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Saresa Anthonissen’s Fabulous Friday

The creative director at Dubai Garden Centre takes 4am walks with Simba - not the lion, just her dog

Image Credit: Supplied


Friday for me is spent with family and friends, I don’t get much time to socialise during the week, so I love inviting friends over for a big Mediterranean meal on a Friday afternoon. I enjoy cooking, so I don’t spending the entire day preparing the meal. There’ll be huge Yotam Ottolenghi-style platters of roasted vegetables, salad and fish or meat, all informally laid out on my big wooden dining table.


I used to work in banking but I was always creatively inclined and had a penchant for unique and quirky things. Back then, I would channel my love for interior design into the way I did up my home – I continuously styled it with different plants and furniture. The shift from banking to landscaping happened by chance when my son Lukas went off to nursery school and I mentioned to a friend that I was ready to start working again. Next thing, I had a five-minute interview at Desert Group and I’ve never looked back.


As a family, we recycle all out waste from home. I buy organic products when and wherever I can and try to waste less. I seem to be forever decluttering nowadays. We also make sure we segregate all our waste into separate bins for plastic, paper and glass. Also, we never throw our old clothes, they are always donated to clothes banks.


I am usually awake at 4 in the morning. This is my quiet time that I use to walk our dog Simba, a miniature schnauzer, and then spend time cooking and reading before the rest of the house wakes up.


Casablanca lilies are my favourite flowers but unfortunately, they’re also the flowers I’m allergic to.


I love Thai food and we’re always eating out at Smiling BKK in Al Wasl Square, which is on our doorstep. Some of my other favourite places to eat at are Alto Mar in Jumeirah Fishing Village for fresh seafood, Mint Leaf of London in DIFC for Indian food and La Petite Maison in DIFC for a special occasion.


The last thing I splurged on was a red Victoria Beckham tote from Net a Porter – I had my eye on it for months!


Dubai doesn’t have much of a spring season but I get my fill of nature and peace by spending time at the Wahat Al Sahraa nurseries in Khawaneej– it is a green haven, only a short drive from the hustle of the city. I just love the omnipresent feeling of tranquillity once you enter the gates. The time I spend outdoors amongst plants is when I think creatively and working with plants has also taught me about the importance of patience. I am still very impatient and get bored easily, mind you.


The one person I know who has the exact opposite of a green thumb and fails miserably at gardening is my husband.


I love travelling. In fact, spending time with my family as a child on holiday in Elandsbaai – a small west coast town in South Africa – is my earliest memory of happiness. A trip to Angkor Wat and seeing the northern lights are the ultimate travel goals.


Compared to the relaxed life back home in Cape Town, I always feel rushed in Dubai, somehow life here always seems to be a lot more hectic! I love going for facials and massages they’re a perfect de-stressing solution. I’ll usually head to the Cleopatra Spa at Wafi Mall or the Talise Spa at Madinat Jumeirah but this weekend I’ll be in the cinema, taking my daughter Ella to watch Guardians of the Galaxy 2. I promised her I would.


‘It’s not what you say to everyone else that determines your life; it’s what you whisper to yourself that has the greatest power,’ is a quote that has stayed with me for the longest time. I can’t remember where I read it but it reflects how important being true to myself in everything I do is. At the end of the day, I am solely responsible for all my deeds and actions.


If I could travel back in time to bring something to the future it would be the old Cape touch furniture from my grandmother’s house in Redelinghuys. You rarely get to see that kind of furniture anymore.