Dubai's Design District: d3 | THE DESIGN SOUK | www.thedesignsouk.com

D3: DUBAI’S DESIGN DISTRICT

So I’ll be honest… I totally went to Dubai for a JLo concert and then later realized that it was Dubai Design Week. I know. Worst interiors blogger ever. But seriously? What an awesome coincidence!

Lake Como, Italy | THE DESIGN SOUK | www.thedesignsouk.com

LAKE COMO, ITALY​

This summer, hubs and I planned an amazing couple of days in Northern Italy on Lake Como. We loved our stay there so much that I decided to write a piece for the Arab News about it…

Hever Castle | THE DESIGN SOUK | www.thedesignsouk.com

THE CASTLES OF KENT: HEVER CASTLE

If you’re a fan of anything related to the Tudors, then you’ll be really excited to know that I visited Hever Castle, childhood home of Anne Boleyn (Henry VIII’s second wife and mother to Queen Elizabeth I). The castle is not as large as Leeds Castle (takes just about an hour or less to cover), but it still has a lot of charm and is very stylishly maintained thanks to William Waldorf Astor who spent a part of his fortune restoring and extending the property.

Leeds Castle | THE DESIGN SOUK | www.thedesignsouk.com

THE CASTLES OF KENT: LEEDS CASTLE

I don’t know if it’s my insane love for Game of Thrones, or just a bizarre obsession these days, but I decided that I needed to go visit some castles this summer. While London definitely has its fair share of historic sites, I was craving to see something outside of the city, so I chose to go to the beautiful county of Kent instead! I planned out two separate trips – one to Leeds Castle, and the other to Hever Castle.

Kew Gardens | THE DESIGN SOUK | www.thedesignsouk.com

KEW GARDENS, LONDON

If London is one of your vacation spots this summer, rather than spending all of your days shopping on Oxford Street, I would highly recommend a day trip to Kew Gardens. It is one of London’s largest UNESCO World Heritage sites, and holds a huge collection of plants that is considered to be the most diverse in the world! The garden itself covers about 300 acres, and contains trees and plants from the tropics, deserts, mountains and other environments that you can observe and admire in the glasshouses or nurseries.

Berners Tavern | THE DESIGN SOUK | www.thedesignsouk.com

MY TOP FIVE EATS: LONDON

I find that food pretty much makes or breaks my vacations. I could be in the most beautiful or in an extremely significant historic location, and would probably not want to go back because of my “hate” relationship with the food. I know. It’s horrible. London, however, never fails me. Not all of the restaurants are great, but when the food is good, it’s really good. And to top it all off, not only can I say great things about the food, but the décor is equally amazing or even better as well. Score.

Travel on a Budget: Free Museums to Visit in London

TRAVEL ON A BUDGET: FREE MUSEUMS TO VISIT IN LONDON

London has pretty much become one of my favorite cities in the world. There are always new and exciting activities popping up all over town especially during the summer. You can visit festivals, art exhibitions, botanical gardens, theater shows, museums, palaces, etc… the possibilities are endless! Even Londoners have to keep up with the newest and hottest events in the city. And don’t even get me started on the restaurants… the food is delicious and you can find all sorts of cuisines in the city.

Super Savari Express, Karachi | THE DESIGN SOUK | www.thedesignsouk.com

A TOUR OF KARACHI ON THE SUPER SAVARI EXPRESS

Karachiites! Have you ever wanted to explore Karachi and learn about its history? Not particularly interested in hearing your entire “khandan’s” (aka, family) version of that history either?

A Day Trip to Al-Ahsa (Hasa), Saudi Arabia | THE DESIGN SOUK | www.thedesignsouk.com

A DAY TRIP TO AL-AHSA, SAUDI ARABIA

In Saudi, I sometimes forget to be the explorer. It can be tough trying to get around, but I realize that it’s important to not miss out on the opportunities that are also available here. We won’t live in Saudi forever! I’m happy though that I have a few friends who are adventurous and like to take their buddies along for the ride.

Bali, Indonesia | THE DESIGN SOUK | www.thedesignsouk.com

Bali, Indonesia

I wasn’t really a beach person before, but Bali… definitely made me into one. I could actually sit on the beach all day and not feel like I needed to be somewhere else. I mean, I was also on vacation, but I’ve never understood or experienced this concept.

Visiting Spain | THE DESIGN SOUK | www.thedesignsouk.com

VISITING SOUTHERN SPAIN

So last year at around this time of the year (early September), hubs and I took a trip to the South of Spain. My husband’s amazing co-workers had pretty much mapped out exactly where they thought we should go, and I am forever grateful to them for that. I added a couple of things to our trip itinerary that I really wanted to see, but it was pretty perfect otherwise.

Portobello Road | THE DESIGN SOUK | www.thedesignsouk.com

EXPLORING THE NON-ANTIQUEY SIDE OF PORTOBELLO ROAD, LONDON

I started visiting London a lot a few years ago when my parents moved to the city. Actually, when they first moved, I really wasn’t the biggest fan. I mean I had been to London a couple of times as a kid, but as an adult it just seemed like an overwhelmingly big city with too many tourists, a super congested and complicated public transportation system, and it’s not like people are the friendliest either. Kinda intimidating.