Conference Chaos

train station

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So last week I had my first conference with my new job where we headed to Frankfurt.  My first experience of Belgian trains was extremely positive, I had a yummy eclair and beverage at the platform with my colleague, the train was comfortable and clean and arrived bang on time.   From then on though the trip descended somewhat into chaos as I realised that German efficiency was not going to be deployed.

First we had huge boxes to cart around (thanks to my valiant colleague I mostly stood and guarded them while he hefted them until he managed to force someone to give us a trolley).  Then we finally dropped all this off and tried to check our emails and do some work that was urgent for our event the next day.  Naturally the WiFi did not want to work and so we had to work from our phones, less than ideal for sure!  By the end of the day we were absolutely exhausted!

Thankfully we had the most enjoyable evening with the rest of the team and felt somewhat refreshed after our ordeal of a day.  We got to bed late but happy we had survived!

Up early the next morning our spirits were instantly deflated when we realised our conference room had not been set up!  Soon we were moving tables and chairs and cleaning the floor.  Not ideal!  Then we realised all our attendees were lost all over the vast conference centre.  Cue me running around in my Ferragamos trying to find them – btw those are the WRONG shoes for such a job!!  Eventually everyone had arrived and we started the event which thankfully proved to be a HUGE success and almost made up for my sore feet!

In the evening we had another team dinner, sadly neither my Belgian or Romanian colleague were overly wowed by German cuisine – the fries left much to be desired I was informed.  British boarding school obviously made me less fussy!  In any case we had a good time together and it was good to get to know each other all a bit better.

The last day of the conference was certainly the best as I got to actually go to the stand and meet the people that we help support in their projects.  It was great to learn more about their work and see the difference that our work can make.  I really enjoyed the feeling that in some small way I make a difference to them.

We took a late train home armed with donuts and chatted all the way back.  I got home to Bond who earned major husband points by greeting me with a bloody Mary ready made and a hot bath with bubbles!  As he had also been away on a business trip I was really touched and it instantly made me feel better – exhausted but happy.  Not a bad end to a hectic week really!


Books brilliant books!!

landmark cloudy building brussels

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Now that we live in Brussels in my parents place I have access to my dads library which is amazing.  He has a great range of books and I am trying a few things I might otherwise never have read which is great.

I have started with ‘Londoners’ from my dads shelf.  As a born and raised Londoner who left home a few years back and still can’t face the idea of going back I was intrigued by this book.  The cover says it all really

‘The Days and Nights of London as Told by Those Who Love It, Hate It, Live It, Long for It, Have Left It and Everything Inbetween.

As someone who left but falls bang slap in the middle of love and hate with my home city this book was a great read.   I think if I had never left I would have been annoyed by some of the views people hold on my fellow Londoners.  There are a great deal of stereotypes that I previously resented but now have had to accept are true.  Why don’t we speak to each other?  What’s the fear of smiling at a stranger?  Also must we speak so fast?  My poor colleagues for whom English is a second language said ‘luckily you annunciate which helps’.  Five years away and still I speak like I just drank a litre of coffee, ironic as I don’t touch the stuff!  It’s also true that we think we come from the best place in the UK and are a tad dismissive of the rest of the country.  The parts I loved most of these books were the hidden parts of London that showed the good of the city, especailly the tale of the lost and found at the train station – it will restore your faith in humanity.

big ben bridge castle city

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For me I love London for the people, nothing will ever take the place of those old friendships that I slip back into like a favourite pair of shoes.  The city itself may be the footwear equivalent of having to run a marathon in stilettos but the friends make it feel like there will always be a sofa and slippers ready to recover with.  For those friends who have always dropped everything to see me – you’re my London and I love you far more than I could ever love a place.

My move to Brussels pushed me to read ‘Merde in Europe’ by Stephen Clarke.  Hilariously written and easy to read I finished it in two days (the commute on the metro has massively increased my ability to finish books!)  It was great realising how many of the places I know and recognise – my local metro station even gets a mention.  Having only been here a few weeks it’s great to realise how at home I feel here.  I even felt defensive when one of the characters was rude about the food…Belgian cuisine is in fact brilliant and the produce in their supermarkets is unbelievable.  Our little local carrefour is full of great stuff that doesn’t cost the earth!  Straciatella yoghurt is a game changer btw!  I now want to read the rest of his books as I find his style amusing and engaging.

