Our next UAE profile feature is with Lindsey, the blogger behind Arabian Notes. Coming from the UK, Lindsey has been living in the UAE for more than a decade. She is based in Abu Dhabi and currently works as a travel and lifestyle writer – not far from her passion for blogging.
Aside from sharing experiences of food and travel, Lindsey writes extensively about expat life in Abu Dhabi. Through her years and experiences, she has plenty of helpful posts such as understanding the cost of living, how and where to make friends if you’re new, even about random everyday details like carwash prices or getting a dog. Such posts are quite valuable especially to newcomers who want to gain better insights about expat life here.
Blogger Interview Feature: Lindsey of ArabianNotes.com
Lindsey tells us about the origins of Arabian Notes, her favourite attractions in the UAE, as well as tips for aspiring bloggers. Read our interview below:
1. Tell us a little about yourself.
I’m originally from the UK and first arrived in the UAE back in 2006. I’ve always worked in media and I came from London to Dubai to start a new job in a publishing company and the rest is history!
I lived in Dubai for almost five years (and was married there during that time too) and then we left the country to try life in Australia, before coming back to Abu Dhabi just 18 months later. It’s safe to say we really love the UAE!
Outside of blogging I’m a travel and lifestyle writer. What can I say – I love to write, that’s the very reason I started my blog in the first place!
2. Can you tell us more about your blog?
I started blogging in the first year I moved to Abu Dhabi. I wasn’t working at the time and we’d recently discovered my Dad was terminally ill so I felt I had something to say and was also probably looking for an outlet. From writing my thoughts about my life in the UAE and being an expat, somewhere along the line Arabian Notes just grew quite organically into what it is now.
In terms of where the name came from, I just brain stormed really about names that would make sense for the subject I wanted to write about. It was almost ‘Lins of Arabia’ but then I came across another blog here in Abu Dhabi with a similar name. After a bit more thinking I recalled the Arabian collection of folktales, One Thousand and One Arabian Nights, and from there with a little play on words, Arabian Notes was born.
3. What are your top places to visit/attractions in UAE?
I think my favourite place above all is actually Al Ain. It’s grossly underrated and if you have an interest in history and what life really used to be like in the UAE you really cannot miss taking a visit to Al Ain. There are so many cultural sites and historical palaces to see, you can easily fill three days sightseeing there. My favourites are Qasr Al Muwaiji, Al Jahili Fort, Al Ain Palace Museum and of course the UNESCO sites (did you know Al Ain has more than one?!), most notably Al Ain Oases.
Outside of Al Ain you cannot miss Qasr Al Hosn in Abu Dhabi (currently closed for renovations but there’s an excellent museum that is still open on site), Saadiyat beach and of course The Louvre.
Over in Dubai I think most of the attractions are so well known now, but it’s lovely to focus on the souks, Al Fahidi Historical and creek area to see a bit of what the real Dubai is all about.
4. What are the restaurants that you recommend in UAE?
Despite more restaurants than you can shake a stick at in the UAE, there are actually very few that really make my hitlist. I think the food tends to be better in Dubai on the whole and of course there’s more choice, but living in Abu Dhabi that’s where my favourites are. Top of the list are Hakkasan, Zuma and Roberto’s.
5. What’s a common misconception you had about the UAE that’s been dispelled after you got here?
I don’t know that I had any? I had visited Dubai previously for business so I knew what I was getting into and that it wasn’t the sandy Arabian outpost of old that many people still expected.
6. What has been your most successful blog post and what is it about?
In terms of the number of times it has been shared, Reasons we love the UAE has been very successful. It’s pretty much what it says on the tin and I guess people like that and can relate to it, or want to show their friends and family why we love it here!
In terms of actual page views the most popular has been The Great Debate: Abu Dhabi vs Dubai. It’s my personal take on the two cities from having lived in both and I think that’s something a lot of people are looking for, to understand the differences between the two cities.
7. Name some of the bloggers/personalities whom you look up to and why?
Of course now you’ve asked me I can’t think of anyone specific! I’ve always admired Richard Branson for his business acumen and go for it attitude, I find him very inspirational. I also really enjoy Emily McAuliffe’s blog, The Portugal Wire, I think she’s done a great job with that and her articles make a great read.
8. What tips can you share to aspiring bloggers in the UAE?
Whatever it is you want to do, just start doing it. Be aware it’s not as easy as people think, there’s a lot of work involved in just one post – so you need to be committed to it! Start with something you love, or you’ll likely get bored pretty quickly. You’ve got to put your heart and soul into it.
There’s also a lot of technical aspects you’ll need to learn about, but don’t let that put you off, you can learn that bit by bit as you go along (and the advent of fiverr.com has made getting help much easier and cheaper too!) and before you know it you’ll be redesigning your site and SEOing like a pro!