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Dubai Expat Interview – Jessica Aldred

This week’s Into-yous features British expat Jessica Aldred

Tell us a little about yourself:
After graduating from the Royal School of Needlework (RSN) I went onto work in costume at the Royal Opera House before returning to the RSN where I ran courses in the UK and USA. I was also a member of the team who produced the embroidery for the wedding dress of Catherine Middleton, Duchess of Cambridge. I’ve always maintained a freelancecareer, taking on commissions, lecturing and teaching embroidery. My first book- Adventures in Needlework– was released in 2011.

When did you move to Dubai and what brought you here?
I moved to Dubai in April 2012- I’m a newbie! After having worked hard for years juggling a full time job and freelance commitments I decided to take a breather to develop a new body of work which combines my two loves- embroidery and fashion. I’m also looking to set up embroidery classes in Dubai and hope to secure some commissioned work too.

Have you been an expat elsewhere and if so, where?
No but I’d like to live in other countries in the future.

The best advice you were given to prepare you for life in Dubai:
That the homesickness gets better, I don’t think I’d have stuck it out if I hadn’t known that.

What surprised you most about Dubai?
How friendly people are. I’d heard and read things about people here not being very nice but from my experience it’s been the complete opposite. I’ve been lucky to make friends quickly and everyone has been so warm, welcoming and supportive.

What area do you live in?
Dubai Marina– and I love it.

If money were no object, where would you most like to live in Dubai?
Somewhere I could have lots of animals but not too far out- possibly Arabian Ranches.

Your favourite Arabic word or phrase you have learned so far:
Muumtaaz! (pronounced moom-tahz, meaning excellent!).

Your least favourite word or phrase you have adopted since moving to Dubai:
‘How much is that in pounds?’- I just can’t get my head around using a different currency every day.

What has been your best experience in Dubai to date?
Friday brunch at Mina A’Salam– I’d only been here a short time, it was cool enough to sit outside, the setting was stunning and I was surrounded by wonderful people.

Where do you hope to spend your next holiday?
I’ll be spending Christmas in the UK and new year in New York with my family- I can’t wait!

Who is the person you most miss when you are in Dubai?
It’s a toss up between my Mum, Dad and sister. My Mum has all the cuddles, my Dad has all the answers and my sister understands me like no one else. Being so far away from them has and remains to be very hard.

What is your favourite restaurant in Dubai?
West 14th at Oceana on the Palm.

What grocery item do you most miss from your home country?
Monster Munch, although that’s probably a good thing for my waist line!

When friends and family visit you in Dubai where will you absolutely take them?
The Dubai fountains- I don’t think I’ll ever get bored of them!


The team at Expat Echo Dubai would like to feature you in our Into-yous section

Please complete our 5 minute interview and submit your answers along with a profile picture (in JPEG format).

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