Having finished that I just started ‘Back Story’ by David Mitchell (the comedian, not the author of Cloud Atlas as he is quick to point out!)  It’s very funny so far and enjoyable to read (the chapters are the perfect length for my commute which shouldn’t be a criteria but does mean I can really enjoy it without having to stop mid paragraph.  There is something charmingly endearing about David Mitchell, and as Bond will tell you – being endearing is a huge character plus in my book.  That endearing and charming self deprecating way he has comes across brilliantly in this memoir.  I am only a couple of chapters in and already I can’t wait to eat some more…and on that note, back to my book  I go.



Well it’s been a while…

I am sorry that I have been missing in action for an extremely long time!  A lot has happened in the past year but now that we are settled I feel it’s time to start blogging again!

So First things first – Bond and I got married!  We had the best day ever (though I imagine everyone thinks that about their wedding!)   It was extremely special to share this momentous occasion with so many people we love and care about.  Everyone made a big effort to make it the perfect day and we felt so extremely lucky and happy!  We danced till very late in the morning and just had the best time celebrating.

Post wedding we went to Mauritius for our honeymoon which was BLISS.   It is such a beautiful Island with so much to see and do.  We were lucky enough to stay at the Four Seasons where we were treated like royalty.  We were able to really  enjoy some quality time together looking at the gorgeous beach and we also got out and about.  We went to the races and to a rum tasting as well as a tea plantation.  We were so lucky to see so many amazing things!

After Mauritius it was back to a stint of ‘real life’ in Dubai where Bond had to work and I was able to enjoy a bit of a break from working life and wedding planning!  We had decided that this was to be our last few months in Dubai so we made the most of what we still wanted to do and saw friends to say our goodbyes.

In March we packed up our bags and headed off on our next adventure!  We went to India to explore around and then on to Jordan.  Both countries were incredible and special in their own unique ways.

From Jordan we went back to the UK for some time with Bond’s family which was lovely.  His new niece is cute as can be so it was fun playing with her!

Then a stint in London to see my friends which was great fun – it had been too long!

From there a jaunt to the US of A. California, Ohio and Atlanta!

We then had some time back in the UK before heading to our final destination…Brussels, Belgium.

We have now been living in Belgium for a few weeks.  Bond is working on his new business and I have a job which so far I am really enjoying!

It has been a very hectic and full on year full of fun and new experiences! Now though time to get back into blogging and sharing the fun that Belgium has to offer.  Oh and now I work a four day week I am finally finding time to read – book reviews to follow!!


Ajman…amazing again!

ajman-sarayOn our first trip to the Ajman Saray we fell in love with the place and went back and loved it all over again.  So when Bond proposed a spontaneous weekend away back to this magical place for the third time I leapt at the chance!  I was hopping with excitement and danced and sang in the car while Bond drove, apparently this is preferable to my navigational and driving tips!  It’s only a 40 minute drive from where I live so an ideal spot for a quick staycation.

The second we arrived the luxury experience started.   We were greeted with champagne and a room upgrade to a fabulous suite with a sea view.  As we had skipped breakfast we decided to have a healthy and nutritious snack before heading to the spa, but then we realised what a silly idea that was and instead had milkshakes and split a cake.  The holiday was officially on!

feature-hot-stoneWe headed on up to the spa after gorging ourselves and were led to the couples suite.  The GOCO spa is totally beautiful and the staff are so lovely and relaxed that you feel instantly at ease.  Bond had convinced me to try a hot stone massage and my word am I glad that he did.  Even three days later I feel like a new woman with relaxed muscles and my neck is straighter.  Bond had the same treatment and said he felt rejuvenated too…so much so he was kind enough to buy me a beach dress in the spa shop!  I felt very spoiled and instantly wore it to go to the beach so I could show off my chic new look.

safi-restaurantThe rest of the day was spent enjoying the beach, swimming in the sea and having a cocktail at sunset.  We also watched a lovely couple celebrate their engagement and they were kind enough to share cake and wedding favours with us which was so lovely.  It was the start of many lovely moments the weekend offered us. Soon we went to dinner at Safi restaurant which was delicious.  The food is Japanese fusion and they have a buffet so you can try all sorts of different dishes.  I especially enjoyed all the sushi which was so fresh!  The Japanese pancakes were also delicious and Pom enjoyed his noodles a lot.  The cake section was also incredible and we tried every single one and practically rolled out of the restaurant.

