The Countess in Dubai…Part Three

As I look outside, the splendiferous view of the English Countryside greets me with a familiar view. Sadly my trip to Dubai has ended and I am back home in England once again. Dubai is an incredible City and a place that will always be in my heart, so to be able to come home and still feel happy is a good sign and one that I am truly grateful for.

The last part of my trip was focused on attending the Wedding of a dear friend. Whilst many people loathe Weddings, I have to admit that I love them and cannot see why anyone would not. This is a day that two people are committing their lives to one another in the name of Love. It is a day full of celebration and happiness and a time where everyone in attendance can be thankful for their loved ones. I know when I attend a Wedding I always feel a sense of gratitude for being able to share my life and love with my husband, the Earl.

This Wedding was one of the most fabulous Weddings I have ever had the pleasure of attending. The success of a Wedding is largely down to impeccable organisation and this Wedding ran exceptionally smoothly. It is important that throughout the day all guests are kept entertained and never left to stand around. I have been to many Weddings where there have been long delays between each stage. For example, I have attended Weddings where guests have been left to entertain themselves whilst the Bride and Groom spend hours having photographs taken. When planning my own Wedding, this was something I made very clear was not to happen. I wanted to ensure that guests were entertained from the very first moment of arriving to my reception. I did hire a reputable event planner to assist me with this and I would highly recommend any future bride to do so also. On your Wedding Day you will be far too busy to worry about logistics, instead you should be allowed to enjoy your day and pay someone else to do this professionally.

The Bride of this Wedding had obviously considered the importance of keeping guests entertained as there was not a time throughout the day that we had the opportunity to be bored. Whilst the Bride and Groom were having photographs taken, guests were seated in a magnificent room where a small ballet production was shown. This was a fantastic way to entertain guests rather than leaving them to stand around without a seat. Once the ballet had ended we were immediately seated for Dinner. As I mentioned earlier, organisation is key and this is why this Wedding was so successful.

The Wedding was the perfect end to my Dubai trip, although I have to admit I am now left feeling somewhat exhausted! Dubai is not a place to visit if you want to relax. Yes the weather is perfect but there is so much to do and experience, one would waste time worshipping the Sun all day. For me, I am now glad to be back to normality and cannot wait for tomorrow when I shall walk my Dogs amongst England’s green and pleasant land.

Yours,

The Countess x

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The Countess in Dubai…Part Two

Today I write having ‘endured’ a rather busy day of shopping. This comes after complaining that I had brought too much luggage; Lets just say I shall be going back with even more. The Dubai Mall is an experience like no other, the World’s largest Mall, it is a marvel and I could not resist the opportunity to spend the day indulging in one of my favourite hobbies..retail therapy. It is difficult to explain just how huge the Dubai Mall is, so instead I will provide you with the facts. It is 5,400,00 sq ft, has 1,200 shops, an ice rink and gigantic aquarium. I will be honest and admit that I did not even see the ice rink or aquarium today, it was fashion that was on my agenda and fashion is what was delivered.

Fashion Avenue in the Dubai Mall is perfect for Ladies who love labels. It is the VIP area of the Mall (although you do not have to be a VIP to enter) and the difference is obvious. In this section, the floors are bathed in plush cream carpets, chesterfield seating adorns the walkways, magnificent artwork hangs from the ceilings. When Dubai makes a statement it does so boldly and without mercy. This is what I love about Dubai, it is so proudly extravagant and who does not love that from time to time? Fashion Avenue did manage to get my undivided attention today, and it is with regret (or not) that I did not manage to spend a little more time exploring other areas.

For Lunch, I dined at Madeleines, a French restaurant with a large terrace that overlooks the Dubai Fountains. I have seen the fountains before but I must say I still found them mesmerising today. For anyone visiting, I would recommend doing this at night as the display just feels more incredible. The Burj Khalifa lights up as the fountain dances and the whole spectacle makes the hair stand on end.

I am now on the Yacht enjoying the sun before I have to get ready for the Evening. I shall be attending the Chanel Little Black Jacket exhibition as I did not manage to attend in London or Paris and then I shall be attending a large reception with The Earl and two hundred guests.

