Dubai Part Two: The Best Massage in the World at Raffles Dubai

“Breathe out Miss Emma, please. Three big breaths.” I do as I am told, slowly and self-consciously. “Is she looking at my spine alignment?” “Is she monitoring my lung capacity?” “Can she see my thighs wobbling under the crisp, white sheet?” Shhh! I hiss at my subconscious as I breathe so deeply and thoroughly –…

Dubai Part One: A City in Pictures

This morning something was different. I stretched my toes down to the cold end of the duvet and, instead of sliding through Egyptian cotton sheets, my toes encountered polyester and the weight of a half-unpacked suitcase. Instead of the muted sound of the beach or a faint call to prayer, all I could hear was…

Dubai in Pictures

I never particularly been madly keen on huge cities. I love a city break as much as the next person and, to be fair, I’ve fallen in love with many a seething metropolis before – Bangkok, Tokyo, Kathmandu, Hanoi, New York and, of course, London to name a few – but the thought of those…

Weekend Bake: Ridiculously Lemony (and gluten free) Almond & Polenta Cake

There’s that old, rather trite saying: “When life gives you lemons, make lemonade.” I’ve never made lemonade, but I am never without lemons in my fridge or in my fruit bowl. I’ve always loved citrus fruits. That sharp, fizzing, teeth sucking  tang that mellows and rounds out as it washes over your palate. I love…

Happy Valentine’s Day: Tinder Photo Fails

Valentine’s Day. Bah Humbug. No, not really, I don’t actually mind Valentine’s Day. Not being able to get into a bar as they’ve all been converted in ‘bijoux’ dining venues with tables so close together that you’re practically whispering sweet nothings into a total stranger’s ear and the forced gift giving and once-a-year flower requirements…

Nude: Models and Life Drawing

There’s nothing better than drawing people with no clothes on. The best practise – and practice – for an amateur artist (and probably for a professional as well) is life drawing. It’s a rare opportunity to draw something that’s alive and right in front of you, and yet conveniently still. Reclining Nude, 2007 Drawing nudes…

Song for the Day: Solange Knowles and the Sapeurs

There’s a great photo piece in The Guardian today about the well dressed Sapeurs of Congo, Africa – members of the Society for the Advancement of Elegant People. Image: AfricaFeed — The Sapeurs of Congo: Open Gutters and Gucci Loafers It put Solange Knowles’ video for Losing You straight into my mind as she filmed it with some…

The Art of Erik Johansson: “I don’t capture moments, I capture ideas”

Last month I featured the work of surreal photographer and artist Jee Young Lee (whose exhibition, coincidently, opened Friday 7 February at the OPIOM Gallery in Opio, France) and her immersive, dream scape images and now I’ve been bowled over by the strange and subversive world of Swedish photographer Erik Johansson. Like Lee, Berlin-based Johansson plunges…

Travel Diary: Into the Eye of the Sun in Ko Tao, Thailand

I was recently asked if I would take a trip to Dubai and the first thing that popped into my head (besides bloody hell, aren’t I lucky) was ‘yes!’ An escape from the relentless grey skies and thundering, sopping, drenching British rain. Dubai has never been too far up on my travel wishlist but, at…

2014 in Books: February

February is packed to the rafters with literary fodder. Lynne Truss is back for the first time in 10 years with her new novel Cat Out of Hell. If you liked Child 44 by Rob Smith, he’s got The Farm coming out just before Valentine’s Day this month, and, if that wasn’t enough, Paul Theroux’s son, the…

Cool Runnings: The Importance and Difficulty of Self-Editing

The process of editing is a strange beast. For a writer who has poured every drop of their time, sweat and spirit into a piece, being asked to slash the word count feels a little like being politely asked if you wouldn’t mind hacking off a limb, or a couple of fingers. In theory, editing…