Monthly Archives: February 2017


DUBAI, UAE: Soulful. Sultry. Jazzy. Just a few words to describe singer/song writing beauty Layla Kardan and her body of work. The independent artist, whom is already prominent on the Dubai music scene, is set to share her original music at the Emirates Airline Dubai Jazz Festival ahead of her EP launch.

A true global citizen, the Australian national is currently living and producing her first EP in the United Arab Emirates. Born in Belgium with Iranian roots, Layla’s exposure to different cultures and appreciation for diverse genres of music brings a fresh and edgy approach to not only her soulful music but also her creative direction and personal style.image003

Cementing her reputation as a strong musical force, Layla will perform at the Emirates Airline Dubai Jazz Festival for her second year, taking place at the Dubai Media City Amphitheatre on the 24th February.  Attendees can expect a performance ennead of well-thought out vocal delivery, music composition and lyrical content communicating Layla’s signature sensual, and sultry sound.  image001

Speaking about the event, Layla says “The Emirates Airline Jazz Festival is one of the most anticipated events on the Dubai calendar for me, I’m so honoured and excited to be amongst the local artists selected to perform this year”

Layla has been busy working with International writers and producers from the likes of Sweden and New Zealand to craft her EP of all original tracks, with melodies such as ‘As one’ as just one of the stand outs. The launch date of Layla’s EP will be revealed at a later date, in the meantime to get a taste of the singer/ songwriter at the Emirates Airlines Dubai Jazz Fest purchase tickets at

About Layla Kardan LAYLA KARDAN

Layla Kardan is set to debut her all-original EP with a soulful and sultry voice expressing undertones of Jazz and Soul music infused with Middle Eastern and poetic movements.image005

Already prominent in the Dubai music scene, she has performed at Emirates Jazz Festival, Art Dubai, The Global Education Forum, Emirates Literature Festival and collaborated with international brands to produce original songs. The singer is also a regular at exclusive venues such as Coya, OKKU, Blue Bar, The Music Room and Little Black Door.

A true global citizen, the Australian national is currently living and producing in the United Arab Emirates. Born in Belgium with Iranian roots the singer started performing from a young age inspired by Sade, Erykah Badu, Jill Scott, India Arie and Nina Simone.

Aiming to represent ethnic euphoria on a global stage through her melodic riffs and rhythmic beats, Layla Kardan captivates her audiences with true flair.


10 Romantic Dates in Dubai for Couples on a Budget

The most romantic time of the year is upon us; Valentine’s Day! And couples worldwide are preparing to smother each other with all the romance and love in the world. It seems like no evil could ever exist on a day like Valentine’s. But as the saying goes, “the lack of money is the root of all evil;” not having a big Valentine’s day budget might come as an issue to many couples. It may even lead to some bad blood. However, fear not! Here are 10 of the most romantic date ideas for couples on a tight budget;


