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!

 

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!!

 

 

Oops it’s been a while!

I am sorry that I have been MIA for the last few days.  My parents came to visit and so I took a few days off to spend quality time with them.  We packed a lot in to their visit and I was even good and took pictures of a few things (of course wordpress is now not letting me upload them…I will try to sort that at the weekend!!!)

On the day that my parents arrived (after a four hour delay poor souls) I went to meet them for a catch up at their friends place in Umm Sequum where they were staying.  It was lovely to see them and they were on good form despite being tired!  We went on a mission to Mall of the Emirates to get dad set up with a Dubai mobile number and there may have been a quick trip to H & M where dad treated mummy and I to a few bits (this skirt in green is my new fave thing!).  From there we headed back to get ready for dinner at Le Petit Maison in DIFC for dinner with the legal eagle and her parents.

The restaurant is lovely but it’s a sharing concept and I will be honest that’s really not my favourite thing. Still we all agreed that we were anti-sharing and so decided to just get what we each wanted!  One MASSIVE steak later I actually began to rethink my aversion to sharing to be honest.  It was delicious though as was the apple tart I followed it with! I would say it’s good food in a nice place but it was wildly over priced.  If good French food is your thing and you want a nice venue then La Serre would be the better bet in my opinion…

The next day I had to work sadly but then I joined my parents and their lovely friends for dinner.  We went to the so-called ‘fish-shack’ in Umm Sequum for some really authentic food.  They catch the fish and cook it right there!  Honestly it’s the freshest fish I have ever had.  We also had spicy prawns which were yummy.  I am going to take Bond there soon because it’s a lot like going to a fish&chip shop back in the UK which will be a fun nostalgic trip for us as we always used to go when he lived in Port Solent.  They recently got a new building too so you can sit in comfort with a decent view of the water and boats.  After gorging on fish we decided to walk it off a bit and went for a stroll, our good intentions were foiled though when we came across a Gelato shop.  I decided to try kinder bueno flavour which was excellent!  It may have replaced hazelnut as my new favourite…

On Monday I took the day off to spend time with my uncle who flew in from Mauritius to see us all.  We met in the Jumeirah beach resort hotel which is really beautiful.  The lady serving us was beyond charming and I had the yummiest jasmine tea.  Bond came to meet us for a late lunch at Jamie’s Italian.  I have been to the one in London but never tried the Dubai outlet before.  It really was terrific, I had truffle and mushroom risotto which was perfection.  We were all abstemious and didn’t have dessert…so boring as the menu had some great choices!  It was so lovely to see my uncle after far too long and for Bond to meet him again.  Hopefully he will have more stop overs here so we can spend more time together!!   Fingers crossed one and all please!

After my uncle left for his flight the four of us went to Box Park as my parents haven’t seen it before.  Box park is really fun and has lots of cute shops and restaurants.  Bond treated us to lovely frozen yoghurt from Yoghurtland too.  I was very good and had the sugar free option with fruit!  Bond had to leave to go for a training run and so I took my parents on to City Walk to see the shops there.  I really like these two parts of Dubai because you can walk outside and enjoy the nice weather rather than being stuck in a mall.  Also both areas have quirky shops which I enjoy exploring and my parents did too.  We went to Sephora where I finally got my eyebrows done by the lovely girls at the Benefit Brow bar.  What these ladies can do with tweezers and wax is really most impressive and i encourage you all to go and see them for all your eyebrow needs…It will be a shame when the heat intensifies and these places are no longer accessible!

The following day I was also off work and so I picked up my parents for a trip to Dubai Mall which is always a must.  My mother also wanted to make the most of my store discount in Sephora.  She is now all sorted for her La Prairie and Dior skin care needs for quite some time…I also got some new nuxe skin care because I am obsessed with it and apparently I lack any self control!!  We had a fun day exploring the mall and then we had a quick bite at Markette.  I definitely recommend Markette, the food is great and the service is impeccable.  The beetroot quinoa salad is especially good and combines two of my preferred ingredients.

On Wednesday I had to go back to the office (Boo!) but it seems that my parents had a super time getting massages, lucky so and so’s!  In the evening I was invited back to their friends place for dinner.  They have a great delivery place called ‘Eat&Drink’ which I thoroughly recommend, the food is good and not that expensive either, always a winning combination!  It was fun to just have a casual evening and catch up with them all.  As I was driving our friends made me tonic with lemon so I could pretend to have a cocktail which I thought was really sweet of them.  All in all it was a lovely evening!

Thursday I had yet another day at the office but I spent the whole day in a good mood because we had been invited to a boat party.  I had never been on a boat before in Dubai so I was really excited to go because everyone who has ever been told me it was so much fun!  I really enjoyed the whole experience of seeing Dubai from a different angle – it’s really a beautiful city with an amazing sky line.  It’s always fun to see Dubai with people who don’t live here too because we do take it for granted and it’s important to be reminded of how lucky we are to be here.  My parents kept saying how amazing the skyline was and it made me really look at it again and appreciate it.  Having now done it I really want to go out on boats more, it’s a great way to get away and feel free!

