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!!  

Busy bee!

File_001 (6)With Bond away I made a few plans to keep myself busy!  On Thursday I indulged my love of Sushi and ordered in from Sushi art and then made skype calls – thanks to modern technology I actually had dinner with friends from the comfort of my sofa!

On Friday morning (post yoga of course) I went to meet the legal eagle for a breakfast at Leopold’s which was yummy.  My poor friend is going through a rough break up so I was glad to be able to see her and offer her a friendly ear and some advice.  I am hoping that soon she will be back in good spirits! Until then though I will be here for her whenever she needs.  It’s tough enough to go through a break up but when you’re far away from your parents it’s even harder.  Luckily her mother is going to come out for a visit which is usually a great tonic.

le-pays-des-merveilles-d-essentielAfter lunch we may have gone for some shopping…there was a HUGE sale at Essential Antwerp which is a store I love.  We went in and of course I left with new trousers and a bag!  The Legal eagle got a really fun t-shirt too.  All in all a big success and a lot of fun having a mini fashion show.  That said it was a wake up call to really stick with my new regime as I have gone up two sizes!  Now is the time to crack the whip before it gets any harder.

We then went for a walk but it got rather too hot as we had both dressed for the rain in the morning and so we ducked in to ‘Pots, Pans and Boards’ for a restorative beverage.  Yet more chatting and enjoying the view and then it was time to head home to see Bond cross the finish line of MdS which was an amazing moment, I felt so proud of him for managing it!  Luckily I had plans with another friend so I was able to celebrate a bit – though of course the real celebration will be when Bond gets home!

abc-2For the evening I met an old friend from London who is visiting at the moment with a view to moving here eventually, I can’t wait till she does.  We agreed to meet at Sho Cho in Dubai Marine Beach resort so that we could have yet more sushi.  Music to my ears of course as I love it!  I would THOROUGHLY recommend Sho Cho, the atmosphere is relaxed and fun, not at all pretentious which is always a bonus for me.  The food is really excellent, very fresh and there are lots of great choices too.  They even have a happy hour so it’s not too expensive.  All in all a fantastic evening had by us both and we are keen to go back one day.  Dubai Marine Resort is lovely, you sit right on the water which is fabulous and the whole place is just really well done – it’s low key but chic, just my kind of place!

44047130As my buddy drove we decided to go back to her hotel for a night cap, a decision we both regretted rapidly.  She is staying at Vida Hotel and the service at their pool bar is actually non existent…we waited for AGES to get our drinks (bailey’s on ice, so hardly complicated!!) and then having drunk said drinks at a table shoved out of the way we waited a ridiculous amount of time for our bill.  It was really a shame because the hotel otherwise is lovely.  Beautifully decorated and the restaurants are all terrific (I LOVE La Serre) and the other staff are all charming and helpful. My friend requested to move rooms and was moved within half an hour.  It’s just a shame the pool bar let it down!

yoga-downwardfacingdogThe next morning I woke up and had a great skype with another old friend, she was on fab form and it was so lovely to hear all her news.  As I was in such a good mood I decided to keep up the high and did my yoga session.  This was the hardest yet but I got through it – even if I did question why a dog would choose any of these positions, as for the cobra he really needs to be told what the word comfort means!!!!  Still I finished it off and then got ready for the rest of my day.

 

introducing-new-nars-lip-gloss-official-produ-t-7mpxw5I had agreed to go and be a mystery shopper for NARS so off I headed to Mall of the Emirates. I would THOROUGHLY recommend going there for a make over or even just some tips.  Their products are fabulous anyway and the make up artists are super helpful and don’t blind you with science.  She talked me through the process of what she did and even advised me against certain products she thought it was unlikely I would actually get much use out of. I really liked that she wasn’t pushy at all, it made me want to go back.  The final tick in the box – my friend thought I looked GREAT!