  1. Movie night: Movies are always romantic. They create a closeness between people unparalleled to any other event. This Valentine’s, treat your partner to a great movie, sit back and enjoy the quality time spent with one another. Some couples prefer to stay in and have a movie marathon. Apart from the cost of ordering take-out, this idea costs absolutely nothing. Grab a few blankets, make some popcorn and hop on that couch for hours of movie entertainment.
  2. Game night: If you and your partner are fond of games in general, this is the date night for you! Have over another couple, order some dinner and stay up all night playing charades or monopoly and laughing till your stitches burst. Being a huge fan of games myself, I would definitely recommend you have this game night date at least once.
  3. Crash at IKEA: This date might sound silly but as a person who has done this with my partner, this might be the most fun you will ever have on a low budget date. Basically all you need is to go to IKEA, and pretend like it’s your home. Sleep on the beds, imagine you’re switching on the plastic television in your fake living room, cook invisible pancakes in the kitchen; now, this might lead to you and your partner getting kicked out of the store but hey, what’s life if you don’t get thrown out of IKEA at least once?
  4. Camp at Al Qudra Lake: Al Qudra lakes in Dubai are one of the most beautiful and serene man-made lakes in the country. It is a very famous camp spot but is not crowded due to the large space and numerous lakes. Take your date there for an overnighter, set up camp, get a bbq going, feed bread to the ducks and swans and overall have a really intimate night together. Make sure to have a 4×4 before setting off as some areas have loose sand where sedan cars might get beached.
  5. Road trip:  Road trips are always exciting and never fails to deliver good quality family fun. Set a quaint little place, such as a wadi, as your final destination and set off with your partner for an entire day of laughing, intimacy and low budget entertainment.
  6. Shisha Date: If you and your partner are smokers and are fans of the popular shisha found all over Dubai, the Tea Junction in Oud Mehta might be the best place for you. This peculiar little café serves over 20 types of tea and snacks; while having a dedicated Happy Hour from 10 am to 4 pm for couples just like you! One shisha here will cost you 23 dhs, excluding the tea and snacks.
  7. Bowling night: If you and your partner are a bit on the competitive side of relationships, then bowling night is perfect for you. Find the nearest bowling alley and go head to head in a friendly match. Order a side of cheese fries and sodas and you have the perfect recipe for date night.
  8. Antique or Thrift together: You can find many gems of shops in Dubai that sell the best antiques. Just standing in those shops gives the feeling of being transported back an era. Experience this with your partner as you go antiquing together and if you find a great deal, purchase it! It will make a great addition to your showcase. Madinat Jumeirah in Dubai has a great selection of antique stores if this date night interests you.
  9. Stay at home spa: This can be a very relaxing and very intimate date night for both the partners. You could set up a bubble bath, have romantic music playing, pop open a bottle of bubbly and give each other massages. In the end, it’s always a bonus to see your partner in a face mask.
  10. Sing the night away: Head over to a karaoke bar and sing to your hearts content! You could sing dedications to your partner which is always a good idea; even if you don’t have a singing voice. It’s the thought that counts!


Art Dubai 2017: Gallery line-up, tickets and everything you need to know!

Art Dubai is a leading international art fair, welcoming the global art world to Dubai each year. The fair acts as a gateway to art from around the world and is the preeminent place to discover works from the Middle East, Africa and South Asia.

Here all you need to know about the event of the year.


Art Dubai is taking place March 15-18, 2017 at Madinat Jumeirah, Dubai. Held under the patronage of HH Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum, Vice President and Prime Minister of the UAE and Ruler of Dubai.


  • This is the 11th edition of Art Dubai
  • It will take place from March 15-18, 2017
  • 93 galleries are participating
  • From 44 countries
  • Featuring over 500 artists
  • Representing 60+ nationalities
  • Last year we had just over 27.5K visitors over the week
  • 25 galleries attending the fair for the first time and almost three quarters of galleries returning
  • 30+ galleries focusing on solo or two-artist exhibitions
  • 12 galleries participating from the UAE
  • 9 galleries participating from Iran
  • 4 from South America and 1 has a space in La Habana
  • 4th edition of Modern section – will feature 15 galleries from 12 countries

New Fair Director, Myrna Ayad, shares what not to miss this year

Art Dubai is held under the Patronage of His Highness Sheikh Mohammed Bin Rashid Al Maktoum, Vice President and Prime Minister of the UAE, Ruler of Dubai. An international art fair with roots in the Middle East, Africa and South Asia, the eleventh edition of Art Dubai takes place March 15-18, 2017 in Dubai, United Arab Emirates.

Art Dubai Contemporary

One of the most exciting aspects about this hall – and which will be immediately perceptible and palpable – is the curatorial effort that has gone into each booth. The works of some of the world’s aspiring and emerging artists through to established, respected names will be exhibited through 78 galleries. That variety in itself is unique and attests to Art Dubai’s positioning as the most global of art fairs. We’ve got a strong contingent of galleries from Iran as well as those from South America this year, and it’s always interesting to feel the ‘pulse’ of the times and trends in this hall.

Art Dubai Modern

If ever there were a visual anthology of the 20th-centry histories of the Middle East, South Asia and Africa regions, every edition of Art Dubai Modern would constitute a chapter. This vault is where secrets and told and untold histories are held – from political and economic hardship through to the many layers between tradition and modernity and social issues, the prized artworks exhibited in this hall testify to culturally rich regions with long, colourful histories. With 15 galleries this year, it’s a different energy altogether – pensive and momentous with a lot more time spent exploring the narratives behind each work.

The Abraaj Group Art Prize

I’ve followed Rana Begum’s career for many years now and each time I’ve seen her work, I sense a reinterpretation, a rethinking and an exploration of new variations, specifically the fusion between architecture, minimalism and Islamic abstraction. I’m excited at the prospect of this young Bangladeshi artist presenting her winning work for the ninth Abraaj Group Art Prize under the curatorship of Omar Berrada, a curator whose work I admire. I am keen on seeing how she will push boundaries (quite literally!) as will the shortlisted artists Doa Aly, Raha Raissnia and Sarah Abu Abdallah.

