- Al Fardan 5
- Any villa that is part of West Bay Lagoon
- Green Village
- Any of the Beverly Hills compounds (there are about 5)
- Y Village
- Al Bustan
- Al Dana
- Q-Bel Air
Before I moved to Qatar I obsessed about what to wear. Obsessed. Now that I’m here, I can see that there’s nothing to worry about. It’s all about staples and layers.
“You will scan the wardrobe, flicking through the shirts and pants, asking yourself what will keep you cool in the 48 degree heat. Let me save you some time. The answer is NOTHING.”
It’s true. And there’s a bit of freedom in this, because you can really wear any fabric in any colour you want and it won’t make one bit of difference to how hot you’ll be outside and how cold you’ll be inside.
I think we have established that I tend to dress quite conservatively. I try to cover my elbows and knees unless I’m out in a hotel. Not everyone does. It’s your choice (kinda). But here’s a peak into my closet at some things that I wear to death.
Maxi skirts are my uniform. Cool in summer, dressy yet casual, you really can’t go wrong. Often, if I go for a walk in the park or a SUP, and know I won’t be going home straight after, I’ll take a maxi skirt with me in the car. That way, if I need to go shopping/get a coffee/buy shawarma afterwards, I can just just slip the skirt on over my leggings and voila! I’m appropriately dressed.
Heading out in Doha, whether it be to dinner or just the mall, tends to be a dressy affair, so a blazer is a great way to smarten up any outfit. Plus they can cover all manner of revealing outfit sins. They’re also a great look if you’re going out straight from the office.
Singlets and camisoles are essential because:
1. I find that the key to dressing in Qatar is layers.
2. They can quickly turn an inappropriate outfit into an appropriate one.
Allow me to demonstrate: Neckline a bit low? Put a singlet on. Worried about that sheer shirt? Put a singlet on. Going to the movies and worried you’ll freeze? Put a singlet on. It’s the fashion world’s Phillip Seymour Hoffman. So versatile.
I like to say that I never leave home without a scarf. But it’s true – I really do have one with me at all times. I even keep one permanently in my desk draw at work. I have both summer and winter scarves, as it gets a bit cold in winter and in the ofice. And you know what? I am so damn good at wrapping that scarf around me so that no matter what I’m wearing underneath, I always look covered.
If you want some scarf-wearing tips check out this YouTube video. It’s gold. And oddly captivating.
What do you wear to death in Qatar?
Slider image from here.
Since giving up gluten nearly 2 years ago I have had an inextricable desire to bake. It’s really very poor timing. If I was in Sydney it would be fine – just go to an overpriced healthfood store and you’re sorted. Here in Doha, not so much. We have to hunt a little harder for our gluten-free flour*.
The options I have discovered so far are:
Megamart – The Centre
You can go to Megamart and pick up a huge array of gluten-free flours for a hefty sum. But if you know me you’ll know that anything involving extoritionate prices is not my bag. They don’t call it Megabucks for nothing and that nickname alone is enough to keep me away. But if you don’t care about the money then seriously go – it’s like the Wonka’s of gluten-free in there! They also stock gluten free flower at Megamart Express near Sports Roundabout.
Family Food Center – Al Rayyan
Family Food Center is my gluten-free flour provider of choice. Here you can pick up a 680 g bag of Bob’s Red Mill Brown Rice Flour for QR25 (AUS$7) which is kind of expensive but I think its a bloody bargain compared to what you could be paying elsewhere. You can also get tapioca flour, arrowroot, millet flour, corn flour and white rice flour. Sometimes they have other goodies in there, you just have to be lucky. You can find this stuff in the aisle with the spices, near the fruit and veg. They also have coconut oil, in case you’re interested.
A lot of the gluten-free goodies come in random bags with no brand, so it’s worth a dig.
GNC Live Well – City Center Mall
GNC is essentially a vitamin store but they’ve just started stocking food as well. It’s a bit pricier than Family Food Center but I think in time they will have a really good range. As far as I can see, only the City Center branch sells gluten-free flour. They also sell things like Stevia so it’s worth the hassle of the abysmal parking options that City Center has to offer.
Your local shop
The shop in your compound could be a veritable treasure trove of gluten-free flour! My local ‘Walmart’ (ha!) has chickpea flour, white rice flour and raggi seed flour. However, it pains me to add that you’d best give the bag a really good look-over before you purchase. There may be a few bugs or nasties in there if it’s been sitting around for a while.
I’m yet to see any gluten-free flour in Carrefour, but they do have ‘almond powder’ at the nuts and spices counter which I use as almond flour (it’s not, it’s way too coarse to be flour). It’s the same price as almonds, about QR 60/kg, and is great for making muffins, pancakes and bread. I also get coconut powder from here which is essentially just dessicated coconut but is also great for muffins and cakes.
Oh I should mention that often flour is called powder. It’s the same (except in the case of almond and coconut powder. Confusing much?)
What do I do with it?
I make a blend and use it in the place of regular wheat flour. My combo is:
1 cup brown rice flour
1 cup tapioca flour
½ cup millet flour
If I want to make self raising flour, I add 2 teaspoons of baking powder.
To make muffins, I use 1 cup flour blend, 1 cup almond powder, 1 cup coconut powder. Perfecto.
*I’m talking about flour here, not packets of cake mix etc. I don’t use them as I prefer to cook from scratch, although they’re also available around the place.
Where do you find your gluten-free gold?
I did a little Q & A with InterNations recently about expat life in Doha. You can check it out here.
InterNations is an online expat community. To join, you have to be invited by someone who is already a member. Once you’re approved there are different membership levels to choose from (i.e. free or paid). Each country has their own group and dashboard.
There is an InterNations group in Qatar that meets regularly. For a small charge you can attend a networking event and meet like-minded expats. I’ve never been (mostly because I’m a bit tight) but friends have. It looks like a fun night out (FYI I believe they serve alcohol). They also have a forum on their website where you can ask questions etc.
If you’re thinking of joining, might I offer just a little tip: if you are a woman, make sure you include a male in your profile photo. Unless you enjoy unsolicited dinner invitations from men you’ve never met, that is.
Here’s the link to the interview once again.