After dinner we went to the bar where we had yummy cocktails and chatted away. It was so lovely to have so much quality time together as Bond has been working so hard recently!  It felt like we caught up on so much and also shared our thoughts and hopes for the future.

photo1jpgThe next day we started with a delicious breakfast before heading straight back to the beach where we enjoyed some fabulous weather. The sun shone brightly and I have even got a bit of a tan which is thrilling after many pale years in Dubai. Bond then managed to persuade me to go on a jet ski which turned out to be brilliant fun!  We fell in but we were laughing so much we didn’t care, although Bond did lose his cap to the Arabian Gulf sadly, still such things are replaceable!  On our return from our adventure the hotel were kind enough to give us cake and champagne to celebrate Bond’s new job.  It was so lovely of them and the perfect way to end our blissful stay.

uae-flagAs we drove away from our little piece of paradise I told Bond that it couldn’t have been a more perfect weekend and I can’t wait to go back.  If you live in the UAE or you’re looking for a mini break then I recommend the Ajman Saray, you will leave feeling like a shiny new person!

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!


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.


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!


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.


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!!  

I found the party…

…and it’s from the Phillippines!  At the weekend we went to a cocktail and cake party. Officially a GENIUS theme for a party, my two favourite things combined!  It was a new bunch of people I hadn’t met before and it was really fun to meet new people.  The cakes were fantastic too – oreo and red velvet cake was my absolute winner.  We had a really good time but a lot of the talk was of the club we were heading for later.  Everyone was raving about it and to be honest Bond and I were mystified.  We had googled the place when we got the invitation and it looked like a total dive bar…still we wanted to be good sports so we ate our last bit of cake and downed the last of our cocktails and jumped in a cab.

club-seven-dubaiWe ended up at Club 7 – now if you live here you may already know it, if you don’t then let me offer you an insight.  It’s a really low key place with decently priced drinks, they even have these beer pump things (technical name of course) on the table. Now affordable drinks in Dubai are already a winner…but the real reason to hit Club 7 is the entertainment.  When I saw the stage I was intrigued by what we may be presented with and I was blown away by the talent we saw!  It was like watching ‘Britain’s got Talent; Philippines addition’.

First off we had a band, the voices on these girls are incredible!  Seriously I was in awe of them belting out chart toppers all while busting out some major moves.  Each member did great solos and they were all super talented.  The next act were a dance troupe – I had NO idea people’s bodies could even move the way these guys can.  It was incredible to watch, they body popped and flipped themselves around and had the most amazing control of their bodies.  I couldn’t believe my eyes!  After they had finished another band came on who also proved to be fantastic.  They belted out some real classics and chart toppers and we were all really enjoying ourselves.  I was DESPERATE to dance so when people finally hit the dance floor I grabbed Bond and we threw some shapes…let’s just say that the dance troupe didn’t rush to hire us!  Still we had a lot of fun and soon our whole group were dancing.

We stayed pretty much till the club closed dancing and singing along and enjoying ourselves.  My feet were very sore the next day but it was totally worth it!  I had fun and I racked up a few thousand steps on my fitbit…a success all round!

Now to plot our next visit…

Wedding hole…

bridezillaIt has been FAR too long since I wrote but since getting engaged I have been spending all my free time obsessively looking at wedding related stuff!  It turns out that there is an awful lot of tulle to wade through – metaphorically and literally when I tried on dresses!  Anyway I have put pinterest and Brides aside and have had a lovely day of catching up on various blogs I love – it’s been wonderful to read the adventures you’ve all been up to.  Now I figured I owed you a bit of an update and a promise to be a more regular blogger, I have really missed it myself so hopefully this will be an easy promise to keep!

Since getting engaged Bond and I have been celebrating almost constantly.  First we took a trip to the UK for our friend’s beautiful wedding (many tips for our day were noted!) in Surrey at Cain Manor.  It truly was a stunning venue and a moving day, all the speeches had me in floods – there was a lot of love in that room for sure.  It was a wonderful start to our trip as we were also able to see old friends and dance into the wee small hours!

