Words: Georgia Macmillan
Zainab Alsalih plans some of the Middle Easts most extravagant weddings as a day job (800-1000 guests being the norm), so how does the Managing Director of Carousel Events and mother of three boys get out of the door each day? The Dubai-based wedding planner shares her morning routine.
What is the very first thing you do when you wake up?
I check my phone. Its bad I know. I never switch my phone off, but I do put it on silent at night, and in my business, it is quite normal for me to have missed calls or messages from vendors and suppliers from other parts of the world, especially from the US, or from anxious brides who just want to chat at 3am!
Dawn or dusk?
Whenever I have gotten up at dawn (to go to site early on the morning of set-ups) I always tell myself how beautiful dawn is it is truly the most beautiful part of the day, especially here in Dubai. So I wish I was a dawn person, but alas, I am not, and when I have the luxury (weekends or holidays) I much prefer to sleep in, so I suppose I am a dusk person by default.
Can you talk us through your morning beauty regime?
I keep it very simple, as I have to be ready very quickly and out the door to drop my kids off to school. I use a gentle Kiehls cleanser followed by a Dr. Perricone serum to hydrate my skin, La Prairie eye balm and Bobbi Browns BB cream. I also like nude eye shadow, and mascara (always Lancomes Hypnose Doll Eyes) and blush are a must for my daytime look. I love lipstick as I am not a fan of lip-gloss, and I am a shades-of-pink kind of girl. My go-to shade to brighten up my day look is Bobbi Browns Cosmic Raspberry.
How do you keep organised?
Lists, lists and more lists (I even catch myself making lists of my lists). I have them everywhere. I also like to establish and maintain a daily routine, to help keep some structure to my day, especially when trying to juggle family and business obligations. Finally, theres my trusty assistant, Beth, who handles so much of the little details that could easily derail my day, or slip through the cracks and get overlooked.
Do you exercise in the morning?
I wish, but again, I am just not one of those ‘up at the break of dawn’ people. I prefer to exercise in the evening, plus I always find that its a great way for me to wind down my hectic day. I am also less stressed at night and I find it easier to switch off. In the morning, even if I had the time to exercise, I would have a million things on my mind and it would be very difficult for me to focus on working out and I would probably rush through it.
Do you plan your outfit the night before?
Only if I have a special event during the day, such as a speaking engagement, or if Im travelling, otherwise, I put my look together in the morning. It has a lot to do with how I feel that day, and while my mood can dictate my outfit, I also find that my outfit can impact my mood.
What do you eat for breakfast?
I have two distinctly different breakfast routines, the weekday one and the weekend/holiday one. On weekdays, its all about efficiency and sustenance. A soft boiled egg with a slice of multi cereal bread, a glass of grapefruit juice, and a dry cappuccino (double espresso with a bit of low fat milk). On weekends it is all about late and indulgent breakfasts with my husband and children. It could be anything from pancakes, to French toast, to loaded omelets, and sometimes a bit of all, and of course my beloved morning coffee.
Coffee, tea or a green smoothie?
I do love my morning cappuccino, and my evening cup of chamomile tea. However, lately, I have discovered a morning drink called ‘bullet-proof coffee.’ Its a double espresso, with hot water, butter (yes, butter!), and coconut oil, all blended together at super high speed. Its a great way to get energised in the morning, but the verdict is still out on whether I will stick with it or not (still cant get my head around drinking butter!).