Siraj, the authentically Emirati restaurant with a contemporary twist, is the latest addition to the list of dining places at Souk Al Bahar (Downtown Dubai). I’ve passed its premises on a number of occasions, and the stunning interiors make me take a second peek every time.

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The restaurant interiors pay tribute to the UAE, with seven distinct arches representing each Emirate. A flock of golden horses are suspended in mid-air, and the artistic vibes of Siraj is all at once Arabesque yet stylishly new-age. The most striking feature of the restaurant is the cursive calligraphy, flowing across the walls and the bar-stools. These are stanzas of poetry that were composed by the ruler of Dubai, HH Sheikh Mohammed himself.

I was invited to the reopening of the Lush store at Mercato Mall last night. I’ve always loved the brand’s eco-friendly stance. As a major Lushie, I return my 5 empty pots for recycling (and get rewarded with a free face mask! Read more about that here), but the renovations at Mercato Mall have gone to show just how environmentally serious Lush management is.

Lush mercato mall dubai opening eco friendly interiors sustainable wood  (12)

I had the pleasure of having a chat with Gary Wells, Lush’s Project Manager for the MENA (Middle East and North Africa) region.

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I look like a dwarf next to Gary!

With over a decade of experience with Lush in the UK, Gary has taken over the responsibility of opening 30 more stores across this region. He joined the MENA team in March this year, and gets into the nitty gritty of constructing the store interiors, keeping it up to Lush standards on a budget, and more importantly, sourcing material from environmentally sustainable and recyclable materials. His efforts have seen him being awarded the SKA accreditation for his contributions towards sustainable fittings for shops.