'You're going too fast! Slow down! Look out! You're getting too close!'From the wedding we drove in our rental car to Bond’s parents in Devon.  The driving was mental, the roads suddenly seemed so narrow after Dubai and of course for Bond it’s the first time he has driven me in the UK since I got my licence, it transpires my back seat driving is even more irritating back in blighty…you’d have thought he would have been grateful for my helpful hints really!?  On arrival we  were greeted with some fizz to celebrate and Bond’s mother had made us a special engagement fruit cake which was terrific!   It was lovely to be back and to catch up with my future in-laws.  The following day my sister and brother in law to be joined us too!  I really enjoyed being with them all!  The weather was glorious for our whole stay, we were able to go for long walks and do some all important shopping.  Oh how I have missed TK Maxx!! I spent a few days in Devon and then headed back to London leaving Bond to spend  bit of time with his family without me.


Why is rain never this glamorous?!

I braved a Train (with tickets I had efficiently pre-booked online and thus ended up in first class as it was cheaper, only in the UK eh?!)  for three hours and as we got closer to London it got greyer and greyer and started to rain.  I was most peeved!!  The city I grew up in had not dressed up at all, especially disappointing as I went right past the Shard and it just looked rather sad being lashed by the rain.  A quick taxi and then I was able to have lunch with an old friend, it was a comedy of errors from all the lights going out and then the fittings all springing a leak!  Anyway we were able to see the funny side about playing musical chairs, never a dull moment…

As I had all my luggage I took another taxi (my word the cost compared to Dubai still shocks me!!) and went to meet my friend who is an incredibly talented designer.  The plan is that she will make me the dream wedding dress…we had fun talking about sketches and catching up.  A lovely experience all in all!

clc-0117Soon it was time to go to the Lansdowne Club to see my amazing American adopted family who had come over for my mother’s 60th birthday!  It was so fun to see them after what has been far too long!  A little while later my parents finally arrived and soon it was really time to celebrate all together – the engagement, my mother’s birthday and of course being reunited.  We had a wonderful dinner and just chatted and chatted, I enjoyed every minute and I just wish we got to spend more time together!

browns-bride-window-2015The next morning after a decent nights sleep I went to see my best friends new house AKA the cottage of dreams, it is GORGEOUS!!  For years it’s been her dream to have her country cottage and this place is just blissful.  I couldn’t be happier for her!  She and her fiance are loving it there and are now in the thick of wedding planning now that the house has all come together.  It will be fun to be each others bridesmaids especially as we have found bridesmaids dresses we both love so now we can buy each other one!  A result for sure!  After our champagne breakfast we went back to London to go to Browns Brides to try on some dresses for ‘inspiration’…my aunts and my mother joined us at Browns and soon I was encased in more dress than I have ever seen before!  It turns out that the bridal industry doesn’t cater for midget and even in heels on a MASSIVE box I was still drowning in fabric.  I am lucky I have a friend who can help me out in this because I tried on a Monique Lhullier that cost more than a decent car and felt underwhelmed…it turns out you can take the girl out of the black body con but you can’t necessarily shove her in a wedding dress and make her happy…please wish me luck and any ideas would be welcomed!!!!!

the-ivy-kensington-brasserie-bar-shot-2From dress shopping we went to have a restoratative beverage and then my mother and her bestie headed to high tea, those women know how to live for sure!  The aunts, my bestie and I headed back to the Lansdowne to meet the uncles and to get some drinks on board!!  We sat in the courtyard and had yummy cocktails and got a tiny bit tipsy…we then comandeered my aunt and uncle’s room and changed for dinner.  I had invited my bridesmaids for dinner at the Ivy Kensington as I had little presents for them and I wanted the excuse to see them!  We had a lot of fun gossipping away and I think the gifts were a hit so that was lovely.  I am so lucky to have such amazing women in my life – and now I ge to dress them however I like mwahahaha (just in case they are reading, butt bows AND stomach bows ladies…get ready!!)