Tomorrow is the Wedding Day which shall last all day and night. Please check back with me on Tuesday to read Part Three,

Yours,

The Countess x

Fashion Avenue, Dubai Mall. Taken with iPhone

Fashion Avenue, Dubai Mall. Taken with iPhone

 

The Countess in Dubai…Part One

As I speak to you now, I am sitting aboard the deck of a pristine white yacht eating breakfast whilst the Sun brightly shines creating a sparkling flicker on the surrounding Sea. I am once again in Dubai, perhaps one of my favourite destinations, especially at this time of year when the British weather leaves little to be desired; Unfortunately, I am only visiting for four days, after which I shall be returning to good old Blighty. I am here, with the Earl, to attend a Wedding of a close friend, which is taking place on Monday. Said friend has been extremely hospitable and is the reason why we are residing on a Yacht instead of the usual, Royal Mirage Hotel, which is by no means roughing it!

We arrived in the City early this morning after a long albeit pleasant flight. I must admit that I am not the biggest fan of air travel, I have flown many times, in fact last year the Earl and I flew forty eight times but still, every time we experienced even slight turbulence I was convinced we were going to die! I do manage to relax slightly after cruising for four hours or so, but I cannot tell you the relief one feels when the aircraft has safely landed and my Jimmy Choo’s are treading concrete once again.

For this short trip it is ridiculous how much luggage one has had to bring, however everything I have brought is completely necessary. We are attending many dinners and meetings during the trip not to mention the outfits required for the Wedding day. As we are staying on a Yacht I have also had to bring a rather large entourage including hair stylist, cook, house maid(s), cleaners, dressing assistant, and a driver. It may seem excessive to most but without these important people, trips like this would not be so smooth.

After breakfast the Earl is to play golf with the groom party whilst I shall be attending an Afternoon Tea at the Brides private residence in Emirates Hills. Emirates Hills is Dubai’s version of Beverly Hills, except perhaps not as fabulous. This is because Emirates Hills is still relatively new and needs time for the surrounding foliage and landscape to bloom. However it is still an incredibly serene, exclusive location and the Villas are rather spectacular. It is not a place I would like to live as the villas are quite close together; In Dubai though, this is all you can expect. Only his Highness the Sheikh has a residency with no neighbours.

This evening the Earl and I will have dinner together. This is the only time during the entire trip that we will have the opportunity to dine alone. We were considering eating at the atmosphere restaurant in the Burj Khalifa but eventually decided that we would eat on the yacht which will be more private and intimate. I truly believe in the importance of making the effort of spending quality time with your significant other. It is a time where you can talk about any issues you may have or just to enjoy each other one on one. Communication is after all the key to any successful relationship.

Join me again tomorrow where I will be sharing with you part two of our trip.

Dubai Marina where we are residing

Dubai Marina where we are residing, picture taken with my iPhone

Yours,

The Countess x

My Guide to Elegance..Part Four – Dressing for every Occasion

One of the biggest sartorial faux pas is not dressing correctly for the occasion. Overdressing will make you stand out for all the wrong reasons and underdressing will make you seem as if you have not bothered to make the effort at all; It will also make you feel inferior. Dressing just correctly will show that you have bothered to really think about your outfit choice (something a lady will always do) and are enthusiastic about whatever you may be doing. There is a fine line between knowing what looks good and knowing when it is appropriate. For example, you may have the know how to buy a stunning white dress but wearing it to a  wedding would be extremely bad taste. 

 

For Business

 When dressing for business, sophistication and professionalism is key. You do not want to be showing too much flesh, however it is important to still look feminine. Finding classic, tailored pieces is a good step in the right direction. Shift dresses, smart jackets, pencil skirts and trouser suits are all key items that will make you look professional and sophisticated. 

 Your business and position is also a thing to consider. I once knew the General Manager of a luxury hotel in Dubai who had suits in bright colours tailored for her. Because of her high position, this really worked well as she was noticeable to all and it showed the hierarchical difference between her and the rest of the team. 

 Try to keep hemlines on or below the knee and if you go higher, I would suggest wearing tights.  Always dress in smart clothing for the office or business; I have seen many people dressed casually in their office environment and I think this is very bad etiquette. You are not going to send the right messages dressed in jeans, flip flops and a lumpy sweater. 

 Lastly I would always try to wear heals if possible. The height is of importance, heels that are too high will look unprofessional.

busi 

For Weddings

 It is surprising how many people do not know the unspoken etiquette of Wedding dressing. As a guest at a Wedding you should look formal and elegant, it is not a time to wear those new designer jeans you splashed out on. On the other hand, it is also not the time to be centre of attention dressed to the nines. The day should be all about the Bride and it is common courtesy to keep this in mind when planning your ensemble.   

