Gorgeous Godiva

A really good friend of mine out here is an Egyptian who grew up in Yorkshire, she’s great fun and able to order in Arabic and then tell a sarcastic joke only a Brit would get. It’s been great to meet her as we share a similar sense of humour and now my evening commute has been greatly enhanced as we basically laugh our whole way home on the metro!

Yesterday we agreed to do something after work and I spent all day looking forward to it, especially when she mentioned she had a plan that I would love!  Imagine my joy when she marched me to the Godiva cafe…it’s literally my heaven.  I am a Belgian chocolate loving fiend and I have walked past and wanted to go so many times but it’s always been the wrong time. I was totally thrilled to have the opportunity to go!

In we walked and S said that the best thing to eat was the ice cream and boy was she right!  I had the mixed white and dark chocolate swirled together in a cup.  I am too messy for a cone to be honest and was wearing white which just seemed like asking for trouble!  This has to be the BEST ice-cream I have EVER eaten..seriously it was so delicious that I ate it too quickly to even take pictures…

If you can find a Godiva cafe near you I urge you to go and treat yourselves, it’s well worth every last calorie!  I am headed there for the praline croissant some time soon…

godiva

The middle one is what I had…but I may have to go back to try the others!

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The Gulf Wife – Jocelyn Henderson

gulfwife

Last valentine’s day Bond bought me ‘The Gulf Wife’ by Jocelyn Henderson.  I was thrilled because I love books, and had really wanted this one but hadn’t been able to find a copy.  It took him a couple of trips to strike lucky which made it mean even more to me.  It’s taken me a while to read because it is a beautiful hardback.  As I mostly read at the beach, by the pool or in the bath there hasn’t been a lot of time to read a book that I don’t want to be ruined.  However after a few nights going to bed early and spending time reading it i have now finished it!

This really is a lovely book and extremely well written, Jocelyn wrote the book with Leila Warren who writes a terrific introduction.  Reading her story you get an insight into life in Britain during WW2 and you see the growth of the GCC and UAE.  Jocelyn Henderson and her husband lived quite a life.  They were posted to Jerusalem, Bahrain and Qatar before the move to Abu Dhabi.  I knew shamefully little about these nations before reading this and found it really interesting to learn more, not just about the history but what life was like there.  Reading this gives you a vivid picture of life in all these different countries and also shows how times have changed in each.

The main part of the book focusses on their life in Abu Dhabi.  Jocelyn still lives in Abu Dhabi and is something of an institution.  When her husband passed away she was granted permission to stay in Abu Dhabi, this is most unusual for the region. On the release of her book  an afternoon tea was held at the British embassy, such is her sway in the region.

It is incredible to read about old Abu Dhabi, having recently visited the new Yas Mall which is gorgeous and very modern (there is even an IKEA next door) it is hard to imagine the city without paved roads!

I also found it fascinating to learn about how times have changed in the diplomatic corps.  Having spent a lot of time in that world it’s interesting to see that some things have changed, while others stay resolutely the same. For instance Jocelyn said in an interview about being ‘representative’, “What they were really asking was, ‘is it OK to let her loose in public?’ Does she use her knife and fork properly? Does she know how to behave?’ And if the answer was negative, this spelt the death knell for her husband’s career.” This is still the case for diplomatic couples in my opinion!

As well as her life post marrying Edward, Jocelyn had a fascinating early life in the UK. She worked as the secretary to Sarah Churchill, the third child of Winston Churchill and also worked in the film industry!  So this isn’t just a book about a ‘wife’ as such, more the story of a formidable woman.

To be honest from start to finish this in an enchanting book about a fascinating woman who lived life to the fullest.  She has experienced a country growing and makes the story of that growth engaging.

If you can find a copy I urge you to buy it and read this!

YAY post…and other things!

NoteletYesterday I received a letter from my best friend, it made my day!  She is planning to move to Dubai and had written to thank us for entertaining her during her visit.  Really it was a total pleasure and I am beyond excited to have her out here. Bond (new nickname for P I am trying out, he looks slight Daniel Craigish…) is a tad less thrilled about becoming the thirdwheel!  However he does freely admit that he knows I will be even happier with her out here and that makes him happy.  He is a lovely person really…especially as we make jokes at his expense rather a lot!  Anyway it was fun to get post, especially post full of good news – she has applied for several jobs and things look promising for her move.  Fingers crossed!