Art Dubai Commissions

This is the first time that our Commissions will be wholly performance-based and I am excited about this for several reasons. Primarily, there is something to be said about casually waltzing through the fair only to be pleasantly interrupted by a performance. That definitely offers a different energy altogether. Yasmina Reggad returns to curate our Commissions and will, along with Lana Fahmi, will pay tribute to the late, great Emirati artist Hassan Sharif. I appreciate that these performances – including those by Iván Argote and Pauline Bastard, Eglé Budvytyté and Manuel Pelmus – altogether add another dimension to experiencing art. Personally, I value how these presentations continue to resonate, because ultimately, we recall emotions and a lot comes through with performance.

Global Art Forum

As someone who has lived in the UAE for over 30 years, the concept of trade was and still is prevalent, from seeing the dhows along the Dubai Creek bring in goods from Iran, India, which made their way into souks and retails outlets to witnessing the construction of ‘trading hubs’ in the form of huge shopping malls, the DIFC and others. Much as the UAE has been a nucleus in the regional trading industry, so too is Art Dubai as far as art and ideas are concerned and I am excited at how the Global Art Forum, aptly titled Trading Places and led by the indefatigable Shumon Basar, will tackle the exchange of ideas, narratives, concepts and goods.

Art Dubai Modern Symposium

There is something to be said of great minds coming together, as they will at the inaugural Art Dubai Modern Symposium. This is a great opportunity to hear otherwise untold stories, unknown truths and the sharing of knowledge on the region’s modernity and its key figures. These modernists, were, after all, documentarians of a time gone by and it is through their practices, told to us by participating curators, scholars, museum directors and patrons, that we can piece together different eras, influences and inspirations. I’m sure this will be a real eye-opener that will widen the dialogue on modern art from the region.


The Sheikha Manal Little Artist’s Programme

Provides hands-on and engaging workshops for children between the ages of 5-17. The programme encourages young people to get involved in the arts, creating a platform for creative thinking and artistic expression.


PRIVATE DAYS (by invitation only)

Monday, March 13, 6.30-8.30pm: Art Dubai Modern Preview

Tuesday, March 14, 3-9.30pm: Art Dubai Preview

Tuesday, March 14, 7pm: The Abraaj Group Art Prize Unveiling

VERNISSAGE (by invitation only)

Wednesday, March 15, 1-4pm: Ladies Day Preview (open to all ladies)

Wednesday, March 15, 4-9.30pm: VIP Opening


Thursday, March 16, 4-9.30pm

Friday, March 17, 2-9.30pm

Saturday, March 18, 12-6.30pm

*Please note that last entrance into the fair is at 9pm


Tickets can be purchased at the fair or online at a discounted price here.


Day ticket (valid one day, either March 16, 17, 18): AED 50 if purchased online, AED 80 if purchased onsite

Free entry for youth under 18 and students with valid ID.


Parking for Art Dubai is at the nearby Dubai Police Academy, with continuous shuttles to the fair.


Please note that at peak times there will be no valet parking available at Madinat Jumeirah, and we strongly advise coming by taxi for the evening events.


Organisations taking part include:

· Art Dubai, the week’s anchor event, will announce its extensive programme that includes 93 international galleries, the eleventh edition of the Global Art Forum and an exhibition of works by winners of the Abraaj Group Art Prize, and much more.
· Design Days Dubai will present its largest list to date of participating leading design galleries, studios and solo designers, and returns for its sixth edition at a new location within Dubai Design District (d3).
· The Dubai Culture and Arts Authority will present the 4th edition of the Emirates umbrella arts initiative ‘Dubai Art Season’, headlined by SIKKA Art Fair amongst other key cultural events happening across the city in March to April 2017.
· Alserkal Avenue will present its commissions for Art Week and its inaugural event at their new OMA-designed venue.
· Sharjah will present exhibitions that include Beloved Bodies II at the Barjeel Art Foundation and Once Upon A Time: Hadiqat Al Umma at The Maraya Art Centre.
· The Abu Dhabi Tourism & Culture Authority will present the second exhibition of the Guggenheim Abu Dhabi Collection The Creative Art: Performance, Process, Presence at Manarat Al Saadiyat, and the Salama bint Hamdan Al Nahyan Foundation and Warehouse 421 will present the exhibitions Lest We Forget: Emirati Adornment & Intangible and Bayn: the In-Between.