91fqnvuibsl-_sl1500_Having met said friend at her hotel we pulled on our gym kit and headed to Kite Beach for a nice walk.  It is absolutely beautiful there, and we watched the sunset which was perfect.  We would have walked further but hunger defeated us…off we headed back to her hotel to change and then head to PF Changs for dinner.  We walked over to Dubai Mall and managed to catch the fountains which were playing to my grandmother’s favourite song ‘La Vie en Rose’, it was really beautiful and moving for me.  If you haven’t seen the film then definitely do…but make sure you have tissues!  She really had a tragic life and your heart will break for her.  Once the fountains had done their thing we grabbed a table and got to grips with our ordering…we went for the lettuce chicken wraps, prawn dumplings, schezuan beef and VIP duck.  All of it was delicious, though possibly we had eyes bigger than our stomachs as I couldn’t even begin to finish the duck.  Clearly I am not quite the VIP I think I am…

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I couldn’t resist this as it seemed so apt and comical!

Post dinner we headed back to the hotel for a cup of tea and a chat and suddenly it was 11.30 so I high tailed it home with a bid to being fresh for work this morning…that was somewhat foiled by Bond who finally got his phone back and called me for a chat!  I was so happy to hear from him I kept him on the phone for AGES, sleep be damned!  I can’t wait to see him now…it feels like a lifetime since we were together.

All in all I have to say I had a really lovely weekend and I am so lucky to have good friends to keep me company while Bond is away!

 

Bye Bye Bond!

logo-mds-468Today Bond headed off to London so he can join up with the other mad runners to fly to Morocco to do the Marathon De Sables that some of you may have read about in ‘Bond’s last Hurrah’.  Tomorrow he flies to Morocco for some acclimitasation before the run begins.  Honestly I can’t believe the time has come, we have been talking about this for so long and he has trained so hard so I just hope it turns out to be the once in a lifetime event everyone says it is.  Also I hope he gets a good time because I know how important that is to him!

3ac533b32b67b7e09ac292573098ac30_1454176801Last night we had our last dinner together so that I could be sure Bond had a good meal in him for his journey.  It was his choice and he opted for Butcha, which was a bold shout as we hadn’t been there before!  It’s a relatively new steak house that we have heard good things about though so we figured we couldn’t go too far wrong.  We sat outside so I can’t tell you too much about the decoration but the tables outside were very comfortable and had very chic table lamps that sadly did not choose to photograph well!

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Now to the main factors…service and food!  They scored on both fronts!!  The staff are lovely, efficient and knowledgeable about their menu.  They were able to advise on sides and sauces without being pushy about anything.  We started with mocktails and Bond said that his was without question the best he has had in Dubai.  It was ginger ale with mint leaves and I have to agree it really was good for something so simple!  My kiwi and apple cooler was equally good and I figure it’s a green juice so it must be good for me…it certainly tasted it anyway!

 

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For food we decided to have a starter to share and went with the Butcha meat plate which is made up of a sujuk burger, a kofta and a meguez sausage.  All were absolutely delicious with the sujuk being the star.  It’s a good size to share  but is also manageable alone.

 

For our main course Bond predictably went for a HUGE burger with pepper sauce and garlic mash with green beans.  I decided to be healthy and had the skewered chicken.  Now usually I would end up with steak envy but I have to say the chicken was DIVINE!  It was very tender and tasty.  I would recommend it to everyone.  Bond loved his steak and it did look perfectly cooked.  He rated the pepper sauce but as that’s not my favourite I have to say I didn’t enjoy it, but if you do like pepper sauce I am sure it’s great!  The mash was lovely and presented very nicely too and the green beans were well cooked but I can only get so excited about a green bean really…

All in all a fantastic meal and a great experience.  On the way out they gave us 20% off so we are even more motivated to go for a return experience!