Getting post wrapped up a really lovely weekend.  On Thursday we just had a nice evening relaxing and catching up about our week.  We watched a movie that was so forgettable I have in actual fact completely forgotten what it was!!  On Friday we went to Omnia for brunch, which was lovely and earned itself a separate blog post.  Then we explored City Walk, this is a new outdoor shopping district in Dubai.  There has been a move to more pedestrianised areas and outdoor activities.  This mall has lovely restaurants and few quirky shops that I really enjoyed.  I even bought a skirt from a new brand ‘JNBY’ from Japan that I hadn’t preveiously heard of.  After Bond had endured all the shops (there is very little for guys unfortunately) we headed to Dubai Mall, for shoes for said Bond to wear to work as his current ones are falling apart.

First off we hit ‘Level Shoes’ which is a gorgeous shoe department store that has a great range of brands and prices.  Sadly for Bond he failed in his mission as he turned out to have rather expensive taste and couldn’t really justify spending mad money on work shoes.  Evidently he has an eye for the bespoke pairs…Fortunately he found two perfect pairs for a decent price at Topman..  They are very smart and will hopefully be comfortable for him!  Being a runner his feet are pretty knocked about to be honest so comfort needs to be a priority.

After shoes had been purchased we went to H and M for running shorts for me, I loathe the really tight ones or the short ones so had struck out at the big brands.  However H and M sorted me out and for a fraction of the price so I am a very happy bunny!  We then had a quick bite at Markette (a cute market style cafe) where we sat next to some Emirati’s who were obviously having a great time, they were laughing so much it was infectious and Bond and I had a great time just enjoying the atmosphere they were creating.  Having been fed and watered we decided it was time to begin the long trek to the car park…Dubai Mall is HUGE and has a car park to match, it’s imperative that you make a note of where your car is else you may never see it again!!

Having succesfully found the car (thankfully as it’s hired so we would have been in quite a lot of trouble)! we headed off. The evening was spent watching a new show called ‘Ordinary Lies’ by the BBC which we are really enjoying.  Though I am very intrigued by how they will pull all the stories together, at the moment there are a lot of loose ends…Once it is finished I will be able to write a proper review.

Saturday was a skype and pool day, I had a lovely catch up with my parents and planned when I might return to Berlin to visit them. Fingers crossed soon as I am missing them rather a lot!  The sun was shining so we enjoyed a couple of hours by the pool, though I don’t think I have tanned at all…my sun seems very determined to remain pale, hopefully it’s interesting but I am not convinced!

It seemed like the weekend had flown by when I was getting ready to retun to work yesterday…still hopefully the week will fly by!

Omnia

omnia gourmetA few weeks ago Bond (new nickname I am trying for P!) went on a corporate day out to celebrate the team hitting their targets!  Well deserved after many late nights at the office and working weekends!  On said day out they went to a restaurant called Omnia and Bond LOVED it. He said that he wanted to take me because it’s a very relaxing and peaceful place over looking the water.

I am so glad that he followed through and took me because it truly is lovely.  We sat outside for a mocktail first and enjoyed the view and the sunshine and then moved inside to eat as it was getting a bit too hot.  The restaurant is really laid back but very nicely done.  It has a really sophisticated beach style whilst not making you feel you have to dress up etc.

The menu is very diverse, I had lobster mac and cheese and Bond had chicken kofta with onion rings. This I think proves you can have pretty much whatever you want at Omnia!  The mocktails were also delicious.

omnia

Yummy mac and cheese!

We had a few teething troubles, the got Bond’s order wrong and there was a delay fixing it.  However they gave us the onion rings for free and a lovely slice of cheesecake on the house and were very apologetic.  It seems there were no troubles last time so this was just an unfortunate one off.  It hasn’t put us off going back and I only mentioned it because I thought they handled the situation so well.  In any case the food was yummy once it did come!

If you fancy a relaxed breakfast/lunch I definitely recommend it.  I imagine it would also be romantic at night overlooking the water…I will have to check and report back.

Versatile blog award! Please read – you may have been nominated!!

Thank you to Elizabeth Gracie for another nomination!!  I feel like a real champion! She’s so sweet to have thought of me, especially for this award as I do like to think I am versatile…well I can hope for the best!

