All the news…

62180920I totally lost my blogging mojo but I am determined to get it back.  I have missed writing and interacting with everyone who kindly read my posts.  It’s time to get back to it and hopefully my groove will return a la Austin Powers! 

I thought it  best to get the wedding out of the way first then go chronologically! It’s a shamefully long time since I wrote so here are the highlights of the past few months.  There have been mini-breaks, fabulous meals and all sorts in between but the below is the edited version!

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The infinity loop has become the symbol for our wedding. 

The wedding looms large in my life right now.  Bond and I have proven rather efficient at all things wedding and have most things planned now.  My mother has been an incredible source of ideas as well as patience, it turns out I got a bit weird about chairs and the only person who really got the importance was her!  Not a single row has occurred so far which seems miraculous after every bridal magazine I read advised it would be carnage.  My dad is a voice of calm and seems to just get on board with everything. Now that most things are in place and booked the next hurdle is the ceremony…what readings and music to have is proving a challenge.  Getting the right tone of gravitas for the occasion but also levity for the kind of couple we are seems so difficult to get right.  Still tackle it we must and research will commence soon!  If you have any readings you think might be fitting please fire them at me!!!  Soon I have my first dress fitting for which I will fly back to the UK and my lovely mother will fly in from Berlin to see me in what will hopefully be my glory!  Depending how I look I will post photos for you to see…fingers crossed it all goes well.  We have lots of other wedding meetings in the UK including with the florist, I am so excited to see the vision we have discussed over Skype become reality.  Also living in the desert has given me an even deeper love of flowers so I imagine I will be basking in their beauty and snapping pictures like mad for Instagram.

c33db3979a4a214fd6e12b12995bdae7October had BIG news as one of my closest friends got engaged and then married within 8 weeks – proving that indeed anything is possible!  She even had a couture dress which I was pretty awe struck by.  The second she announced the wedding date we booked flights, got outfits and headed to London to see the nuptials.  It was such a fun evening, a small and intimate affair with all the people who really matter to them.  I was even asked to make a speech which was such an honour and it was so special to be able to force my humble friend to listen to some compliments while she couldn’t tell me to shut up.  So far they are happy and content and I couldn’t be more pleased for the pair of them, and their fur baby of course!  Every time I see the pictures I smile, she deserves every happiness!

happy-birthday-cake-designWhile we were in London my parents came over too and so we were able to celebrate my dad’s birthday all together which was so wonderful.  It’s always lovely to have family time together especially so spontaneously!  We had a lovely time together albeit it too brief but we did manage a couple of really fun dinners and breakfasts as we all stayed at the wedding venue which was magical.

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In November Bond and I went on the most amazing holiday to New York and Columbia. It’s the first big trip we have taken in ages and it more than lived up to expectations.  New York is an amazing city, it’s sort of how I imagine London would be if it got put on fast forward!  I loved the vibe of it though I imagine living there must be quite exhausting.  We managed to pack a lot in to our few days there, from art galleries to fabulous restaurants and many strolls through central park, including cocktails at Inn on the Park which was lovely.  The meal highlights for the trip are a toss up between ‘Craft’ and ‘The River Cafe’.  The two are polar opposites but they both excel at what they are trying to do. Craft is all about the food, everything is organic and the waiters can tell you where it is all sourced.  The service is also exemplary though in a laid back and casual way, we both felt like we were old friends with the staff and had been a thousand times before, they had even printed the menu with ‘Happy Anniversary’ which was so lovely and made us feel totally special. I would totally recommend it and I suspect we will always go back when we are in NYC. The River Cafe is old school glamour, the sort of place where the men wear jackets and ties and the ladies wear  proper frocks. The food is stylish and delicious and the staff make you feel like you’re back in the twenties and even though we were the youngest people there we LOVED it.

architecture-srgm-rotunda-empty-800e28086c397e28086533We hit all the major museums and had to accept that we will never be people who really appreciate modern art.  The architecture at the Guggenheim was amazing but the Edith Martin exhibition left us totally cold. I still regret not buying the tea towel that proclaimed ‘my five year old could have done that…but I guess he didn’t’; it captures my ideas about modern art for sure. As well as Museums we went to Broadway and watched ‘Book of Mormon’ which was hilarious and very well done.  We both enjoyed it a lot but I am not sure we felt it was quite as amazing as everyone had told us it was.  We managed to go to a Basketball game and happily my team won! I really enjoyed the vibe and the energy of the game and Bond enjoyed seeing real life cheerleaders in action.  I had to agree they had amazing moves and so much spirit!  All in all so many fun things that I am beaming just remembering them.

