So I’ve been thinking about introducing a new category in this site where I get to feature UAE bloggers, photographers, and other personalities so we can learn more about them, what they do, and what makes them tick.
Our first UAE profile feature is with David Tapley, the blogger behind Out and About UAE, a blog that showcases food, hotels and places in the UAE. He writes extensive reviews of his experiences and comes up with amazing photos too (check out his Instagram).
David has been living in the UAE for 5 years and is currently working in digital marketing. He set up his blog initially as a hobby but it’s great to know that he’s been able to find writing and co-hosting gigs because of it.
Blogger Interview Feature: David of OutandAboutUAE.net
In our feature, David dishes out some of his favourite places in the UAE as well as top restaurants you should try. He also mentions people he looks up to in the UAE influencer media scene. Check out our interview below.
1. Tell us a little about yourself.
My name is David Tapley and I’m a thirty-something East Londoner living in Abu Dhabi. I’ve been in the UAE now for five years and came here originally for work. What started out as a two year plan has expanded into half a decade, with no current plans to return to the UK.
By day I work in digital marketing with a strong focus on social media and in my free time I blog about food and the hospitality industry.
2. Can you tell us more about your blog?
Out & About UAE began as little more than a hobby and a place to share my life in the UAE with friends and family. Over time the passion for food took over and the food reviews became the focus of the blog.
In three years the website has grown into something I never could have imagined and has opened so many doors for me including a freelance staff writer position with Fact Magazine and a television co-host gig on the show What’s Cooking UAE.
Yet it all comes back to the blog which ultimately derives from a passion to share the best places to eat with my followers.
3. What are your top places to visit/attractions in Dubai?
When people ask me what to see and do in Dubai I always have the same answers. The worlds tallest building the Burj Khalifa is a MUST! There’s nothing quite like seeing the city from a unique vantage point and paired with a visit to the magical Dubai fountains, it should be at the top of any Dubai itinerary.
A trip to the Bastakia quarter of old Dubai, the souks, and an abra ride across the creek are also recommended for those in search of a different and more traditional side to the city. The beaches should also not be missed – Kite Beach, La Mer and JBR all offer plenty for the whole family, as well as those sun kissed stretches of sand and warm waters.
4. What are the restaurants that you recommend in Dubai?
This is a hard question as there are just SO many options to choose from. I guess it all depends on the cuisine and price point you’re after. In terms of fine dining: Zuma, Coya, Le Cirque, and the new Morimoto at the Renaissance Downtown are unlikely to disappoint. While in the mid-range category Toro & Ko, Carnival by Tresind, Weslodge Saloon, Waka, Ramusake or Copper Dog are all good bets.
Don’t forget there’s also some excellent restaurants in the capital with Butcher & Still, Catch and Tamba all up there with some of the best restaurants in the UAE.
5. What’s a common misconception you had about Dubai or the UAE that’s been dispelled after you got here?
The excessive glitz and glamour. Sure these things exist, but the perception of the UAE by Western media revolves around luxury living, super cars and a life of excess. I guess this is the perception that many people have of Dubai and the Emirates. Yet there is so much more than this.
6. What has been your most successful blog post and what is it about?
The brunch ones are always very popular and seem to gain the most traction, though a recent post about the restaurant in the newly opened Louvre Museum is easily the most popular post to date. I guess it helps that Chef Roudy Petersen is doing some really impressive things to a captive audience where the food reflects the art on display under that magnificent dome of light.
7. Name some of the bloggers/personalities whom you look up to and why?
There are so many people I look up to on the UAE blogging scene. Some of whom I now know and am happy to call friends and some I am still yet to meet. When it comes to food I love the writing style of Zoe Bowker (@zoe.bowker) and Courtney Brandt (@atozaatar) and the photography of both Mark Monzon (@MarkMyWorld) and Homam Ayaso (@homamino).
For a bit of fashion inspiration I adore what both Ahmed El Sayed (@twistedcurlz) and Paul Ramos (@thestylechoreo) are doing. The curation of their Instagram feeds is enough to give anyone a serious dose of social media envy.
For everything travel it has got to be Delaine & Jackson D’Souza (@oftravelsandtales), for all things tech Emkwan (@emkwan) and as I currently embark on a bit of a fitness journey, I’m finding Eric Akoa (@eric.fitdubai) provides some great inspiration.
8. What tips can you share to aspiring bloggers in the UAE?
If you’re starting a blog to get free stuff I’d strongly advise against it! It takes years of hard work and if you’re not passionate it will show in your content. Blog about what gets you excited, whether that be food, fashion, fitness of travel. Try and create unique and compelling content while carving out a niche that will set you apart from others.
Stick to your ‘brand’ – don’t deviate or compromise. Focus on your blog and not what everyone else is doing, network like mad, and most of all have FUN!