On Friday Mummy and I had a girly day with her best friend, we did some shopping and had scones and teas at her lovely villa.  It was a really fun day out, it’s so lovely that Mummy’s best friend lives out here!  In the evening we had dinner with some great friends of ours that I wanted Mummy and Daddy to meet.  We all went to Frankie’s which is easily one of my favourite places in our neigbourhood.  The food is excellent, the staff are great and the live music adds a great vibe ( I think I have blogged about it a fair few times). Every time we go we have a great time and it’s become a firm favourite with everyone we have ever taken (the happy hour is also a bonus!)

On Saturday we had a quiet day but in the evening I had my parents over for dinner, having roped Bond in to do the cooking obviously…My mother and I tackled the supermarket for the necessary ingredients, in spite of the somewhat useless cheese counter assistant we were able to find the perfect goats cheese.  Bond made excellent chicken stuffed with goats cheese wrapped in prosciutto (after a quick trip to the pork section of course), it was absolutely delicious as was the asparagus he paired it with.  We finished up with Apple Crumble (Waitrose’s finest) and custard (again thank you Waitrose) both of which were very good!  My parents were thoroughly impressed and I fear Bond will be prevailed upon to cook more often now!

Sunday was Valentine’s day of course (Happy Belated Valentine’s to you all!) and I took the day off to spend it with my parents as it was their last day in Dubai.  We headed to the massage place they had raved about…and now I must join them in raving too.  ‘Taiy Pradit physical medicine and rehabilitation centre LLC’ truly is fantastic, it may not be as luxurious as hotel spas but the quality of the massage is far better.  They dug out every knot in my shoulders and though it hurt at times I felt like a new woman afterwards!  Following the massage we went to say goodbye to mummy’s bestie which led to us going to Satwa to do said bestie a favour.  We may have got a tad lost so it took a while longer than I had anticipated!  I hadn’t been to Satwa before and was impresed by the Iranian Hospital which is all mosaiced, it was so beautiful I couldn’t believe it was a hospital!  Having completed our mission we headed back to my parents hotel so they could change before our Valentine’s dinner.

We had all decided to go for dinner at Rhodes Twenty 10 which is Gary Rhodes’ restaurant at Le Royal Meridien Hotel. We had been once before and my mother fell in love with the foie gras brulee they do so we figured this was the perfect place for a special occasion.  We decided to go totally cheesey and went for the Valentine’s package.  It was five courses of amazing food and we even got welcome drinks and roses and a perfume for each of us as well as gorgeous silver tea light holders!  For all you foodies out there I urge you to go to Rhodes, it was really incredible!  The white tomato soup amuse bouche was really a highlight, it was unusual and delicious and more like a fluffy foam than soup.  The smoked salmon was also delicious and the halibut was another highlight.  We then split a Chateau Briand which was cooked to perfection.  The desert platter was another score, each part was delicious though my favourite was the sticky toffee pudding.  I even indulged myself and had an baileys and coffee which was the perfect ending!

All in all it was a terrific visit and it was sad to say goodbye to my parents though I can’t wait for their next visit to have even more fun in the sun!

 

 

I am the flat pack queen!

ikea_mainThis weekend Bond agreed to hit IKEA with me to get a chest of drawers to store my many make up/skin and hair products so that they no longer live all over the place!  While we were there of course we went a bit over board, the place is dangerous…

Bond also needed to get fitted for his suit to wear as an usher at his friend’s wedding, the only place to get this done was at Moss Bros so we headed over to Yas Mall (the only Moss Bros in the UAE – who sadly did not have the right suit).   As I have a bigger car than Bond (his flashy sports number was not designed with flat pack in mind!) I drove.  The last time Bond allowed me to chauffeur him was a few months ago, he said that I have improved greatly but that I am a speed junky and I have to agree!

ColourCheck; No InfoOn arrival at Ikea we did a tour around to see what the right chest might be and of course on the way many other things made their way into our trolleys.  We each got a fluffy rug for by our beds so that in the morning we don’t have to deal with the cold tiles.  Now that the temperatures are dropping and we both lack any kind of heating rugs are vital!  Bond also decided that he HAD to have a clothes horse because he fell in love with one in Marina Home but it was way too expensive.  On spotting this one in IKEA it was in his trolley pronto!

Eventually I decided that ‘Hemnes‘ was the ideal chest of drawers for me and I teamed him with the lovely ‘Arstid‘ light (typically odd Ikea names!) Having sorted our new furnishing it was time for some food!

We headed into the mall to have a feast at Giraffe which Bond treated me to.  I love the food there and the carbonara I had was absolute perfection.  Bond had enchiladas and they were yummy too.  The service was excellent and we will definitely be going back!
Before leaving we headed to Borders to collect Bond’s copy of 1984 – with his new obsession with Person of Interest I reckon it is a must read.  I may steal it for a re-read soon.  If you haven’t read it I definitely urge you too, it’s almost a bit TOO accurate to be honest though I warn you!

