My heart always soars when I see AEDs (not dirhams, defibrillators) in public places. This has only happened in the last few years and it's a huge development. Years ago I wrote about losing my friend Rob Evans, who died out on Yas Island at the age of 37, for no real good reason. By all accounts those who were with him that terrible night say it happened quickly, but I always wonder whether if there was a defibrillator nearby... would it have made a difference. Either way, I think of Rob when I see these and thinking of him always makes my day, because he was a hilarious, gentle, kind and imaginative soul. You can read all about him here and here.

Costa Coffee catches up with almond and coconut milk

I haven't had a cafe latte in years, as milk makes me feel gross and like my pants are two sizes two tight. I'm obviously not alone, according to the boom in non-dairy, and that's why I was so excited to see that Costa coffee is now not only offering almond milk, but coconut milk too. (Coconut milk makes a better latte, in my opinion). These types of milks are on the regular back in North America.

Day 1: Whole 30 in the UAE

I’m not a fan of fad diets and I’ve pretty much figured out how I like to eat: clean, with minimal dairy and bread items. 
But I was home in Canada for three weeks over the holidays and ate my face off. Also, I’m intrigued by some of this diet’s claims, particularly that it can reduce pain. (For some reason, I have had an inordinate amount of it in the last year).
So I ordered a ridiculous amount of vegetables from a new delivery company, The Honest Counter, which I can highly recommend. I’m to avoid all dairy, grains, sugar, legumes and alcohol for the next 30 days, then slowly add them in to my diet after to see what’s bothering me. 
(I drew the line at making my own condiments. C’mon.)

The day got off to a bad start when, after resisting this banana bread at Costa, I accidentally made off with the wrong drink order. It took me way too long to realise that instead of drinking an almond milk latte, I had downed half of some sort of all-milk drink. (I haven’t had milk in years - it w…

China's Iconiq brings freaky new driverless cars to Abu Dhabi's Masdar City

The Chinese company Iconiq will test two driverless cars at Masdar City this year, including the Level 5 – developed in conjunction with Masdar – above, an announcement made at the World Future Energy Summit at the Abu Dhabi National Exhibition Centre. 
Iconiq's chief executive said the company plans to deliver the first L5 fleet for the Dubai World Expo in 2020 and begin mass-producing them at the end of 2023.

It's 2018 & now we are all paying VAT. Also, I was on the radio

Hey there. Happy New Year. I was real ready for it to be 2018, because 2017 was basically the best of times and worst of times for me – 2016 too, come to think of it – and I'll be writing a little bit more about some of those adventures in the coming weeks. I've got a bit more free time these days, and I'll be writing about that too. New beginnings, and all.

For now though, one of the new things I started doing at the end of 2017 is reporting for CBC Radio's programme The World This Weekend. I used to be an Ontario Morning correspondent for CBC back in the day, and later filed reports for Ottawa Morning and I have to say, it's a real thrill to be back on radio. As a foreign correspondent-type person. (I always dreamed of being a foreign correspondent, but I kind of took a different route in my career) Anyway, it's a medium I love and will be doing more of. So stay tuned for that too.

For now, you can still check out the report I did this weekend on the five pe…

Haifaa Al Mansour will screen a film in Saudi Arabia one day

I interviewed the Saudi director Haifaa Al Mansouri at the Dubai International Film Festival over the weekend, before news hit that Saudi would definitely have movie theaters starting next year. Still,  when I asked her how she would feel about the possibility of seeing a film in her home country after a lifetime of not being able to, she said the cutest thing:

“See a movie? I’ll have a film playing!”

Courage + 'when are you coming home'?

I love this Anais Nin quote. This quote always makes me think about my life in two parts: before my mom Christine died of cancer when I was 27 and she was 53, and after.

Not only did it lurch me into adulthood in the three short months she was ill - like so many women, I wasn’t so much an adult who made my own decisions as a person who leaned on my mother in every way - but it brought something else into sharp focus. What if I died? What if I only made it to 53?

What if my mom knew she was going to die then? What would she have done differently? I know one of the paths she didn’t take, using her nursing degree to become a flight attendant, was something she thought often about. I know she was great at living in the moment and getting immense enjoyment from silly things, and lifelong learning and growing, and challenging herself, and that she loved being a mom. What else, I won’t know. But life from that moment changed forever for me, and ordinary became impossible.