File_006We decided to be saintly and not have dessert and just go for a walk around…that only lasted until we saw Morelli’s gelato store where we somehow ended up sitting down having ice cream which Bond said wasn’t really dessert as it wasn’t cake!  I have to say I love the way he thinks.  Morelli’s is fabulous, I loved it in London and it’s just as good here in Dubai.  If you fancy a naughty treat do check them out!  They do some epic sundaes too depending on just how decadent you’re feeling…

We had a lovely evening and I hope that these nice memories will sustain Bond on his adventure.  I got quite emotional saying goodbye at the airport at 6.30 this morning because we won’t be able to talk much while he is away as apparently the desert doesn’t have great networks…come on du now is your moment to dominate a new market!!

Now that he is gone I will be keeping my fingers crossed that it all goes well and he comes back a happy camper!

 

Bond’s last hurrah!

2881-230544-thickboxThis week Bond flies off for the Marathon De Sables run that he is taking part in.  If you haven’t heard of the event it’s called the ‘Toughest foot race on Earth’ and honestly that doesn’t seem like an exaggeration.  Basically every day this mad man (along with a few hundred others – be aware they walk among us!!) will wake up and run a marathon throughout the Moroccan desert.  Over the course of a week he will have run/walked 250KM in the heat carrying all the food and provisions he will need to survive.  My little foodie will survive on only energy bars and freeze dried food that he will have to cook himself on a little stove.  On Friday we got all of his stuff ready, this involved decanting the freeze-dried food into smaller bags and organising all his meals by days and calories.  The MDS people are very serious about the calories the competitors have with them.  They must have at least 2000 Kcals but preferably closer to 3000 Kcals and each bag must be labelled with the contents and calorie count.  Then somehow you have to pack all of the food and other bits and bobs into an improbably small bag!  Anyway with some effort and clever packing we managed to get it all in and so he is good to go. The bag is so heavy I can’t lift it!!!  I have to admit that I am in awe of him doing this whilst also questioning his sanity.

In order to make up for this hideous endurance test we decided to have a relaxed couple of days finishing off with a lovely dinner last night.

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We headed to Poco Loco on the walk as I had heard good things and it’s always fun to try new places.  On the way over we stopped to watch the Beach BMX competition, which seemed to be a few men throwing themselves around on bikes/scooters while extremely loud music was played.  Bond thought it was cool but I have to say it wasn’t really my thing.  Once Bond had his fill we walked on to the restaurant.

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Poco Loco is a Latin American restaurant with a great terrace overlooking the beach.  There was also live music when we went, I don’t know if that’s just for the weekend though.  The interior decoration is very nice and the atmosphere is also lovely.  Initially we sat outside but it got a bit chilly so we moved inside (we both failed to bring jumpers!).  Having read the menu we decided to get a few things to share.  Soon melted cheese sticks, tacos, chicken skewers, king fish skewers and beef skewers and corn on the cob were delivered to us.  The food all looked very appetising but sadly it wasn’t very warm which let it down a bit.  The melted cheese sticks were definitely the highlight for us, and I would be keen to have them again.  The rest of the food was yummy but nothing to massively rave about.  My friend tells me that the main courses are the highlight so if we go back we will have to try that.  The other let down was the service, the people who served were very nice but they were almost impossible to find.  In order to get the bill we had to ask the cleaner if he wouldn’t mind finding us a waiter in the back as we couldn’t find anyone.  Our guacomole never turned up which was a shame but they did remove it from our bill with no fuss.  All in all we had a good time but it won’t be top of the list of places to go.

From Poco Loco it was cake o’clock according to Bond and so we headed to Vintage which is the home of decadence. His highness decided to go all out for his last big treat and ordered a pecan and chocolate fondant cake with an Aztec hot chocolate on the side.  The fondant cake was delicious, Bond enjoyed his Aztec hot chocolate but I found the chilli a bit much!  I went for ‘chocolate delight’ cake and an Almond joy to drink.  The cake was pretty good but I had to concede Bond had won the ordering.  The almond joy drink was FANTASTIC,  they say it’s a milkshake with almonds and coconuts but there has to be more to it than that because it’s soooo delicious!!!