As well as getting our ‘culture on’ there may also have been a spot of shopping, I am only human after all and we were staying very near 5th Avenue…I fell in love with Bergdorf Goodman’s and wish I could shop there all the time, though it’s madly expensive! 

eloise3We also managed tea at the plaza where I discovered they have a shop for all things ‘Eloise’ who was my childhood heroine, I wanted to be her and live in a hotel like she did.  We had drinks at the Rockefeller tower and enjoyed the gorgeous views.  We went on a helicopter tour of the city and night as well as a river cruise which was just magical.  We discovered Eataly and ate there far too often but it was so easy for a quick bite on our last couple of days so we couldn’t resist. 

f39db8c23c1c8dd9c48df011c3b3c184The only sad day we had was when we went to the 9/11 memorial and museum which is tragic and harrowing and left me in tears for most of it.  They have created a beautiful and fitting tribute.  From there we went to Vietnam Plaza which is equally tragic and heart wrenching, not just for the memorial itself but for the fact it’s tucked away and treated like a secret which just feels so wrong.  I am glad that we went to see both places but I admit to being a bit of an emotional wreck by the end.

There are probably so many other things we did that I am forgetting now – but all in all it was an incredible trip and I really want to go back and do all the things we missed this time around!

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From New York we flew to Colombia.  What an amazing country!  One of my oldest friends got married there and it was so special to be part of this amazing occassion.  The wedding was beautiful and fun – we all ended up in the pool at the venue, even the bride and the mother of the bride took a dip!  We were in Cartagena and stayed at the Sofitel Santa Clara which is just the most beautiful and incredible place.  Soon it became the hangout for everyone regardless of where they were staying!  It was so so lovely to reunite with old friends and have wild times in a new place and create new memories that we will all treasure forever. While we were there I fell in love with the culture, the people are friendly and fun loving and so kind.  The food is unbelievable though very bad for the diet – how the Colombian women are so slim and healthy looking remains a mystery!  The weather was glorious, although one day it was overcast to the horror of the English set who wanted to sunbathe constantly.  We managed to go to a museum about Emeralds and Bond treated me to a stunning set of earrings.  We also went to the old fort which is a world heritage site, the scale of it is incredible.  I couldn’t believe how vast it was!  I urge everyone to go to Colombia, it’s beautiful and interesting and so fun and truly I felt very safe.  It’s firmly on my list of places to explore further!

ladies-night-1024x498On our return to Dubai three of my friends came for a visit!  It was so much fun to have them out here!  We went to ladies nights, had fun dinners and just enjoyed being reunited.  i can’t wait to have them visit again soon.  Luckily they all loved Dubai and are keen to come again!!


462d715d98a93af2b7a94a609679d52bFor Christmas my parents and I joined Bond and his family at their home.  It was so fun to all be together and to really enjoy the festivities.  Bond and his parents went above and beyond to make us all feel comfortable and at home and it was lovely to see my parents and his really becoming friends.  We played Charades, watched cheesy movies, ate way too much and really relaxed and had fun. By the end of our time together we were all sad to part ways and now we are planning our next family Christmas.

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Now to actually read Sophie Robehmad’s book about Dubai Expats!

 

In other ‘news’ I got made redundant, which I am seeing the bright side of.  Thanks to the generosity of Bond I am having a bit of time out to enjoy planning the wedding as well as do some travelling.  First trip London and Berlin!  So far I have embraced being a Jumeirah Jane as they call trailing spouses out here who don’t work.  I am becoming quite the gym goer and it turns out I can actually cook if I put my mind to it.  My mother also helped me do some major decluttering while she and my dad visited (dad did some useful heavy lifting under her instructions) and it turns out my utility room has a floor that isn’t made of plastic bags!!!  Who knew???  Not to sound too virtuous though I am also now on Season 4 of House and Season 2 of Ray Donovan and I binged on Call the Midwife which resulted in a lot of tears.

In happier career News the wondrous Bond has moved companies and been promoted in the process.  To say I am proud is an understatement!  It seems he is unstoppable!  So far he is doing really well in the new role and is enjoying it which is great!

