Well, here we are more than half way through January already. And it’s safe to say that I failed at my last year’s goal of writing more regular blog posts! In an attempt to rectify that, I’m planning to write a monthly post about the things I’m doing, liking, buying and thinking etc, so here goes with my first monthly musings for January…

Visiting: The Galleria

As you’ll know, late last year The Galleria Mall extension opened here in Abu Dhabi, and despite being distinctly underwhelmed at first, I think I may now have found a new favourite mall. It’s becoming more established all the time and more shops are slowly opening so it’s definitely improving all the time. I also really like the range of shops so far, although I would love to see a Marks & Spencer, Banana Republic and a Reiss added to the line up. I have always been a big fan of The Galleria, but now it has extended beyond just offering luxury brands, it’s even better. Other reasons I love The Galleria include the fact that they have the nicest toilets of any mall (complete with family rooms, hurrah!) and with the extension they have also added several rooftop parks.

The family park is my favourite and it’s such a great idea! Using space on a rooftop that would otherwise be unused and turning it into a kids play area is something that should be done more often! The kids park is lovely and has in-ground trampolines, slides, climbing frame, lots of space to run around and giant blocks to play with. In this family we are firm fans!

Shopping & dropping: Caboodle

Obviously Caboodle is located within my new favourite, The Galleria but I had to mention it separately because it’s so great. It’s much bigger (and waaaaay better) than the old outlet was and has so much more to do. There’s arts and crafts, role play, tunnels and ramps and a decent sized soft play adventure area for climbing about with bridges and sliding into a pit filled with foam blocks. There’s also a cafe so there’s a good area for parents to sit and relax if you’re staying while the kids play. The other thing that makes Caboodle top of my list for this month is they offer drop and shop! It is a little expensive at Dhs70 per half hour, but that is for one on one attention and play so I think it is worth it for the odd occasion.

Doing: Yoga with Adriene

I absolutely love Yoga with Adriene. I found her sometime last year when I was looking for some inspiration to do a bit more yoga at home as it’s not always easy to find the time to get out to classes. I tried a few of her practices and was quickly hooked. A lot of her stuff is available for free on youtube but I started using it so regularly I signed up to her app which gives lots of extra practices, makes it easier to follow the weekly / monthly programmes and find what I want. I’ve followed a number of her seven day programmes recently and as of this month I signed up for her (free!) 30 days of yoga programme, ‘Home’. As I write this I’m on day 17 of doing yoga every day and am feeling pretty good! Adriene just has such a lovely manner about her and explains things well. I also find that she’s really good at letting you know about modifications to make things easier or harder as needed so I’ve never felt out of my depth as I have sometimes with other instructors.

Shopping: iHerb

I’m a little bit obsessed with iHerb at the moment. With my ongoing health struggles over the past couple of years (read about that here) I’ve been much more mindful about what I’m doing, what I’m eating and doing what I can to avoid toxins from skincare and so on. So of course iHerb has become very important to me, and being an online store means everything is delivered right to your door so it’s so convenient to use. I order probiotics, vitamins, supplements, skincare and even certain foods from them. I don’t know what I’d do without iHerb now!

If you haven’t yet used iHerb and want to try them out, use my reward code ARD7479 and we’ll both get 10% off our next orders!

Using: Pacifica skincare

I used to write a fair bit about natural / non-toxic skin care brands on the blog, but for various reasons my enthusiasm for this waned. My enthusiasm for natural and non-toxic skincare however has not waned and I’m still always on the search for the ultimate products! I’ve found facial moisturisers really difficult in the ‘clean’ arena, lots of them really aren’t that good, or aren’t as clean and natural as their marketing would have us believe, but I recently came across this brand, Pacifica and tried their Coconut Probiotic Water Rehab Cream and it is divine!

It sinks in beautifully and is SOOO moisturising but without any greasy residue, I just love it. I’m onto my second tube already. I buy it from Iherb and it is 100% vegan and cruelty free and contains no parabens, phthalates, mineral oils or petroleum.

Finally finished reading: London Made Us

This book took me the longest time to read! I rarely seem to have time to sit down and just get through it, but I finally finished it after about four months of trying! Written by BBC London radio presenter Robert Elms, the book is part personal memoir and part history of the changes the British capital has seen. It charts the monumental changes and the more inconsequential of the British capital, but always entwined with personal tales and family memoirs. I really enjoyed Elms’s humorous and at times hilarious stories and appreciated his knowledge, eye for cultural detail and wit on parts of London that I could relate to, having once lived in and frequented many of these areas myself.

Excited for: Girls trip!

This month I’m looking forward to going off on a girl’s trip to Mumbai! Yay! Very excited to get away for a long weekend and explore somewhere new, relax with some good company and have some time just for me for a change. If anyone has any top tips on what we should see and do in Mumbai, please do let me know!

And that’s it for January! See you for my next musings in Feb. Do let me know what you think, and please get in touch if there’s anything you’d like to see more of here!