Having stuffed our faces full of chocolate we went to the market on JBR to check out the wares.  Bond was VERY determined to get me a gift and so he treated me to the lovely dress you see in the picture!  I am a lucky girl indeed!

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All in all it was a lovely day and I hope that Bond felt it was a suitably fun send off before this tough race!

These signs at the market made us giggle…sorry for the poor photo quality though!!

 

 

 

Can’t go wrong with a long weekend!

bangleThe above title turned out to be a case of famous last words for me as I woke up on Friday with food poisoning and ended up spending the whole day glued to the sofa feeling sorry for myself!  So pitiful was I that Bond turned up with gifts and my favourite foods for supper to cheer me up.  I was so touched by his loveliness and thoughtfulness – he went to my favourite store to get me the above bangle and a mug  just to make me smile even though I had been a real moaning minnie all morning.  Luckily it was just a 24 hour thing so by Saturday I was back in the land of the living.  Bond must have still been feeling a bit sorry for me though as he agreed to go and see ‘Zootropolis’ (who knew food poisoning could come with so many bonuses?!)

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If you have children go and see ‘Zootropolis’, if you have children that are technically adults (here’s looking at you Mummy and Daddy) go and see ‘Zootropolis’, if you don’t have children but you like them go and see ‘Zootropolis’ and if you don’t have children and you don’t like them (well you’re missing out, a lot of them are better than adults) STILL go and see ‘Zootropolis’.  Honestly EVERYONE I know who has seen it loved it and it’s not hard to see why.  It’s an animated film about a world where animals live side by side be they predators or prey.  They work in offices and wear human clothes and basically live like us.  Sloths run the DMV and rabbits own carrot farms and the mayor is a Lion!  The main plot is about a bunny who wants to become a policewoman, which has never happened before as all the police are predators so everyone expects her to fail.  I won’t tell you more because it will ruin it suffice to say it’s funny and clever and has a moral story for us all.  It will make you laugh and think and you can’t ask for more than that can you?  Also if you have kids they will LOVE you for taking them and that seems like a good thing too for all the parents reading!

Easter decorationEaster weekend in Dubai is not a public holiday so companies can choose to give you the Sunday off.  Fortunately for me my company said we could have the day off…sadly Bond’s company didn’t!  So while he was stuck at the office I found a friend to pal about with for the day and we had a whale of a time.  First there was essential shopping, new jeans that aren’t skin tight so can be worn in a million degrees and a t-shirt that I didn’t need but really liked.  Nat got her gym kit (more on this later) and we found a few stores we definitely want to hit up once we have lost the weight we plan to lose at the gym (hence the kit!)

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Having shopped our fill we went to have lunch at ‘The Scene’ in Pier 7 which is fast becoming a favourite place.  The food is great, the service is exemplary and the cocktails aren’t half bad either.   We were able to get a table outside on the terrace so we could also enjoy their fantastic view of the Marina.  It seemed a lot of people had the day off because there was lots of activity on the water with people taking their boats out.  We spent a couple of hours eating good food and enjoying the gorgeous weather before we decided it was time to shift.  From the Marina we walked over to JBR to meander about the shops there, I for one can’t wait for Muji and River Island to open and Nat fell in love with Essential Antwerp.  Yet more shops hit the post weight loss shopping list!

sofitel-dubai-012From the shops we went to Sofitel, on the way we spotted a couple taking wedding shots on the roundabout which did seem a bit odd as it’s not remotely picturesque – still to each their own.  On arriving at the bar at the Sofitel we realised that the wedding reception was happening there.  Well we both felt rather sorry for the couple, the weather by now had gotten a bit gloomy and the whole thing was outside.  There were also a fair few people at the bar who were able to watch the festivities – some of them were in beach gear and no shoes and Nat and I hardly looked like glamorous wedding guests.   It was really a shame that the hotel hadn’t thought to provide some privacy for the wedding.  Still I hope that they were so blissfully happy (they certainly looked it when they were posing) they didn’t even notice us!

