Irene Feeney Steele, the fashion plate founder of Dubai-based blog Gingham & Sparkle, shares her UAE insider knowledge

My go-to for a fast fashion fix

Ok, this is a difficult one, but I would have to say H&M. In the last year or so it’s been killing it with its on-trend seasonal collections and, thanks to the power of Instagram, its clothes and accessories more than often become must-have pieces. I find it’s one of those stores that you go into for one thing and leave with six new items because you just can’t resist.

My favourite place for a splurge

I’m a big fan of investing in good quality and timeless accessories – items that will see you through season-to-season and look good no matter the current trends. I’ve loved Gucci the past couple of years under the creative direction of Alessandro Michele, who has revolutionised the brand and made it cool again. He makes you covet everything.

My go-to beauty salon

We’re spoiled in Dubai with so many amazing salons, so it’s hard to narrow it down to just one – but Cocoon Nail Spa in Motor City just ticks all the boxes for me. It offers a great range of services – the staff are brilliant with brow shaping, have lots of fab products and I’m always so happy and relaxed by the time I leave.

My favourite date night spot

My husband and I definitely need to get more date-nights in, but one place we regularly frequent, and always have a great night in, is The Scene at Pier 7.  We sometimes are creatures of habit (if it ain’t broke, don’t fix it, as they say) and with a fab menu, quirky interior and stunning views of Dubai Marina, it never lets us down.

My favourite place for a family day out

We love heading to Kite Beach at the weekends with our scooters, having copied the kids and bought ourselves adult scooters for Christmas. We have breakfast at Park House, watch the kites, have fun in the sea and sand and take advantage of the children’s activities and playgrounds, while I love the buzzing little market with the most beautiful beachwear and home accessories. We always end with lunch or an early dinner at Salt, literally sitting on the beach. It’s definitely our happy place.

My favourite place to unwind

I’m not a gym-person (unfortunately) but I do love to unwind by going for a long run in the morning on Al Qudra Cycle Track. Listening to my music, I’m alone with my thoughts and sometimes I get a chance to sort to-do-lists in my head. Afterwards, I feel so good about my little achievement, it totally sets me up for the day. As a reward, I sit with a coffee at The Brass coffee truck  – which serves the best coffee in Dubai IMHO – and just chill.

My Dubai hidden gem

I’ve thought long and hard about this one – it has to be Jumeirah Tent Restaurant on Jumeirah Beach Road.  A friend recently introduced me to it and I fell in love instantly. It’s an Arabic restaurant right on the beach with the Burj Al Arab in full view.  It combines traditional and modern takes on dishes with a beautiful interior referencing marine life, with decorations and adornments including abras and fishing nets. It has such a holiday feel and a great atmosphere, along with being totally Instagram-worthy.

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