2016_1_dragonfly_baseMy parents came to visit for two weeks, the poor souls had the most miserable weather I have experienced since moving to Dubai.  I couldn’t believe how grey it was, we even had rain on several days.  Luckily they really come to see us so they said they weren’t too upset about the bad weather.  We had such an amazing time together, as I wasn’t working we got to spend real quality time together and we went on some fun adventures too.  The Miracle Garden was a real highlight, it’s a bizarre place but well worth a visit – I imagine it’s one of the few places in the world you can see an Emirates Plane bedecked in blooms.  Another fab day out was to the Burj Khalifa to see the Bond exhibition – my Bond thoroughly enjoyed seeing his namesake in all his glory and he and Dad geeked out over the gadgets while mummy and I decided which gowns we liked the best.  I thoroughly recommend it to any Bond fan!  We also had many fabulous meals while they were here, wedding diet be damned was the theme of their trip!  I would say the two best were Marina Social and Dragonfly.  Marina Social is the restaurant by Jason Atherton at the Intercontinental where my parents stayed.  The food is incredible and although it’s a sharing concept you can opt out of that should you have to dine with only children like my dad and I…a wise call by mummy and Bond!  Dragonfly is next level dining, truly I haven’t had a meal like it in my life and I urge EVERYONE to go, fly to Dubai especially even.  I don’t think I can do the food justice in words and my mouth waters as I try to.  From the amazing Langoustine to the truffle Dim Sum to the best chicken I have ever eaten and all the epic courses in between I couldn’t believe how lucky I was to go here to eat.  The restaurant is dry and they have come up with this ‘Jein’ (juice wine) concept to combat that, every drink is paired with the course and comes in a special glass to bring out the flavours.  Truly you feel you’re drinking wine and even whisky with the last course, but you can still drive yourself home! A brilliant concept for non-drinkers and drinkers alike.  Go to Dragonfly, you’ll thank me and your taste buds will thank you!  As well as eating we just enjoyed hanging out together and chatting. 

Right I think that is everyone up to date…now I promise to do much better at updates from now on!!  

Chauffeur Service

Chanel obviously understand the needs of the glamorous chauffeur…

On Friday I drove to collect Bond from the airport after his business trip.  This was my first journey to the aiport and so of course I got lost and even though I left plenty of time my misstep meant I got there late.  Anyway Bond was a good sport about it and his mother said I must be the most glamorous chauffeur in Dubai which was rather nice of her!

It is lovely having Bond back in the U.A.E and we even managed a beach trip together in spite of the mad temperatures!  It was fun until the walk back where I got a bit too hot and bothered and nearly had a strop…naturally this was a charming sort of strop because I am ALWAYS a delight (Bond is clearly laughing as he reads this!)  We stopped off at Leopold’s for a bite to eat.  I am so keen on their quinoa salad with beetroot and feta cheese, it’s to die for.  They also do killer quiche which we both enjoy!  I recently discovered their mini flourless chocolate cakes which are delicious and presumably guilt free as they have no flour…right?

The rest of the weekend Bond came to mine and I got him addicted to Castle which is brilliant!  If you haven’t seen this show you are missing out.  Richard Castle is a murder mystery writer who is shadowing Kate Beckett a NYPD detective.  Along with Esposito and Ryan the two junior detectives and Laney the M.E they solve the most amazing and bizarre crimes.  I defy you not to want to be Kate (who is so gorgeous my friend and I both attempt to copy her make up to look like her) and if you don’t fall a bit in love with Castle then I will be most surprised.  Honestly Castle is a legend, witty, charming, talented and successful. He lives with his mother who is wonderfully eccentric and his daughter Alexus who is bright and diligent – she’s sort of the well behaved version of Castle who is a lovable rogue.

Now back to work, hopefully for a quiet week!

Too much T.V.

Due to the heat here – it’s not hitting below 40 degrees at the moment which is somewhat intense – I have moved to the sofa for most of my downtime.  Bond is far braver than me so can head off to the beach in spite of these temperatures.  So intrepid is Bond he even runs in this heat!!  For intrepid read CRAZY and in serious training for MDS…

In his absence I have been indulging in some new guilty T.V.  My new favourite is Devious Maids, I have binged on season 1 and 2 and am now working my way through season 3.  It’s dangerously addictive!  It’s a show based on a Spanish TV Novella and it’s been produced for the American market by Eva Longoria (of Desperate Housewives fame).  All the cast are recognizable, especially Susan Lucci who is a day time T.V. star in the USA.

The show is based on maids and the families they work for.  There are five main maids – Zoila, Rosie, Carmen, Marisol and Valentina (who is Zoila’s daughter).  All of them are great characters and have really interesting back stories.  Rosie is adorable, Zoila is feisty and loyal, Carmen wants to be a diva, Marisol has a secret she’s desperate to keep and Valentina is in love with the rich son of her mother’s boss Susan Lucci.  The bosses are equally engaging.  Susan Lucci is adorable and has the most amazing relationship with Zoila.  Rosie’s bosses are a famous couple, the wife is EVIL but the husband is lovely.  Carmen works for a famous singer who seems aloof to begin with but later shows he has a heart and Marisol works for the Stoppards who are a lovely couple with a few secrets of their own.  My favourite couple I love to hate are the Powell’s, they are the King and Queen Bee of their social set and they go through maids like other people go through hot meals.  They have this delicious evil streak to them both that makes them so fun to watch.