805736757-sayings2757On Friday I went with my mother to look at potential London venues and summarily wrote them all off.  It turns out that EVERYWHERE has a ‘special entrance’ that doesn’t really feel terribly special at all and rather feels like you’re losing out on all the magic of the main place!  I was a tad despondent because I felt the dream crumble to dust and I just didn’t know what to do but my mother is a resolutely positive person who felt we could make it work so I was all smiles by the end of the day.  Just as well as a rather special someone was going to have her big party!!!

52855lMummy and I went to the Lansdowne club and made ourselves look pretty…Dad had put Bond into service blowing balloons and ordering cupcakes so I had a bit of time on my hands!  Soon people began to arrive and so I went to get my mother so she could make her entrance for her big party!!  So many people came from all over the country and even the globe which was just wonderful.  There were lots of speeches and it was a really joyous event all together. My in-laws all came and met my mob so that was really great, they all commented how much love there was and it’s true.  We have manged to find great friends and we were lucky enough to be born into a pretty special family.

549415d42123f7b1c420f277de4f7e82On Saturday Bond went to have lunch with his friend to see if the lovely guy would agree to be his best man!  Thankfully he said yes and we are both delighted and certain he will do an excellent job!  While they had their man time I went to meet the Americans for a bit of quality time which was lovely as my parents were at the Trooping of the Colour.  Rather generously every year the Queen throws her parade on my mother’s bday and this time she actually went along and watcehd in style.  Pretty fitting for a 60th!  We managed to spot the Red Arrows flying by while we were having lunch which was amazing too!


c84af830efa30e5927a4ad36037d88c3Later I went to meet the family for tea!  The whole lot of us took over a corner of Richoux, my cousins were there with their kids and my uncle and aunt came too and Bond joined us to meet the youngest generation.  The ‘minis’ as I call them are all growing far too fast for my liking and will no doubt tower over me like the rest of the family!  It was fun to see them and to be presented with art works and to see that the eldest is doing his level best to keep his English up so he can speak to his mono-linguistic cousin (namely me).  I had great fun asking them to be flower girls and page boys and I think they will look adorable, so long as they stay at least a head shoulder than me…

61cefhsdpqlAfter tea my parents and Bond and I headed off to open our birthday presents. I am now 30 and Bond is about to be and so my parents wanted to give us our pressies in person.  We were both spoiled rotten!!  My big gifts were a Kate Spade golden party bag and a black Diane von Furstenburg handbag with metallic lining – I love them both and they add glitz to any look!  Bond received a smart wooden watch box so he can keep his new watches in style!  We are very lucky indeed!  They had also found lots of fun couple presents and even romantic food, heart shaped salt for example!!  The Germans have all sorts of fantastic ideas.

maxresdefaultIn the evening Bond and I hosted a party at the Army and Navy club for all of our friends to celebrate the fact that we are now 30 and engaged!   We were so touched by the amount of people who made the effort to be there with us.  They spoiled us with gifts and cards and made us both feel really special.  All in all it was an incredible evening that lasted into the wee small hours and left us feeling a tad worse for wear the following day.

On our last day in London we mainly ran errands and tried to avoid the rain before hopping on our flight back to Dubai.


Since being back we have celebrated our birthdays even more – including a trip to the Burj al Arab for amazing cocktails and a cinema trip to Finding Dory so that I could recapture my inner child!  We just enjoyed a long weekend for Eid al Fitr where we mostly relaxed and recharged our batteries which was just what we needed!


For those of you who manage to read to this of this epic monologue – thank you and apologies for the essay!!!

Back with a bang!

Sorry I have been a bit MIA recently, work has been crazy busy and also there just hasn’t been a whole heap of news!

HOWEVER this weekend was super special and I can’t wait to share it with you all!

IMG_4017On Friday morning we woke up at 3 am and headed to a secret destination.  We ended up at the Dubai Outlet Mall and got in a bus where we were whisked off to an air balloon!!  I have always wanted to go hot air ballooning and this more than lived up to my expectations.  The weather was AMAZING and we got to see sunrise over Dubai which was incredible. Honestly I was blown away!  The guy who was operating the Balloon was great, Donatus pointed out all the spots and landmarks.  I couldn’t believe the amount of greenery that has been developed in the middle of the desert.  I loved every second of it, we were really lucky to have a nice fun group too. We landed with a bit of a bump and then we got into the most stunning Audi A8 with a chauffeur to head to the next secret location.