The format will allow you to meet the participants of Art Week on a one to one basis in an informal setting.

Should you require transport to the event, please book a Careem car and enjoy a free ride, valid 15th February between 9:00am – 1:00pm, using Promo code: artweek2017. Pick up or drop off must be within d3.

We look forward to meeting you at 10am on the 15th February, Building 7, the Dubai Design District (d3). Light refreshments and breakfast will be served.

Art Week is an Art Dubai Group initiative that is supported by Dubai Culture & Arts Authority (Dubai Culture) and Meraas.

Art Dubai 2017 Guide

UAE’s First Electric Vehicle Road Trip Unveils Nine New Charging Stations

The four-day Emirates Electric Vehicle Road Trip (Emirates EVRT) initiative saw a Tesla Model X, five Tesla Model S, four Renault Zoe and one retrofitted Volkswagen Golf undertake a tour of the UAE.


 Dubai, United Arab Emirates, February 2017 – The first Emirates Electric Vehicle Road Trip (EEVRT) concluded at The Sustainable City in Dubai last week, successfully opening nine new charging stations in the UAE and further driving electric vehicle adoption in the country.

The new, free-to-use electric vehicle charging stations, supplied by ENGIE, were opened at three AccorHotels, including Marjan Island Resort & Spa in Ras Al Khaimah (three), the Novotel Fujairah (four), and at the Sofitel Corniche in Abu Dhabi (two).32-LF8A0978

Accelerating the transition towards a sustainable low-carbon future, the four-day event took place from 29th January to 1st February 2017 when 11 electric vehicles left Dubai and traversed more than 700km across the UAE. The charging stations installed have opened up a whole new stretch of electric vehicle driving for the UAE.

“The UAE has already come a long way in moving towards taking a more environmentally friendly stance when it comes to vehicles, and we hope that this event showed people how much of a difference it can make.  Thank you to everyone who made the Emirates EVRT possible.  It was a truly momentous event for the region and one we are extremely proud of,” says Ben Pullen, Founder and Managing Director of Global Electric Vehicle Road Trip who brought the event to the UAE.14-IMG_5217

Along the way, 40 participants and 150 total guests enjoyed a stop at Jebel Jais, the UAE’s highest point, site visits as well as various gala dinner events, electric vehicle experiences and activities, and stayovers in Ras Al Khaimah, Fujairah and Abu Dhabi.  The road trip concluded with an electric vehicle conference at The Sustainable City on 1st February, including live panel debates, talks from electric vehicle and energy experts, and a final UAE electric vehicle parade, which also included electric bikes.

During the road trip Emirates National Bank of Dubai, The Sustainable City and AXA Insurance made announcements on their commitment to support the evolution of the electric vehicle industry in the UAE.  Emirates NBD has launched their green auto loan with preferential pricing, The Sustainable City provides an AED 40,000 grant for residents wishing to purchase an electric car, and AXA Insurance Gulf has launched a first-of-its-kind insurance solution for electric vehicles in the GCC region under its Tesla Club Scheme.11-IMG_5200

The response from participants and event partners who experienced the event for the first time was overwhelmingly positive. Intrigued by how the electric cars would perform during the longer drives to Jebel Jais and Fujairah, the participants were pleasantly surprised by the acceleration and range of the new Renault Zoe and Tesla vehicles. One of the most interesting experiences was to witness the regenerative braking which is a technology that allows the batteries to re-charge when driving down hills. Through driving down Jebel Jais the Renault Zoe Log Range model was able to achieve around 50km of extra range.

“As pioneer and leader of 100% electric vehicles in Europe, Renault was glad to support the Emirates EVRT initiative that is developing the awareness of pure sustainable mobility in the UAE. We have shown through the use of the new Renault ZOE with 400km autonomy that autonomy was no longer an issue to move freely in the seven Emirates,” says Emmanuel Guiffault, Marketing Director of Renault Middle East.9-IMG_5194

Dominique Westbrook, Managing Director for Tetrad Discovery adds, “It was great to meet like-minded people who truly have the passion for green transport in the UAE, and to be part of that movement was very fulfilling.”