Here are the rules:

1- give the name link of the blogger who nominated you ( throw in a thank you if you’d like to! 🙂 )

2- share 7 facts about yourself

3- nominate 15 blogs to do the same!

So Seven facts about me:

1) I swam with a Whale Shark last year – they are majestic creatures but I admit to being pretty terrified!

2) In a fire after people I care about I would save sentimental things over material things any time – one of my concerns is that some of my sentimental things are now in storage with no one to rescue them!

3) I love penguins and one highlight of moving to Dubai was getting to hug one.  It’s the only place in the world that you can do that.  They seem very happy and incredibly well cared for.

4) When I see the Dubai fountains I am basically five all over again and am still a bit upset this morning that we didn’t go and see them on Friday.

5) The worst part of moving to Dubai has been realising that some friendships weren’t as strong as I had thought.  (The counterbalance has been finding that some friendships are even stronger!)

6) I don’t like coffee…but I will always ask people if they want to go for coffee with me. It’s too weird to ask people for tea!

7) I really struggle to find facts about myself!!

Ok so now for the 15 nominees!

The lives and loves of a London Girl

Slummy Single Mummy 

Can’t swing a cat 

RNH Blackthorn

Desert Twins 

Style street savvy

Service excellence blog 

After the Rain

Scars, tears and training bras

Newly Wed not Dead

My year without retail therapy

Moving in with a boy

Thomas’ Travels

The General Aesthetic

NHYM

Good luck to all the nominees and thanks again to Elizabeth Gracie!!

Wow a nomination!! So exciting!!

WOWYesterday I was at home feeling a bit run down, the downside to Dubai is that I seem to fall foul of dehydration which is grim!  Anyway I was greatly cheered up to receive a nomination for ‘The creative Blogger award’ by Elizabeth Gracie.  She has an absolutely lovely and joyful blog that I urge you all to check out!

Here are the rules that go with the nomination:

1) Thank and leave a link to the blog that nominated you

2) Share 5 facts about yourself

3) Nominate 10 blogs and link them in your post

4) Notify all nominees through their social media/blog

5) Pass the rules along

So first off, THANK YOU Elizabeth Gracie, you’re too sweet to have thought of me!

Now for the facts:

1) I went to boarding school even though I knew nothing about the country and everyone’s favourite game was ‘shocking the townie’…it’s still legendary that I once mistook a cow for a horse!!

2) I love to knit, but I only ever make square or rectangular things because the one time I made a jumper for myself it didn’t fit…!

3) I am a hoarder and the worst part of moving to Dubai was deciding what to take and what to leave behind.  There are actually boxes of stuff that my parents are very kindly looking after for me, including pretty much every card I have EVER received. (I am also really sentimental!)

4) I can’t drive…but I am determined now to get my licence so I can zip up and down Sheikh Zayed road, even though Dubai drivers are terrifying!!

5) My whole family are multilingual but I am not, this is a great shame and no one knows why I never managed to pick up the languages.  The worst part is that my cousins STILL take pleasure in speaking French or Flemish and throwing my name in to make me think they are talking about me!

Now for the nominations:

After the Rain – a new discovery, I am enjoying following Tara on her journey with C25 and motherhood and every picture of Freya makes me smile.  Plus she has inspired one of my favourite posts!

Scars, tears and training bras – brilliantly written, witty and endearing! I can’t wait to read each new post!

NHYM – this has given me an insight into motherhood in London and also reminds me of the good and bad side things of London.

The General Aesthetic – this is by a friend of mine, she just started and it’s gorgeous already!

Thomas’ Travels – written by a PCV it’s a fascinating insight into a new culture.  Please participate in the postcard project!!

Newly Wed not Dead – each post is well crafted and fun with a unique take on things.  Plus I have got some great TV show advice!

My year without retail therapy – incredibly this girl isn’t shopping for a whole year, it’s an impressive display of self control and I am most impressed!!

Dubai’s desperate Housewife – my first blog I read about Dubai which gave me a great insight into my new home.

Moving in with a boy – a real insight into what being a young teacher is like, the good the bad and the ugly!  She’s very honest but also optimistic about it all.

Miss Bassmaster – she’s now left Dubai but we both arrived at around the same time and it was really interesting to read her take on it!  I am looking forward to seeing how she gets on back in the USA.

Good luck to all my nominees and thank you again Elizabeth Gracie!!

Viva la Vida loca!

canal

The cover should have maybe tipped us off….