IMG_3918We drove for a few hours, we mostly slept to make up for the early wake up call. As we were both a bit peckish we took a quick stop at a mall, naturally there was an ice rink even though the mall is in the middle of nowhere!  We stopped and had donuts at Tim Horton’s (my fave!) before we headed back to the car, then in another hour we ended up at the Anantara jetty and jumped on a ferry to the hotel.


Bond told me that we were staying at the Anantara Bani Yas desert Island Resort and spa. I was so happy as I have been desperate to go there.  When we arrived I was ecstatic.  Without doubt this is the most gorgeous place I have EVER been in my whole life!!! When you arrive they serve you hibiscus juice which is so yummy, and they give you a cool towel to freshen up.  I knew from the first second that this was going to be an unforgettable experience!

We got escorted to where we were staying, Bond had booked us the most amazing private villa with it’s own plunge pool and terrace. It was beyond luxurious, I have never stayed anywhere like it in my life. They had decorated it all with rose petals and towels in the shape of swans, I was OBSESSED with the towels, they were so cute and fun.  We had a lot of fun enjoying the pool, Bond was laughing at me gamboling about, I swam 100 laps…which would be more impressive had the pool not been two metres square! We had a yummy ceaser salad by the pool and then got ready for the next part of our adventure.

IMG_3975Bani Yas is a nature reserve, and believe it or not there are Giraffes and Cheetahs roaming around.  I honestly could not believe what I was seeing when we went on our safari drive. I fell in love with Giraffes, they roam free and are totally wild.  The nature reserve is run to keep the animals as wild as possible.  The gazelles are leaping all over the place – they are so cute and endearing really frolicking about. Mark who was our safari guide was lovely and so informative and passionate. Having started the safari thinking giraffes were cool but not a patch on penguins he totally converted me to these majestic animals.We were able to see sunset as well and honestly it felt exactly like I imagine being in an African game reserve might feel.  I totally forgot I was in Abu Dhabi!

When we had finished the safari we went back to the hotel to change for dinner.  Bond poured us a glass of champagne and then we walked out to the beach where he had arranged  for a private dinner.  The lovely Ali served us some more champagne and brought over cocktails.  He was attentive and charming.  Soon we wandered down to the beach to enjoy the view which was just beautiful.  When we came back to the table Bond dropped to one knee and proposed!  I was more than happy to say YES and I am delighted to share with all of you the best moment of my life!!  I don’t know if I will ever be able to put in words how I feel at this moment – I am still floating on a cloud!


The next morning we woke up and had a yummy breakfast and then off to the spa!  This is my hand blissed out post facial…it was perfection!  The ladies were so sweet and excited for us, it was the perfect end to the perfect weekend.  Sadly we did have to go home but as our driver was SO lovely even the return home was a treat.

I urge you all to go to Anantara Bani Yas – it’s a paradise on Earth staffed by angels.  Bond, if you’re reading this, I love you, this was the PERFECT proposal and you’re the best fiancee I ever could have hoped for!

I am a bad blogger..sorry all!

This week I have massively slacked off on my blog, I just got really busy and I am only now finding time to write this over due post.  This is now going to be a roundup of the weekend and the week…here goes!

mad-men-title-cardSo this weekend we decided to have a quiet Thursday night and tried a new Pizzeria which was great!  Now if only I could remember the name…sorry!!  Still I am sure we will order again and I will update you all then.  It was a lovely evening in and we finally started watching ‘Mad Men’ – I know I know we are WAY behind the times!  So far I am really enjoying it but I am waiting for it to really kick off.