 As religion plays a part in most Wedding days it is necessary to think about whether your outfit will be suitable for a religious building. Hemlines should be on or below the knee and showing too much cleavage is of extreme bad taste. Even if you are not attending a religious Wedding, it would not be ladylike to bare too much flesh.

 Colour is another important aspect when deciding what you will wear. As a Wedding is a happy occasion, you should choose an outfit that is colourful but not shocking. I would advise sticking to pastels such as pinks, greens, yellows and blues which will add colour in the best possible way. Black should really be avoided but if you insist on wearing it then you will need to ensure that you accessorize well so that you do not look like you are attending a Funeral.  A black outfit with embellishment is also acceptable. White should be avoided at all costs.  

 It is now largely the view that wearing a hat to a Wedding is not compulsory, but I have to disagree. In 2011, Samantha Cameron (spouse of the Prime Minister, David) was the only guest to attend the Wedding of Prince William and Catherine Middleton who did not wear a hat. I can’t imagine how much she regretted this mistake! The truth is, hats and Weddings go hand in hand (or hat on head) and a lady should always wear one. Take advantage of the rare occasion and invest in a beautiful hat. It will add a wonderful glamour to your outfit and make you look sophisticated and well mannered.  It may be a good idea to buy your hat before your outfit as you will then be able to shop to coordinate the two.

wedding

For Funerals

 Funerals are sad occasions and a time when one should show complete respect. There is not much to say about this occasion except always wear black, dress conservatively and always wear a hat.  Also be sure to take a handkerchief and umbrella.

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For Dinner

 A dinner party is usually an intimate occasion between friends or close family. For this reason it is your chance to be more experimental with what you are going to wear. As an elegant lady, it is your style mantra to never look fussy or overdone, but for a dinner party you can experiment a little more. As with everyday life however, you should still hold the image of someone who has put some consideration into their ensemble. 

 The invitation to a dinner party should always hold clues about what one should wear. Buffets, barbecues and al fresco dining always suggest less formal attire whereas a seated dinner will require you to dress more formally.  Another good tip is to take hints from the dress code required of the gentlemen. If they are required to wear jacket and tie, it suggests women will need to wear cocktail attire.

 The location of the dinner is also an important factor; Obviously you should dress more formally for dinner in the exclusive a la carte restaurant than you would for an evening at a friends garden party.

 A useful hint is to always wear a dress to a dinner party. With a dress you will always look just right and make the correct impression. For summer months and day time dinners choose elegant floral and colourful prints. For more formal dinners choose well cut dresses in luxury fabrics such as linen-silk blends, chiffon and lace. 

 Finally, accessorize. For summer and less formal occasions, choose bold statement necklaces, earrings and bracelets. For more formal occasions diamonds and pearls will always be the subject of admiration and conversation.

dinner party

 

For horse racing / Polo

 Equine events are always a great opportunity to show off your elegant and sophisticated style. The Royal Ascot is just one of many horse racing events, however it is a good template of how one should dress when attending the races. In recent years, the organizers of the Royal Ascot have changed the rules of their dress code and I believe they are a good standard for all Women to follow. 

 

  • Dresses and skirts should be of modest length defined as falling just above the knee or longer.
  • Dresses and tops should have straps of one inch or greater.
  • Jackets and pashminas may be worn, but the dresses and tops underneath should still comply with the Royal Enclosure dress code.
  • Trouser suits are welcome. They should be full length and of matching material and colour.
  • Hats should be worn; a headpiece which has a base of 4 inches (10cm) or more in diameter is acceptable as an alternative to a hat.
  • Strapless, off the shoulder, halter neck and spaghetti straps are not permitted.
  • Midriffs must be covered.
  • Fascinators are no longer permitted; neither are headpieces which do not have a base covering a sufficient area of the head (4 inches / 10cm).

I believe that these rules are perfect as it is now almost impossible not to dress elegantly. All that is left to add is to ensure that you choose a good fit, cut, material and colour.  Choosing a well made, structured outfit will always compliment the figure. The ensemble should be made of a more luxurious material such as cotton-silk blend or organza. You can be experimental with colour as the event is supposed to be fun, just make sure your hat matches the outfit. Lastly consider the weather, the last thing you want is to be too hot or cold. 