After a terrifying Thursday night watching ‘The Canal’ – I can’t even review this film because a) I didn’t watch the end, b) the bits I did watch I had my eyes closed for and c) I didn’t honestly understand it all! Suffice to say that if you ever get asked to watch ‘The Canal’ politely decline…!  Anyway having survived that horror show (literally!) I was very excited for a quiet day before a fabulous evening out.

sunshineThe next morning P and I went to the pool for a few hours and enjoyed the sunshine, the weather is still lovely to sit outside and we need to make the most of it before it becomes unbearable to even breathe outside much less sit!  We swam in the pool and competed as to who can do the best handstands (me…of course) and who can swim for the longest while holding their breath (him…it’s unbelievable, he may have gills!!) Once the sun went in we headed home to get ready for our glamorous night out!

glass

These aren’t ‘the’ glasses but I REALLY want them…one day!

At 7.45 and all glammed up we met with our friend M, who is hilarious and bluntly honest and just a huge amount of fun!  We met by the pool bar (3 in 1) at Vida which is really lovely and tranquil.  We had yummy cocktails, even though the names are beyond naff ‘Burning Desires’ and ‘Lavender dreams’ which had NO lavender in that we could see for example, they are delicious and HUGE.  The martini glasses are massive, the stems look like bamboo they are so thick.  They also had delicious nuts which we devoured because we were so hungry. We had a reservation at 9pm which in  hindsight was an error…fortunately we braved it out by ordering a second cocktail!

La Serre is so chic and elegant, I was la serredesperate to go ever since my boss told me it was his new favourite place.  I have yet to go wrong when taking his recommendations, he loves to eat, knows about good wine and knows how to enjoy himself.  As a result wherever we go that he suggests has good food, a great wine list and a fantastic ambiance.  La Serre did not fail on any front.  It’s not cheap but it’s worth it, I have already decided it’s my new ‘event’ place.

M and I ended up having matching menus, Steak Tartare with truffle shavings followed by Lobster linguine.  P had a beef carpaccio and artichoke salad followed by beef ragout and pasta.  These dishes were superficially simple but they had a great amount of depth and sophistication.  The steak tartare had a perfect texture and the egg yolk was beautifully presented in it’s shell, the sauce for the lobster linguine was delicious, light yet flavoursome and really brought out the taste of the lobster.  P said his was delicious but didn’t share…meanie!  He ordered a chocolate mousse with malt flavoured ice cream,  which he had to accept was coming with three spoons…It was delicious, like a mousse fondant hybrid.

I couldn’t recommend La Serre more, it’s a great experience with fantastic food and excellent service!

I love a bit of Nostalgia

I really want this mug!!  Also I made a similar cushion for a friend and now I am so tempted to make myself one...maybe one day!Last night P was running important errands at the Mall, I later found out he has bought all the bits and bobs required to create a tea station for his colleagues in his office so they no longer have to walk ages to make a beverage.  As he works with a pack of Brits he has clearly seen an easy way to win them over rapidly!  I am sure he is going to be worshipped today!

I really want this mug!! Also I made a similar cushion for a friend and now I am so tempted to make myself one…maybe one day!

Anyway while he was out practicing the theories of ‘How to win friends and Influence people’ I was at home firing up ‘Sisterhood of the Travelling Pants’!  I first watched this film years ago in Ohio with a very good friend when I was over visiting friends who live there.  We headed over to an old school cinema with leather seats and cheap popcorn and were gripped from the moment the film started.  It really is a lovely and moving story about friendship, girls coming of age and tragedy.  This is not a light fluffy film about girly chat, they get in to some really heavy stuff from the start of the film!  Now I freely admit I am a big cry baby in films (I am still trying to recover from the shame of War Horse where I cried so much my friend told me I needed to ‘compose’ myself before she would leave the cinema with me!) but even I don’t usually start blubbing within five minutes! This film gets me right by the jugular and doesn’t let go.

sisterhood

The film is about four friends who have known each other since birth separate for the summer, one is off to Greece to spend time with her grandparents and learn about her culture, another is off to a football camp, the third is off to spend time with her dad following her parents divorce and of course poor Tibby is left behind to work in Wallman’s supermarket.  Before they leave they go to a vintage store where they find a pair of jeans which fits them all (which considering they are all different sizes is quite miraculous!) and they decide it’s a sign.  They plan to share the trousers (pants, because it’s an American film) between them and to post them back with a story of what happened while they were wearing them.  It’s a great way to stay in touch, but in the end the pants take on a sort of power that gives the girls strength to do things they wouldn’t usually have the courage to do .  This leads to great moments throughout the film that make you want the absolute best for the characters!  It’s really so moving and I highly recommend watching it if you want something that is uplifting and that shows how great friends can get you through even the worst of times.