All in all it was really a lovely weekend even with the food poisoning!  I hope that you all had wonderful Easters!!

 

 

Old friends and New places

df8241201517c3466d6fab94cc411608My lovely friend H was able to carve out an evening during his stint working at Art Dubai to have dinner with Bond and I.  I was so pleased to be able to see him as we have been friends for such a long time and he is one of my favourite people.  H and Bond also get on really well which made for a fun evening!

Naturally we went to our regular haunt ‘Frankie’s which was a great choice because H remembered me hosting my birthday at the London branch all those years ago!  It’s enjoyable to be nostalgic every once in a while and he was telling me stories I had long forgotten. Bond is now not drinking in the run up to his big running event and I was very impressed that he managed to be abstemious while H and I indulged ourselves.  H is getting married to his Colombian fiance in Cartagenia and Bond and I are invited.  I for one can’t wait and Bond is excited too – and even more so after H told us all the plans.  It should really be a fun time with old friends and I am looking forward to meeting lots of new people too. It is an added bonus that his fiancee is terrific and makes him happy so it should be a joyous day watching two people I really care about committing to spend their lives together!

3We called it a night not tooooo late and Bond and I enjoyed a walk along JBR taking in the #DubaiCanvas festival that’s going on at the moment.  These pieces of art are really very impressive but my photo’s are definitely not sadly!  It’s on Instagram though so do have a look at them.  The giraffes are my favourites and looking at this photo it seems I am not the only one.

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The following morning the sun was shining so we met at the pool to soak up some rays (that tan is still not really turning up though!!) and then agreed to a cinema date night.  Bond had seen the trailer for ‘Eye in the Sky’ and was keen to see it and as it’s the last film Alan Rickman made I also wanted to see it because I really thought he was talented and he is a real loss to the acting world.

Before the cinema we decided to break with tradition and try a new restaurant and not go to the counter (i know…shocker!)  Tom Aikens just opened his Dubai outpost ‘Pots, Pans and Boards’ right on the beach.  I was a bit of a fan of Tom’s kitchen in Chelsea so I was intrigued to see what his Dubai gaff would be like.  The menu looked promising and the service was great too from the second we arrived.  Our drinks were delicious and Bond announced that the milkshake makes top 5 in Dubai which is a big accolade as he is quite the connoisseur nowadays (my blood orange punch was also excellent).  Bond won the ordering with his spatchcock chicken, while my crab burger was delicious it was battered and rather negated the healthy option I was hoping for.  The creamed spinach was also delicious but again covered in cheese so not as healthy as you’d anticipate.  All in all the food was REALLY good but I think the menu could do with far better descriptions so you know what you’re getting.  Honestly I was very impressed by the place and we will definitely be going back…i’ll just leave the diet plan at home!

220x320_38e0fdc9dfbe981567983d9bad611ff2So following dinner we headed on to the movie, I can’t urge you enough to go and see ‘Eye in the Sky’; though if you also watched 13 hours at my recommendation then after this it will definitely be time for some comedy!  I for one am looking forward to Zootropolis after a glowing review from my friend.  I digress, back to ‘Eye in the Sky’ which is full of suspense and emotion that will keep you on the edge of your seat.  The film is all about a scheduled drone strike in Kenya in order to capture known terrorists.  As it unfolds it becomes clear that the simple ‘capture’ is not to be and hard decisions have to be made.  The film is at its’ centre an expose of the conflict between morality, politics and military solutions in this sort of situation.  The part I found fascinating was the portrayal of the different approach the Americans and the British tend to take, as well as women versus men.  The other interesting factor was the idea that all these people wanted power, but not apparently the responsibility that comes with it.  At every moment people are passing the buck to get out of making a decision.  All in all it’s an amazing expose of what happens with these drones and the people who control them.