It is total trash and it’s not going to make you intellectually stimulated, but if you’re ever at home hiding from the heat and knitting a blanket for your best friend then give this a whirl.  If nothing else you can judge me for my shocking taste in T.V.

Too redeem myself Bond and I got addicted to Game of Thrones and have now finished season 4!  It’s so violent and gory but also brilliant and I love certain characters and love hating others.  The only problem is that it brings out a bit of a violent side to me…apparently it is unnerving to Bond that I will shout out ‘rip out his tongue’ to the characters I don’t like!  I urge you to watch it if you aren’t and if you are please no spoilers!!

It’s a long weekend here for Eid so I suspect on Sunday I may find more guilty pleasure T.V.

Now to save myself from total intellectual stupor I am going to go and read the news!

Freedom and Skype!

never ending meetingYesterday I attended a meeting that I genuinely felt might never end…We started at 3.30 and we finally left the building at 7.  Well a few of us did when my boss told us to leave.  Lord knows when he finally managed to escape!

While most of the points raised were interesting the vast majority were off topic. The way of holding meetings here is far more fluid than in England.  Where back in Blighty you would have some sort of agenda and hold any other business at the end, here any other business comes up throughout and there is no agenda anyway!

I now get to type all of this up and distribute it to the attendees to see if they need or want to make any additions.  I do find all of this stuff interesting and it’s great to be more involved in what is going on around me but leaving at 7 was a bit much.  I know that’s not really a ‘late night’ but I am meant to finish at 5.45 and I am fairly sure that if my boss hadn’t been keen to leave we could have been there till the small hours…

skypeOnce I got home I reheated my risotto from the previous night (I didn’t cook the original, it was left overs from Saladicious!) while my mother watched in AWE on Skype at my clearly amazing cooking skills.  Truly it was a ‘miracle’ to behold as I never ever cook due to incidents such as nearly burning the kitchen down in the past!  We had a lovely chat about all sorts of things, and some of our plans for my trip to Berlin.  It should be great fun, even though it will be a tad chilly after Dubai.  Still I am assured that there are jumpers of mine there and I have a coat here in Dubai so I am ready!

Grace and FrankieOnce we had said all there was to say (an hour and a half later) we called it a night and I set about watching the new show my mother had recommended to me.  ‘Grace and Frankie‘ stars Jane Fonda, Lily Tomlin, Martin Sheen and Sam Waterston.  It’s an all star cast who excel in their roles.  The concept is totally original and very clever.  Jane Fonda and Martin Sheen have been married for 40 years as have Lily Tomlin and Sam Waterston.  Waterston and Sheen own a legal practice together and their wives tolerate each other as a result.  Imagine their surprise then when the two men announce that they are gay and have been having a secret relationship for the past 20 years and now they want to be together.  Both women get thrown together as a result of this and the way they interact with each other is hilarious.  I thoroughly recommend watching this if you want a laugh and you want to watch something original.  Also if you like ‘Monster in Law’ then Jane Fonda is as good in this!

Now having relived some laughs I must get back to the minutes of the never ending meeting…wish me luck please!

Where is season 4?????

This weekend we finished House of Cards…it was devastating.  P refused to accept that it was over because it’s really our favourite show.  The worst news was discovering that the next season doesn’t come out till 2016.  Clearly whoever is in charge has a cruel streak!

house of cards

This is one show that just doesn’t disappoint either P or I !  The acting is superb, both Kevin Spacey and Robin Wright have become their characters and you can never guess what is going to happen next.  Also I have serious wardrobe lust for all of Clare’s clothes, the woman has serious powerful woman style!

clare underwood

The plot is incredible, constantly full of twists and turns.  Each character surprises constantly and it’s now become almost a game to guess who will do what next.  I get seriously happy if I get it right and now it’s become a sign of which of us is more perceptive.  Usually me…!  Or at least that’s what I think, P may disagree!

I seriously recommend it to everyone, even though at times it can be a bit near the knuckle it’s well worth watching.
kerryNow that it’s finished we both feel a bit bereft and watching the Will Smith film ‘Focus’ last night did nothing to help.  While it’s quite funny, it’s not really very clever and often totally ridiculous.  It certainly didn’t fill the void that House of Cards has left.  Thankfully for me I am really into Scandal, which is also an epic show.  Kerry Washington is a sublime actress and a wonderful person.  Her speech for GLAAD when she accepted the Vanguard Award is really inspiring.  I highly recommend watching it.  I really feel that all humans deserve the same rights and it’s great to see a celebrity using their platform to promote that idea in such an impressive way.

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Well a girl can hope!

It may be time to let Game of Thrones into our lives…it’s not something that really appeals to us, but desperate times call for desperate measures!