horse racing

For travel

When traveling it is easy for many to choose comfort over style and abandon all dressing etiquette. For me, I believe that traveling is an occasion when one should always look ones best. The Airport is a busy place occupied with people from all over the World, therefore it is important to consider how you want to represent yourself and your country in such an environment. It is possible to be comfortable whilst maintaining an elegant look, the key is to wear fabrics that are durable and not too tight as you may be sitting for hours at a time. I would also suggest wearing pants or long skirts and dresses as you may want to sleep and the last thing you need is to be worrying about accidentally exposing yourself! Carrying a medium sized tote is a good idea as it will be able to hold all documents and essentials. You may want to freshen up before your arrival so ensure you have cosmetics with you onboard. Try to wear heels, after all you will not be walking too far and the airport is your runway. 

travel

For the beach

When the Sun makes an appearance it is again a time when standards of dressing goes completely out the window. It is seen as an opportunity to wear little as possible; Women wear hot pant style shorts with their midriffs on show to all, some men even walk the streets topless! Just because the sun is shining and the weather is warm, it does not mean that style principles should be abandoned. You would not walk around town in your underwear so there is no reason why you should parade in minuscule clothing on a hot day. On the way to the pool or beach, ensure that you are wearing a sundress or kaftan and don’t remove it until you are ready to sunbathe or take a dip. When you have decided that you are ready to leave, put the sundress/Kaftan back on; You should never walk through a hotel in a bikini. To avoid aging, it may be wise to avoid the beach altogether.

beach

Yours,
The Countess x 

The Chanel Little Black Jacket Exhibition..Dubai

 Little Black Jacket is an iconic jacket designed by the late Coco Chanel in the early 50’s that has been re-imagined by Karl Lagerfeld since he took control of the CHANEL fashion empire.With this exhibition, the public get a chance to witness the originality, timelessness and versatility of the Little Black Jacket through Lagerfeld’s original photographs with styling by Carine Roitfeld

Due to commitments, I was unable to attend this exhibition in London or Paris, so I have decided I will be attending in Dubai. The Exhibition will be running in Dubai from April 27 – May 11 at  Mohammed bin Rashid Boulevard, Downtown DubaiI adore the Chanel Jacket so I could not miss out on this, plus it is another excuse to visit one of my favourite cities.

Alongside the exhibition, CHANEL will present its latest spring and summer collection of jackets in its boutiques at the Dubai Mall, Mall of the Emirates and Burjuman Centre.

 

 

 

 

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Yours,

The Countess x

The Countess shares her favourite Hotels

I have been lucky enough to travel the World and visit some of the most beautiful places imaginable. I do have to be honest and admit that when it comes to travelling, I like all the comforts of Home and would not have fun ‘roughing it’ to say the least. The Four Seasons have provided me with some of the most exquisite accommodations over the years and they feature heavily in this post. I know with a Four Seasons Hotel I am going to get incredible accommodation, impeccable service and a superb location. Some of the trips I have been on with the Earl have been last minute and I have not had time to research a Hotel, when this happens I simply book a Four Seasons knowing it will be perfect. When in London my favourite place to stay is The Ritz. My family have been staying at this establishment for generations and I too adore it’s regal charm and luxurious comfort. My Husband and I often considered investing in a Townhouse in Belgravia but eventually realised that it would have been pointless as we would only pine for our second home, The Ritz. We also adore the Ritz in Paris and whilst here I cannot resist the Coco Chanel Suite. I find it very moving to think that Chanel spent most of her days here creating a legacy. Unfortunately it is now closed for refurbishment and will be sorely missed. I attend the Dubai World Cup every year and whilst in the fabulous city, I reside at the One & Only Royal Mirage. The hotel named after a Prince travelling the Desert who had a mirage of a luxurious Palace. This dream was realised and is embodied in this establishment. This Hotel is a real Arabian delight with luscious surroundings and pristine accommodation. Nearby in Abu Dhabi I decided to stay at the Emirates Palace. I had read about this Hotel in the news and had to experience it for myself. The Palace cost £3.9 Billion to build and the Suites are decorated with Gold and Marble. It would not be an exaggeration to say that one felt like the Queen, residing here! In the Gallery below you will see the Four Seasons Hotel located in the Serengeti. This is a new establishment and next on my list to visit. The villas overlook the National Park with a view of African wildlife, it is almost like a picture of Heaven. Enjoy the gallery and please do comment and let me know some of your favourite Hotels and destinations.

Yours,

The Countess x

Equine Excellence

This gallery contains 17 photos.

This Weekend I attended the Dubai World Cup, an annual thoroughbred horse race held since 1966. I truly adore attending the races as it is a rare opportunity to indulge in two of my passions at the same time, Fashion … Continue reading