From seeing an old friend, to finding a new favourite place and watching a good movie this was a lovely weekend!

 

Ahhhhhhhhhh Ajman

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Now that I have found I LOVE spontaneity (as long as it is somewhat well planned, baby steps!!!) Bond decided we should go away for the weekend and I said ‘YES’…you know because that’s my new approach to life!

Bond recently joined the Starwood Preferred Guest scheme which comes with all sorts of rewards when you travel.  The nice gentleman he spoke to proposed that we head to the Ajman Seray for some luxury without the Dubai pricetag.  We had never been to Ajman before and decided now was as good a time as any to tick off another Emirate.

The drive was easy and we got to the hotel within 45 minutes making it a painless breakaway.  It still amazes me that all this is on our doorstep!  Ajman itself is not the most beautiful of  Emirates but the creek is rather pretty and the sea is bright blue and clear which is a nice change from Dubai.

From the moment we arrived to the moment we left we were made to feel totally special. The nice concierge told us at check in that we were getting a double upgrade, once for the SPG member scheme and again for Bond’s promotion which I thought was especially lovely. The suite we got was HUGE, honestly I was seriously tempted to just move in.  Not only was it huge but beautifully appointed.  The bathroom was especially amazing, the bath was massive and the products were terrific!  We got two of each and the bottles were really big so we could really enjoy the luxury (and of course take some home…)

anastasiaOnce we had taken in the whole room we decided it was beach o’clock, swimwear and sunscreen on we found two loungers right on the beach and enjoyed the view. We read and relaxed for hours which was just what we needed.  Then we decided it was time for a sundowner, I decided to try the Anastasia cocktail which was delicious!  We sat there for ages just chatting and enjoying the sunset, it was totally blissful and just what we needed.  As it got a bit chilly we decided to head to our suite and change for dinner.

 

Bond had made a reservation for us at Mejhana, the Arabic restaurant.  It’s always a good sign when a place is full of locals enjoying themselves and when the food arrived we could see why the place was so popular.  Everything was totally delicious, especially the mezze starters!  The waitress was so lovely and took me to the patisserie place so I could have my favourite cake for dessert which was wonderful.  It was these little attentions to detail that really makes the Ajman Seray stand out.

After dinner we went to chill out on the balcony and enjoy the great view and talk some more and to eat MORE cake because the hotel was nice enough to provide a congratulations cake for Bond which was the perfect end to an already perfect day.

The next morning we hit breakfast and we tried everything possible.  The food was delicious and there were so many options too.  The scrambled eggs were my favourite though!  The only downside was a lack of pork station which of course came as a disappointment but everything else was so good it made up for it.  We also tried Guava which Bond loved and it turns out that I really, well, don’t…YUCK! A lesson learned the hard way…

IMG_2885From breakfast to the pool to soak in some more rays, the weather really came through for us so of course Bond is as brown as a berry and I am marginally less pale…I really enjoyed sitting in the jacuzzi reading my book and just relaxing.  Then Bond persuaded me to swim in the sea which was so lovely and calm that we could even see little fish swimming around.  We swam for ages and enjoyed the water and I felt so relaxed afterwards.

Soon it was SPA time which is my favourite thing EVER, I am so lucky that Bond is also a fan and will happily agree to some pampering time.  The spa at the Seray is only two years old and it feels brand new as they have maintained it so well. We were especially lucky because we were the only people there!  We went to the segregated parts to sauna/steam etc and then we went into the couple’s spa treatment.  Bond is so hard he had an intense sports massage, I am a more delicate flower though so I went for this…

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and believe me the word bliss is not an exaggeration!  Also it’s been a few days and my skin is still silky soft and smooth and even a bit firmer.  I am thinking this may have to be a regular thing for me!

Once we had finished at the spa we had to accept it was time to go home to Dubai…now to book our next stay in paradise!!!!