The Frugal Queen…

frugal queen

I recently started following this interesting blog written by an unbelievably resourceful woman who calls herself The Frugal Queen. She is on a mission to live a debt free life and while reading her blog, I have realised how easily we (as a society) accept and live with debt. Having gone through some tough times myself over the past few years, I can honestly attest to the stress which presses down on you when you have debt….it is like a huge load on your head,  which can be avoided…Frugal Queen’s message is really simple: live within your means.

This sounds like a simple message but it made me think a lot about how few people I know who are actually doing just that…particularly in this part of the world. I know people earn large salaries but they also live large…really , really large! We live in a city where consumerism is like an Olympic sport…every weekend the malls are full of people buying stuff….clothes, furniture, books, food……

Frugal Queen is constantly downsizing…she makes her own bread , cakes and biscuits-she has reduced her water and heating bills by almost half by being vigilant and careful….just yesterday I sat at a traffic light and watched a gardener from one  of the huge villas, hosing down the driveway and sidewalk with a hosepipe…..all that water being wasted! There is no conscious thought that at some point, the water will come to an end and we will be desperate for fresh drinking water. What is wrong with a broom or a leaf blower?It makes me sad and extremely frustrated and is definitely impacting on my decision about where I will eventually end up living in the future.

Frugal Queen has even dug up parts of her garden to grow vegetables-the cost of food rises daily and while on the surface it looks like shelves are laden and there are no shortages here, how do we know what the future holds….to be able to supplement your food purchases with home grown vegetables would be amazing!

Although Frugal Queen has taken a decision to live a certain way, which honestly may seem extreme to some people, I truly admire her dedication and resolve and I think more of us should take up the challenge of living within our means and reducing consumption wherever we can..after all, this is what got the world into the current mess we are   in! I would highly recommend this blog for a thoroughly interesting insight into this women’s journey to be free of debt….it  is enlightening and certainly educational!

A while back I wrote a post about Intelligent Luxury and I am adding the advice from the Frugal Queen to my daily read in my attempt to live more consciously….I  believe that it is the pathway to inner peace and happiness and a debt free life!

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A Small Home-the benefits…

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I read this post today with great interest….a couple of years ago I made the decision to completely downsize my apartment and by that I mean relocate from a three bedroom (four bathroom) apartment into a studio apartment! It was a shock to the system to put it mildly! The excess furniture was one thing-my sister has adopted most of the really large pieces like my huge three – seater sofa and the extra double bed from my guest room…but I am still discarding things which I find superfluous in my smaller home, almost two years later!

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The author of the post, Shannon, lists about 10 points why it is a good idea to downsize to a smaller home. They all rang true for me…here in Dubai, most expats rent ,unless you are lucky enough to be able to own your own villa/apartment. I have never been in a position to be able to want to own my property, and it has seemed a bit too permanent for the wanderer that I am deep down! Even though we have very recently started recovering from the devastating property crash which hit us so hard a few years ago, people(landlords) are still greedily demanding higher rents again and what’s worse, we are paying them again!!

My smaller home has made me a much happier person – the fact that I use less electricity and water pleases my “green “heart (and my pocket) and I am also able to pay my rent relatively easily…here in the UAE, all rents have to be paid in full a year ahead. So the less the rent, the less the headache….it’s also much easier to clean and keep clean, although that is always a challenge for me anyway! I live in a community located close to a large shopping mall and numerous restaurants and other small stores, so it is very easy and convenient if one needs anything.

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I am also trying to get rid of “junk”and replace it with less but better quality items… something which is much easier to do when the space you live in is small ….Shannon also makes the very valid point that a simpler life is also more fulfilling…something I am striving to achieve!With a smaller space, you can afford to decorate with better quality items because you need so few things .I am also trying to decorate my space in a way that is luxurious and lavish to me…after all, the other great part about living in a small space is that you don’t often have to share it! Having had my share of nightmare room mates, I am more than happy living on my own!!!

The One and Only Royal Mirage Hotel

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Entrance to One and Only Royal Mirage Hotel

 This hotel was one of the first “Arabian”themed hotels and the architecture is very traditional..in my humble opinion, this style of architecture works phenomenally well in this part of the world….it blends in with the surrounding landscape and creates hidden and mysterious courtyards with fountains and domed hallways. The sound of fountains gently trickling can be heard everywhere and the entrance to the main hotel features a fountain which is filled with rose petals daily…what luxury! The gardens are lush and green and exquisitely maintained and this resort is truly an escape from the dust and sand of the desert.

the rose petal filled water feature
the rose petal filled water feature

The decor is traditional with an Arabic feel, but the domes are really very traditional Arabic in design and decoration. We used traditional patterns and combined them with strong colour and touches of gold leaf …the whole concept was very tasteful and despite the hotel being over 5 years old, it still feels very current and fresh.