When we got all my bits and bobs back to mine I started building, I have been putting together flat pack furniture for years as my mother is not such a fan of this sort of thing and as it was just the two of us for quite a while my inner tom boy was called to play.  You should also see me whizz up and down a ladder to change a lightbulb!  The Hemnes proved to be a bit more of a challenge than I had previously come across, however I defeated it in the end (even though I bashed my nail with the hammer!)  I get a big sense of accomplishment from building these things and I will enjoy using it all the more having built it! Now they live with the gorgeous Pouf Bond got me and my full length mirror and I finally feel like a real grown up with a proper dressing table!  One day I am hoping for the real princess dressing table but for now my new set up is definitely very swanky.

I also got myself some Muji storage pieces to make sure it all stays looking good and tidy…Muji is fantastic for all sorts of bits and bobs you may think of.  I had to control myself and not get too many things!

Now with all my new kit the next challenge is to keep it all tidy, wish me luck!

 

Perfect Products

I have recently found some new products that have really wowed me and so I thought I would share them with you!  New year new me and all that!

1001788_0001-originalNUXE is a brand that I have fallen for (sorry Caudalie, you have competition!)  I went to Sephora looking for a moisturiser that really packed a punch as my current one just didn’t seem up to the job.  The lovely lady there got me started with a serum and moisturiser that work together.  Both products smell gorgeous and feel so smooth on the skin, I am a bit obsessed with the creme fraiche moisturiser!  They really keep my skin soft and I don’t have that dryness any more.  I am tempted to try more products in the range, I hear that their micellar water is really good too!  As well as taking care of my face, they also do a body range; NUXE body contouring oil is an absolute marvel, having always hated my legs because of cellulite this has actually made a difference!  It feels lovely on your skin and smells divine too, I couldn’t recommend it more to anyone who has issues with their skin on their legs.  It’s selling on amazon.co.uk at a really reduced rate for those bargain hunters out there too!

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I think the fact it looks like medicine is quite appealing…

Dr Sebagh eye cream – I have a real hatred of the dark circles I have around my eyes (any hints to get rid of them would be greatly appreciated!!) as a result I have tried a lot of different products.  My latest find is this Dr Sebagh ‘eye primer lift’ – now it has not really made much difference to the dark circles, however any sign of wrinkles has been eradicated and my whole eye area does look better.  I will have to see what products they offer for dark circles!  I am a big fan of the brand and was lucky to find a lot of it on sale as it’s not a cheap product sadly!

 

braun-satin-brush-with-specs

Ionic hair brush – this was a Christmas present from my mother and I have to say it is a hit.  I find that it makes my hair look smoother and frizz free and it also seems to be making my hair a bit stronger. It’s cordless so you can carry it in your handbag to ward off any frizz that may come throughout the day!

davineswellDavine’s hair products – while I was in Berlin the wonderful Mariusz got me started on this new range of products.  Love hair smoother is truly terrific, having forgotten to use it once I can really testify to the difference that it makes when you use it styling your hair! Their Love conditioner is also wonderful, it’s like a mask and Mariusz said to use it once a week which I have been doing and I can really see the difference.  It’s so good that my mother has strict orders to bring me more!  Looking at their web site Davine’s seem to do a different range for every kind of hair so I am sure you can find something for you!  The hair builder looks like it could be next on my list…

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OGX shampoo and conditioner – as I only have the weekly conditioner and styling creme from Davines I needed to get a new shampoo and conditioner to use day to day as apparently the Kerastase I was using was ‘ALL Wrong’ – picture that said by a very tall and stern Polish man and you’ll see why I decided I needed to change!  He said that the way forward was something organic and containing Moroccan oil.  When I went to my chemist she said to go for OGX as apparently it’s wonderful.  Having used it for a few weeks now I have to agree, this stuff is great (although it’s not strictly speaking organic)! My hair feels stronger and shinier than before and the product smells really lovely too even if you skip a day washing…

EGC press release SGJo Malone Fragrance – this was a Christmas present from Bond and I love it.  He actually managed to find a fragrance from there that I love.  I am pretty impressed because every time I have been to the store myself I have failed to find ‘the one’ and at that price you want it to be perfect.  The one he got me is cucumber and Earl Grey which sounds odd but somehow really works.  I use it every day and it works well for day and evening which is always a bonus! He got me the grapefruit body lotion too which I am waiting to use once my Kiehl’s souffle ends so I can tell you what it’s like, it smells great that much I do know.

 

5ecde6523a02a25e6148d6d272bfdc81MUFE lipstick – a recent gift from my lovely friend I have become a tad overly keen on my pink lipstick.  It’s apparently bang on trend and everyone at work has been raving about it. I think it’s going to be my signature look!  The feel of the lipstick is also really nice, it is very moisturising and long lasting, I couldn’t be more impressed!  MUFE hits it out of the park yet again!  They do a couple of different lipsticks, this one is Rouge Artist Intense and if you feel like getting in the pink the shade is ’36 Satin Fuschia’.

 

All in all these have all been great finds so I hope that if any of you try them you enjoy them as much as me!  Please do let me know!