What we’re loving: Objects of desire

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Our round-up of tried and tested favourites, from vegan detox soups to customised shoe boxes and a steamer.

A shoe lover’s dream

A video showing a life-sized Christian Louboutin-inspired shoebox went viral a few weeks ago on Instagram – and if you’ve been scouring social-media sites for details on how to get your own, you’re in luck, because Dubai-based company Shoeboxco, founded by brothers Ali, Omar and Waleed Nuwareh, is manufacturing similar designs. Whether you’re looking for a stylish place to house your red-soled stilettos, or a convenient sneaker haven for your gym shoes, Shoeboxco has got your covered with their range of wooden shoe-box trunks, with inner storage space as well as a pull-out drawer. The boxes are all produced from recycled wood and customers can choose any shoe brand – Nike, Adidas, Chanel, Jimmy Choo, Hermes and Versace are just a few that the company has replicated so far for clients. The jumbo boxes appear in the exact design of a brand’s actual in-store shoebox. At more than Dh1,000 each, the boxes don’t come cheap, but think of it as a home décor investment and not just a frivolous footwear splurge. Boxes can also be customised with a client’s name or shoe size.

The large size fits about 24 pairs of shoes and costs Dh1,500, while the small size, fitting about 16 pairs, costs Dh1,200. There is an extra Dh200 fee for special customisation requests. For orders and inquiries contact shoeboxco@gmail.com, or Whatsapp +971 55 700 7101.

* Hafsa Lodhi

Nut Mylk

Things have moved pretty quickly for Australian Anna Konko, who launched her business Nuts for Mylk over the summer and is now producing about 400 bottles per day for businesses in Dubai and Abu Dhabi. “I was tinkering with making nut milk at home,” she says, “and then I saw it was becoming a trend to be able to buy fresh nut milk to have with your product because it was a better quality.”

With a husband and two children who are lactose intolerant – and a suspicion she might be as well – the 33-year-old former human resources recruiter had found the boxed options on supermarket shelves lacking. They have just four to seven per cent almonds and other undesirables including sweeteners, preservatives, emulsifiers and colourants, compared to her product, which boasts just four ingredients: 16 per cent raw almonds, Himalayan sea salt, dates and water.

Tom Arnel and Sergio Lopez, the foodie and coffee-loving brains behind Dubai eateries Tom & Serge, The Sum of Us and most recently Common Grounds, were the first to stock Nuts for Mylk. Tasha’s Cafe in Galleria Mall on Al Wasl Road followed and just this month, Jones the Grocer signed on, bringing her almond milk to Abu Dhabi. Although there are environmental concerns with sourcing her almonds from drought-ridden California, Konko is on the search for a different supplier.

Konko now has five staff working out of her small production facility in Jumeirah, with aspirations to move into flavours, bottle chai and possibly partnering with local roasters for a bottled cold-pressed coffee with Nuts for Mylk.

• Nuts for Mylk is Dh30 for a one-litre bottle or it can be ordered instead of milk at participating restaurants; without preservatives it should be consumed within a day or two.

* Ann Marie McQueen

Cold-pressed juice

The capital has most definitely lagged behind Dubai when it comes to the cold-pressed juice trend, but no longer: with at least three options now available in Abu Dhabi, you can grab your one kilogram of vegetables and drink them, too. The first entry, The Raw Place, now has two locations: an Al Muneera Beach Plaza branch followed the one at World Trade Center. Juices are available on a one-off basis, in two sizes starting at 236ml, and also for cleanses. On a visit to Nola Cafe in Al Bandar recently, the staff encouraged us to try two of their varieties: Green Glow, which is a mix of coconut water, spinach, kale, apple, ginger, cucumber and pineapple, and Caliente, which mixes spring water, ginger, lemon, sea salt, Agave and cayenne pepper. And now Jones the Grocer is in on the action, with a variety of 330ml offerings. Cold-pressed juice is extracted from vegetables using a hydraulic press, which claims that the process allows it to taste fresher, keep longer and include even more vegetables. Juice can be high in sugar and upset the stomach, so it’s best to stick to the smaller sizes when starting out.

• Prices for cold-pressed juiced start at Dh24. Different varieties are available at The Raw Place, Nolu Cafe and Jones the Grocer

*Ann Marie McQueen

A new steamer

The silver mitt is the genius part, a stylist tells me. I had an introduction to a new way of ironing recently, with a trial of The Philips ClearTouch Essence Garment Steamer. Not only was it a lot more fun getting the wrinkles out of my favourite silk dress, it took just seconds and I didn’t have to worry about ruining it with an overly hot iron. The steamer is very girly, with a purple base and cord, and “MyEssence” fragrance caps that let you add a pretty smell to the process, something I wouldn’t bother with. There’s also a “hold and lock” feature that keeps the provided hanger firmly in place. The reservoir is pretty small, considering, and the on-off switch cannot be turned off with a toe, necessitating bending over. The silver mitt, however, takes it to another level: with such a hot instrument, burns can be an issue. Steamers won’t give shirts and trousers the crisp look of ironing, so they won’t entirely replace it. They also take up a lot more space, so be sure you will really use it and proper storage before investing. But they are great for delicates such as cashmere or silk and convenient for freshening up other items.

• The Philips ClearTouch Essence Garment Steamer is available in shops in the UAE

* Ann Marie McQueen

Fetchr

There’s not much that can put me in a foul mood like answering my phone only to hear: “Hello, I have a delivery, what is your location?” Whatever the delivery, most of the time I have already provided by location. But it often takes a couple more calls, and occasional raised voices, before anything arrives where it should be. But then I ordered a T-shirt from Sivvi.com and had my first experience with Fetchr. The Dubai app-based delivery service is based on a concept so obvious I’m surprised no one employed it before, using phone GPS coordinates so retailers and e-commerce firms can track down customers. All I had to do to get my package was respond to a text message (I didn’t even need to download Fetchr from the App store, although I since have). The T-shirt arrived the next day with a minimum of drama. The driver phoned once, to double-check that he was headed in the right direction. I’m sold.

• Fetchr ships between Abu Dhabi and Dubai, with pickup, starting from Dh30 for a 3-kilogram package. Download from the App story or for more information, go to Fetchr.us

* Ann Marie McQueen

Detox Delight Soupbox

Eating nutrient-rich soup filled with vegetables and beans is one of my favourite healthy habits. However, it’s hard to incorporate any variety into my life. I don’t eat canned, instant or frozen varieties, don’t trust what’s in restaurant versions and get sick of whatever I make at home after about three servings. Since there’s only so much room in my freezer, I was thrilled to see that Detox Delight has launched a collection of vegan, homemade soups that can be ordered in a six-pack. There are more than 30 varieties on offer, filled with vitamins, minerals and other, metabolism-boosting ingredients including ginger, chilli and horseradish. The flavours in the courgette and lemon soup were finely balanced and the lemon did not overwhelm the more delicate courgette and celery, while the cauliflower curry was very gently spiced, and filling. The mango carrot had a tiny dose of tang from the fruit and a peppery after taste. The mild combination worked and is about as far from pureed carrots as you can get. The only drawback is that the company advises the soups, which arrive on ice, should only be “gently” warmed and kept away from the microwave. Not having any other option in the office, we microwaved them anyway, for a very short time, and found they didn’t suffer.

• The Detox Delight Soupbox contains six 325ml pureed soups, Dh370. Call 04 338 3565 or go to www.detox-delight.ae

* Ann Marie McQueen