I decided to re-watch it yesterday because I heard that the third in the series is being made and I wanted to re-watch so I am ready for the next installment.  Now I just need another quiet night where I can get engrossed in the second movie, I can’t remember it nearly as well as the first one…I am not sure if it’s as emotional, but if it is I better get more kleenex!

godmothersIf you haven’t seen the films or read the books (which are also lovely from what I remember of reading them in my teens) then I definitely urge you to do so!  There is a lot to be said for a book tackling hard subjects well and leaving the reader feeling hopeful at the end.  To be honest even though I have probably out grown the series I may re-read the books just for nostalgia’s sake.

Also I recently learned that all four actresses have stayed friends and the other three are godmother’s to Blake Lively’s new daughter, which makes for an even happier ending!

Oh so pretty Paule Ka

Last night I went to a store event to launch the new Paule Ka collection.  I headed over with a friend to the Boutique in the Mall of the Emirates to go and check it out.  The whole collection is stunning and I oohed and ahed over everything, sadly the price tages leave it slightly out of my budget!  Still a girl can dream…maybe they will have a HUGE sale just for me?

This was my favourite print of the collection, really modern and fun!

This was my favourite print of the collection, really modern and fun!

They had NARS make up artists there who were doing make-overs, all the girls took part and we all felt gorgeous afterwards.  I love NARS, the packaging is sleek and the products are fantastic.  I find that it’s make up for sophisticated women and it appeals to me for that reason.

nars

There was also a photo box thing where you could pose and have pictures taken and printed right there and then with the NARS and Paule Ka logos on the sides.  It’s always nice to have a memory of such things!

The crowd was very elite with well known fashion bloggers and loyal customers of Paule Ka.  Everyone was friendly and we all chatted while enjoying delicious drinks and canapes.  They had chocolate eclairs to die for, I had quite a few…there goes the diet!

After dinner four of us headed off for dinner at Shake Shack. I hadn’t been there before and I had to agree with the other three that the hot-dogs are to die for!  I love junky American food so I am sure I will be heading back there soon…

It was really a fun evening and I was really proud of my friend who put it all together and did such a great job engaging the guests while looking stunning in a Paule Ka dress she had borrowed for the occasion!

Terrific Tuxedo

As Tuxedo made the list of things that make me happy I was asked by one of my favourite bloggers, Scars, Tears and Training bras to share some piccies of his highness! He isn’t the world’s greatest poser, he tends to wander off right as you take a picture, I imagine it’s because he has far more important things to do…Oddly he is great on video but my mother does a ridiculous voice and I suspect she wouldn’t be too pleased if that got made public! Here are the few decent pictures I have before Tuxedo remembered he is a very busy feline and has no time for such nonsense.

Tuxxy was originally my grandmother’s cat and after she passed away my parents and I inherited him.  It was decided that my mother would be the best person to look after him as she doesn’t work so can stay at home and keep him company.  He got used to having my grandmother on hand to worship him at all times, now my mother has to keep up with his needs.  I feel quite sorry for him, my grandmother spoiled him rotten and my mother runs a much tighter ship.  He used to be allowed to sit in the sitting room and watch TV while he ate…those days are long gone!  Still he is ruling the roost to a certain degree in Berlin and apparently he enjoys watching the garden if not actually going into it…

He really has the loveliest nature and everyone falls in love with him, even people who don’t usually like cats.  I am already looking forward to next Christmas, I am hoping I can persuade him to let me near the tree…

Tuxxy

Tuxedo guarding our Christmas presents…admittedly from me!  I have a tendency to shake all the gifts addressed to me!  So legendary am I for this that it seems my mother took some time to train Tuxedo to keep me away from them…and to think I thought he was on my team!

Tuxedo

This is the picture I have of Tuxedo on my fridge, look how handsome he is!  He got his name because he always looks ready to attend a black tie event!

Tux

Tuxedo worships the sun, he follows it around the house!  I think he would love Dubai!!