breakouts, but I guess my skin is not as sensitive as hers. The cream has an SPF of 15 and is easily applicable. I also love the smell of this cream.

garnier bb cream
from Garnier
before and after garnier
the before and after test of Garnier BB cream. After four hours, my skin looks a bit pasty, although that again can be remedied by oil blotting film or powder.

I used minimal makeup for both tests- no concealer, just a light shade of eyeshadow (on discount from red earth for AED 5), black eyeliner on the top lid (a gift from avon), a light dab of bronzer on the cheeks (an old splurge from bodyshop), and lipgloss (from bath and body works).


Aaack! I cannot decide. Both creams seem to suit me well. I guess because my face isn’t as sensitive than most. I do prefer the higher SPF which is the one from Daiso because of the heat here, but if I want something that smells nice, I can use the Garnier. I have slept in without removing my makeup on both creams (on my very lazy evenings) and I did not experience any breakouts.

I guess when it comes to creams, it is a case of trial and error since we all have different skin sensitivity. However in this case, it won’t hurt to try these two brands since it won’t hurt your pocket much. Take Ivy’s suggestion by asking for samples before making a major purchase.

Birthday wishlist

What is a birthday without a wishlist?

So I made a round up of the things that I would love to have on my birthday. Just simple things a certain someone can afford… *hint hint*

bday wishlist

1. A pretty green dress – I’ve been feeling frumpy throughout this pregnancy and a perfectly fitting dress would definitely lift my spirits. I don’t really have a green dress and I think this one looks great  Jersey Dress from Anna online

2. The green pair of shoes from Nine west on discount at Brands for less- I’ve been dreaming about these pair of shoes from Nine west since they were plastered on their ads along Sheikh Zayed Road a couple of years ago. I saw them on sale in my size at Brands for Less in Al Ghazal mall last month and it was very unfortunate that I had no money on me at that time. I still keep thinking about them up to now. I know I wont be able to wear them long after I’ve given birth, but they are so pretty and so green I really don’t care!

3. Watt’s up! soft focus highlighter from Benefit- I am not much of a makeup girl but I have great friends who are experts in the field. This highlighter will lighten up my dark face and conceal (or distract away) from my multiplying pregnancy mask (the dark areas of the face and neck). This would be great for pregnancy shots which reminds me that I still have not gotten my maternity shots and I’m giving birth in two months! Image from Benefit Cosmetics website.

4. Dinner at shake shack at the mall of the emirates- I’ve been hearing a lot about this place and for my birthday, I would love a carbo-loaded greasy dinner…

5. A million dollars- Ok so this last one is next to impossible from coming true but who said wishing should be cheap? 🙂

PS- my birthday is on the 16th but I usually make a big deal out of the whole month of October so this month my posts might be focused more on how special I am… 🙂 I’ll do my best not to…

5 things I would love to have right now… right this minute…

5 things right nowI am thinking of things that I need right now. Okay ‘need’ is too strong a word. The feeling is more like a ‘craving’. But most things are just stuff I can afford but am putting off buying for some random reason. Here is my top 5.

1. A Haircut

Thick, beautiful hair is one of the perks of pregnancy and I am liking the condition of my mane at the moment. My look needs an update though and I am very much inlove with Zoeey Deschanel’s hair. She’s got the messy quirky look that’s seems easy to maintain. I don’t like anything high maintenance. And I want pretty bangs.

2. Colorful leggings

The weather is a-changing! Dubai is gearing up for the short cold months. I am lusting for these colorful tights from H&M. I am pretty sure I will be wearing a lot of black in the coming months (post pregnancy body) so these colorful tights will definitely give my wardrobe a boost without costing too much. Tights AED 26 in all H&M Stores in the UAE. Available in mustard yellow, petrol, red, burgundy, mint green, coral.

3. Cake from Bakemart or Limetree

Its been so long since I had cake. I love the honey cake or pistachio marble from Bakemart or the carrot cake (image from from Limetree cafe. But my sweet teeth (all of them) need to wait until I give birth because of gestational diabetes.

4. Instax camera

I just want a new toy to play with, but DH has his eye on me because getting this for myself is an unnecessary splurge. Image courtesy of Fujifim Instax costs around AED 300 for the 7s.

5. Icecream maker

Been craving for frozen yoghurt my entire pregnancy but its just too expensive to have it everyday. An ice cream maker might be the answer to all my cravings. However, winter is almost here and it won’t be practical to buy one when its cold. So I’ll just wait for March to get one. Or is someone getting me one for Christmas? Image courtesy of Hehouse ice cream maker worth AED 91.00