We’re not in Kansas anymore

This week, like many others, the need for retail therapy was calling me. For the last three weeks I have been laid up with a slipped disc, so when the earliest opportunity came, where I could walk again, albeit like a 80-year-old, I jumped for joy (not physically; the back wouldn’t allow it, but in my head it was a leap of elation) at the prospect of a girls trip to the mall. There isn’t a lot to do in Kuwait, but shopping is one of them and boy do they know how to do it.

Our day started early and we headed to The Avenues, 800+ stores all set in multiple themed areas to appease every shoppers need. The escalator took us down onto the palm tree lined boulevard, a perfectly brick paved road. Parisian street lamps buffer the beautiful store fronts, as they reach up to the glass roof flooding light onto to the glistening gold temple that is Harvey Nichs. Just like Dorothy catching a glimpse of the Emerald City, I felt my heart skip a beat the possibilities that lay ahead.

Toto, I’ve a feeling we’re not in Kansas anymore

Before I got too carried away, we remembered the main reason we had taken the trip was to get some Easter treats for my friend’s son, so we headed away from Emerald City and got back on track towards Dean and Deluca. This is a Manhattan institution and one of my favorite places to eat, the gourmet food hall, deli and restaurant is a foodies’ dream. The vast counters of handmade patisserie, breads, baklava and the artisan food are staring back at me and quite frankly I had no idea where to start, but continued to walk around in a daze of sweet aromas. The beautiful macarons lined up enticingly, with colours and flavors so vibrant and decadent people surround the glass counter ooo-ing at the gem pillows of perfection. I was distracted and hungry so we made the most of the surroundings and had a quick bite, whilst we discussed which chocolate egg had caught our eye the most. The food was delicious as always, both of us partaking in this months special Arabic menu, when in Rome and all that, and after another long walk round the counters and a carefully selected egg, we left satisfied and refueled.

After a few specific destinations, to tick off the list of “must do” items, we strolled around looking for coffee cups. From my previous posts you will know that this was a very important item for me to get right, and as I had broken the last of our much-loved Prague designer cups, I was on the look out for the perfect, stylish vessel to hold my mornings nectar. I may add at this point, this was not easy as I am extremely fussy and know exactly what I wanted. So we meandered slowly (you will recall my back was not allowing me to walk with any real purpose) around the home decor stores anticipating finding the one. Finally we reached William Sonoma, the store was filled with its signature scent of cinnamon and vanilla, ahhh a kitchen emporium or to me heaven. I stopped for a moment to stroke (yes I actually did my friend can confirm) the baby pink Kitchen Aid mixer. One day when I have an oven that actually allows me to bake without turning everything to a cinder, that pink bundle of joy will be mine. Until then I got my mind back on the coffee cups, which I can confirm were successfully purchased.

So with the pressure of the perfect cup off the agenda, we exited the store and found ourselves at the crossroads of the Grand Avenue and The Prestige Ballroom. To my horror my companion declared she had never been in and at that instant I grabbed her by the hand and we walked into Oz.  This is the home of luxury brands, housed under a crystal dome, that sparkles as its coloured lights change, glowing over the facades of designer stores.

We decided to do some”window shopping” as this is stuff dreams are made of. Every brand you could wish for showing off the latest spring lines, let’s face it the closest I would get would be perusing this months Vogue. The Dolce & Gabbana windows were splashed with colour, showing off the key pieces from their SS16 Carretto Siciliano collection. Vivid blues, red and yellow patterns exploding off the fabrics and exporting you straight to the Italian coast, the brocade and pom-pom edged mini dress perfect for the next MTV award red carpet. We watched holding our breath as the shop assistant painstakingly rearranged the train of a rose printed fish tail dress, which oozed sex appeal and was a thing of beauty. And breath……Our eyes flitted from store to store, Louis Vuitton, Bvlgari, Chloe, Louboutin, Prada, Dior, I felt like we had entered the forest of no return…

Stanford: Ooh! Gucci and Dolce and Dior!

Carrie: Oh my!

Sex and the City

I lingered far too long at the Louboutin shop window, that the shop assistant started to look at me funny, so we thought it best to end our time in this parallel universe. We managed to escape the luxury and opulence, thinking that would be one of my lasting memories of the Middle East. The sheer wealth, excess, 5* everything you could every want or dream of, right there at your finger tips. Nestled away from the main stream shops, this pocket of glamour, with valet parking, gift wrapping room, stores larger than their Milan flagships, stocking every item to fit perfectly into a lifestyle that many can only dream of. I left them to sipping tea in Ladurée  I headed to Starbucks.

Money can’t buy you happiness, but it can buy you a mani pedi and that’s close enough, so I finished the day with a much deserved and needed manicure at my habitual nail salon (told you this mall had everything) . Precy my technician of choice, a small Filipino lady who has a cheeky smile and is always so happy to me, ushers to me the large chair to relax and unwind from a “hectic” day. As I sit there, listening to a very out of tune, Filipino to broken English version of Islands in the stream, I ponder about my day. Yes I was shopping and yes I could have been anywhere in the world, but nowhere else in the world would have done it quite as good. When they do things here, they do it big, they do it all out with no half measures. The service is off the scale, the selection of stores, the level to  which all this has been put under one roof is outstanding. They are already in the middle of building a further expansion to the mall and you think how much more do they really need, what else can they do different? I know one thing, I will be there when it opens and like everyone else will skip down the Yellow brick road to see what is beyond the current retail rainbow.

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