1) Can you tell our readers about yourself & your blog?
I’m Arwa – a quintessential Mumbai girl who moved to Dubai post-marriage to Husain, a Dubai boy who has been born and brought up in this city. I love to try different things, particularly beauty and fashion related. Husain on the other hand loves to explore food and interesting places. Slice of Dubai is our dairy as 2 individuals exploring our passions and sharing experiences in this ‘City of Gold’.
2) How & why did you start blogging?
I used to work as a blog writer for a muslim fashion brand since my move to Dubai in 2014. The more I researched, the more I grew inspired by the beauty and fashion bloggers the world over and wanted to tell my story. One fine morning to experiment, I started a blog called Dubai Brunette (considering I’m a brown haired girl from Dubai) – which eventually got renamed to Slice of Dubai.
Husain and I were always exploring new places and things to do in Dubai, and so the named seemed apt.
3) What are some of your strengths that really helped you in your blogging?
I believe I have always been good at writing (or at least my loved ones tell me so). From writing school plays to being known as the poet of the school – I’ve always loved and enjoyed the written word. This is also why all the blogposts (except guest posts) are written by me. Let’s just say I monopolize the writing department.
4) What do you find the most frustrating aspect of blogging?
The lack of monetization opportunities. Sure blogging earns us free stuff (sometimes unwanted) and enables us to attend fancy events looking pretty – very few companies are willing to pay for a blog feature/social media mention.
The UAE, like UK and USA, needs a robust platform that connects brands with bloggers. For now, the industry works majorly on contacts with PR companies and sometimes individual brands.
5) Who’s your number 1 inspiration?
I wouldn’t call it inspiration, but my family, especially my husband Husain is the driving force behind Slice of Dubai. He is constantly pushing me to do good work, acts as an in-house critic and assists me in identifying new opportunities.
When my loved ones at the end of the day say that they are proud of me, I feel content and motivated to continue doing what I love.
6) What’s your to-go outfit?
I wouldn’t say I have a go-to outfit as such, since I don’t like repeating the same look over. I’d much rather say that I have a few go-to statement necklaces that I use to mix and match. Gold and silver necklaces go with just about anything and I also have some orange, fuchsia and turquoise ones for color-blocking. Its amazing how using different statement necklaces on the same dress can make it look like a completely different outfit.
I also have a decent stash of scarves for the same reason.
7) Where do you mostly shop from?
I’d describe my fashion sense as eccentric – which means that I’m constantly looking out for ‘different’, quirky pieces wherever I go. From the streets of Mumbai, to Zara showrooms – my wardrobe represents an eclectic testimony of my shopping escapades.
I have never walked out of Forever 21 without making a purchase – its a record that remains unbroken till date. I love their accessories! I also enjoy my visits Funky Fish for their quirky jewelry and hair accessories.
I have recently been in love with F&F Clothing and Husain loves the fit of the denims there. I keep going back to Zara for their off-beat tailored tops and good quality.
8) Have you met anyone interesting on your blogging journey?
For this question, I’d like to mention Natasha Hatherall, owner of a leading PR agency in this region – TishTash. I have not met a more graceful, genuine and humble lady than her. Any email addressed to her is replied to within the hour on average and her emails are always personal as though talking to a friend. There’s a lot we all can and should learn from her.
9) Who was your first style icon?
I remember watching Breakfast at Tiffany’s and being mersmerized by Audrey Hepburn’s beauty. She could make a designer dress and loose night clothes look equally elegant. She’s a timeless style icon!
10) What is the biggest challenge that you face as a blogger?
Monetization, as I mentioned, is one of the biggest challenges. As much as we enjoy blogging – it does not pay our bills, yet. Juggling between our full time jobs along with attending events and tastings, trying products, photographing them and writing about them seems like a lot on our plate sometimes. Thankfully, we are completely passionate about blogging, so it does not seem like a chore.
11) And what are the best bits about blogging?
The opportunity to try new products and experiences before everybody else! From being a complete newbie in Dubai when I first moved here on 2014, to being somebody people consult for the best places to visit and deals to watch out for – I feel like I have come a long way.
I have always been the sort who would never buy the same shampoo or perfume twice, because there was so much more left to try (much to Husain’s dismay). I think blogging is a good pretext towards channelizing this hobby.
12) Who takes most of your photos?
I photograph and edit all photos of products, food and places myself. For photos of me – they’re clicked by fellow bloggers at events or by a photographer colleague of mine at work – George Bouery.