The Global EVRT makes its way to Europe in April this year for the two-week long ESCP Europe EVRT and will be back in the Middle East in 2018 to travel across the GCC. For more information, visit

For more information about the Global EVRT or upcoming road trips across the globe, visit


About Emirates Electric Vehicle Road Trip


Global EVRT is committed to accelerating electric vehicle adoption, and driving society’s transition to a sustainable, low carbon future. We do this by believing in you: we know that people make the right choices around energy and sustainability when given the need-to-know information through engaging and positive experiences.

Our electric vehicle road trips achieve just that – creating fun, informative and unique experiences that will change your beliefs about electric cars. Once on board, we will transform the way you perceive energy and how we use it, and create a new environment for electric vehicles in the UAE, allowing you to step seamlessly into a more sustainable future.

Global EVRT was born in Europe and is now building a legacy in the Emirates – a country on the cusp of an electric vehicle boom. With our initiative we believe EVs will kick-start even sooner, and set an exciting global precedent! Join us on our journey from 29th January to 1st February 2017. Be part of a sustainable transport revolution.


For more information visit

Bringing French Flair to Dubai! Delifrance Opens in Two New Locations!

UAE, February 12, 2017 Delifrance, the world’s leading French bakery-café-restaurant chain, has opened in Dubai, with the French Consul–General to Dubai H.E. Majdi Abed in attendance.


With venues located in Dubai Mall and Ibn Batutta Mall, Delifrance is perfectly located within both shopping destinations and is set to become one of the cities go-to French Boulangerie and Bistro. The Patisserie offers customers a stunning bakery counter, superb French coffee and a lovely retail area filled with unique and eclectic goods. With its chic red and deep blue interiors Delifrance presents a space that boasts elegant Parisian flare.

Whilst Delifrance opened its first restaurant in 1984, its heritage dates back to 1919 as an offset of Grands Moulins de Paris. Today, it boasts an international franchise of over 400 outlets across 13 countries, with its most recent openings including Hong Kong and Milan.

The boulangerie aspires to give customers the very best of what Parisian culture has to offer and coined as ‘French baker experts’ Delifrance will be offering their award-winning patisseries, including croissants and pain au chocolat. Their French pastry is made from top quality wheat, chosen in close collaboration with cereal producers, especially among the French farmers, owners & shareholders of the Délifrance brand. Delifrance endeavours to work with ingredients that make a difference to the end product, including free range eggs for instance. The brand believes that “sharing food is a typical French way of life, to know how to enjoy good food and talk around the table with the ones we love is the greatest way to do it”. Customers are invited to enjoy the Parisian flare of the restaurant whilst they unwind, relax and indulge in great French gastronomy.

Using the finest ingredients and recipes from top chefs, such as such as the award-winning Michel Roth (Michelin starred, Bocuse d’or, Meilleur ouvrier de France) diners can select from an extensive range of authentic freshly baked breads and pastries, as well as hot and cold dishes, from breakfast through to dinner. Delifrance’s breakfast menu boasts signature dishes such as Tartufon and Omlette Nature, which comes accompanied with parmesan cheese, sautéed mushroom and quality Scottish smoked salmon.

The menu also offers a selection of Parisian inspired sandwiches, such as the delicious Croque Monsieur with smoked turkey ham, gruyere cheese, béchamel cheese sauce, whole grain

mustard, baked with mozzarella as well as finely crafted burgers, quiches and pastas. With delicious desserts, such as their Chocolate Tarte, stunning assorted Eclairs and French Crepes, Delifrance’ s desert menu is sure to satisfy your sweet tooth.

Located in the Dubai Mall, level 1 and Ibn Battuta Mall on the ground floor, the boulangerie & bistro serves up a variety of options, including sandwiches, burgers and quiches. Open Daily from 8am to 10pm.

Délifrance has been one of the world’s leading French bakery-café-restaurant chains since 1984. Thanks to its heritage as part of Grands Moulins de Paris – founded in Paris in 1919 – Délifrance controls the entire value chain from the selection of wheat varieties to the consumer’s plate. Délifrance produces and sells 1,000 different bread, viennoiserie, pâtisserie, and savoury products to professionals in the hotel, restaurant, and bakery sectors. These products are served every day as part of a retail concept inspired by French art de vivre and Parisian elegance. Délifrance Retail Franchise International has 400 outlets in 13 countries.