Spa Dome
Spa Dome

 I was fortunate enough to get the project to work on some of the decorative domes in the Arabian Court,and I also worked on a massive dome in the spa entrance (see image above), which was about 25 meters off the ground…quite nerve wracking to say the least!We had to climb a set of stairs every day to get to a platform with a trapdoor and that was where you had to stay until you simply HAD to go back down to answer the call of nature!

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The arches were plastered with alight gold Venetian Plaster and then we stenciled a design over that which complemented the dome design above.

Dome - one of seven in the main atrium done by my colleague on the project
Dome – one of seven in the main atrium done by my colleague on the project
Entrance to One and Only Royal Mirage Hotel
Courtyard off the tea lounge

I still frequent the hotel on a fairly regular basis as their afternoon tea is spectacular….my tea of choice is Earl Grey loose-leaf  tea,which is served in a silver tea pot with  linen napkins and china. The waiter then brings you a cake stand which holds small sandwiches, Arabic sweets and pastries or scones and cream…..it is positively decadent and the most wonderful and uplifting treat when one feels a bit down or if you have something to celebrate…..I have celebrated my birthday at the Royal Mirage for the last three years and I love it! It is very civilised and in the winter months, the outdoor terrace is the place to be…with the breeze coming off the sea and the sound of the pianist drifting out through the open doors. It is absolute bliss!

Tea-time
Tea-time

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november 2012 046All images via adesigndiary

The One and Only Royal Mirage Hotel

http://royalmirage.oneandonlyresorts.com/

 

Office Love…..

I have loved this beautiful office space for the longest time and I have finally discovered who it belongs to….a very talented illustrator called Dallas Shaw. Her work is whimsical and wonderful and it is no surprise to me that her creative space is exactly the same!

image via Dallasshaw.com
image via Dallasshaw.com

This office  is just perfection to me…the perfect mix of glamorous and feminine yet also practical.

image via dallasshaw.com
image via dallasshaw.com
image via dallasshaw.com
image via dallasshaw.com
image via dallasshaw.com
image via dallasshaw.com

I also love her fabulous illustrations…with such a lovely space to design in, it is no wonder that her work is so pretty!

With my thoughts turning towards my new office space (which is finally being sorted out this week) I am looking for some inspiration and this one is top of the list…I love the all white background with the touches of gold and coral to add a little glamour. I am definitely painting my office /studio all white…it creates a good back drop for the design and pattern which we will be working on in the space. I hope to have some pictures of the studio as soon as we move in….

Happy Mothers Day…

image by adesigndiary
image by adesigndiary

Today we celebrate Mothers in this part of the world-does anyone else find the various different days which different countries celebrate Mothers’Day as confusing as I do? Anyway, a very Happy Mothers’Day to all the mums who sacrifice so much on a daily basis for their families….and a special wish  to my  Mum in the UK….if only we were not living so far away from each other !!

God could not be everywhere and therefore he made mothers.  ~Jewish Proverb

(The Google Doodle today was rather cute too…..)

 

image via google
image via google

Classic Glamour….

This incredible entrance hall caught my eye the minute I saw it…the magnificent shine on the lacquered walls is wonderful to behold but the deep inky black is beyond glamorous….this is exactly how lacquered walls should be done! As a decorative painter I am in awe of the preparation work which had to be done in order to deliver a surface finish like this…..

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image via http://hauteindoorcouture.blogspot.ae
design by Alessandra Branca

 

 

 

 

 

March issue of Matchbook…

The March issue of Matchbook is available online here and it is fantastic…full of eclectic, artistic and fascinating homes ! Don’t miss it….it just gets better and better each month!

image via Matchbook Magazine
image via Matchbook Magazine

I am seriously envious of that sofa………

 

image via Matchbook Magazine
image via Matchbook Magazine

 

image via Matchbook Magazine
image via Matchbook Magazine
image via Matchbook Magazine
image via Matchbook Magazine
image via Matchbook Magazine
image via Matchbook Magazine

The blue and white wall……heavenly!