On Friday we met up for a pool sesh which was lovely!  Then I even managed to fit in a gym session, I powered through and did an hour on the treadmill…I seem to have twinged my knee a tad so I took time off the C25K and took some advice from a gym buddy.  I upped the incline and reduced the speed and the calories seemed to MELT away.  I nailed through nearly 400 calories.  I stretched off afterwards and even felt fresh in spite of the fact I had pushed myself quite hard.  I figure if I do this a few more times I will lose some of the weight I have gained quick enough to make a difference to how my dresses fit…fingers crossed!

nezesaussi-grill-720x340In the evening I undid my hard work by going for dinner with Bond at Nezesaussi at Souk al Manzil.  It’s a great South African Sports bar and if you like your meat then I can’t encourage you enough to go.  The food is EXCELLENT and super fresh.  The pork ribs were especially wonderful, the marinade was delicious.  We ordered some divine wine from Stellenbosch which was a definite highlight. I am so keen to go back and try the sausages as I bet they are excellent.  I definitely recommend it if you want a relaxed night out with excellent food!  I had most definitely overdressed for the occassion so to make up for it we decided to go for champagne cocktails at the Manzil courtyard hotel.  It was really great to toast Bond’s success with the marathon.  The manzil is really lovely, very laid back but chic and has a nice buzzy atmosphre.  also if you like Shisha then definitely check this out as they had lots of flavours!  All in all it was a really fun Friday night!

750x421On Saturday we decided it was time to run some errands…so off we went to Mall of the Emirates.  First Bond needed new shirts (need is a stretch, he said need but I think it was more ‘want’) so off we went to Hackett and he got two new additions to the collection. From there it was time to get a vase and we lucked out as Marina Home was having a sale.  From there new flat shoes for me from H&M (which were an actual need!) and then on to the dreaded Carrefour…which I will not regale you with, one because I don’t want to bore you and also I don’t want to relive it!

maxresdefault1Sadly the weekend had to end sometime and so on Sunday it was back to work.  I braved the gym again but it was really full of people which was a shame as I wanted to do some toning. I also did a yoga session so I felt really smug by the time I got home!  In fact I have begun to enjoy yoga this much I got up this morning and did two sessions to make up for the ones I missed while I was doing all the car madness.  Who knows I may soon be like Adriene…well a girl can dream!

jetty_lounge_rm2On Monday it was the leaving do for one of my closest friends at work.  We have had lunch together practically every day since I got here so it is quite a wrench to say goodbye!  She is off back home to China and I miss her already – even though I know this is the right move for her.  Anyway we had cake during the day with everyone and my boss made a lovely speech which moved us both to tears!  Then in the evening a load of us met up to go for drinks at the Jetty Lounge at the One and Only.  The Jetty lounge is a really lovely spot where you can enjoy a luxury experience right on the ocean!  They do great food and cocktails and have a decent wine list too!  We all had a really good time hanging out together and reminiscing about old times.  It was an oddly sad but fun evening…

enoc_-_tasjeel_select_plus_cardTuesday night I said goodbye to Percy Peugeot…I had decided to buy my colleague’s car when she announced her emigration.  This meant it was time to return Percy to the owner all the way in motor city.  Anyway it was not the most emotional goodbye really as I was SO excited to have my own wheels the next day.

For those of you who have not bought a car in Dubai yesterday I learned the hard way that it is not the easiest process!!  One of the guys from work came too so he could say a last goodbye and also to save myself taking a taxi.  The three of us got to work…first you take your car to the ‘testing centre’ where they apparently check the car is safe.  Then you fill in some forms which turned out to be a major hassle as my insurance company had in fact registered me incorrectly!  Anyway two and a half hours later I had my car registered, insured and salik tagged (for the toll booths throughout Dubai)…if any of you are going to do this then for sure take the VIP service like we did, I can only imagine how many hours it all takes otherwise!

Anyway now I have a new car, it’s another Peugeot 308, silver this time and with a much nicer interior.  So far it’s driving really well and I like the feeling of responsibility of car ownership!

All in all a hectic but fun week really!

This weekend we are off to brunch at the Westin to celebrate Bond completing the marathon madness!!

C25K – the one where the app went mad

…and decided I was ready for week 3 day 1 even though I was SURE I was still on week 2 day 3! Anyway the app was having none of my complaints so I decided I better bite the bullet.  I had done my ten minutes on the bike and stretched and so there was no more procrastinating to be done…

I fired up the treadmill and thought, gosh this is FINE, what a lot of fuss over nothing!  I did my 90 seconds of running and then my 90 seconds of walking like a champ and then Sarah Millican says ‘well done Pet now for 3 minutes of running’ and I nearly hit the roof! THREE MINUTES???  Is she mad I thought as I started my running…and then I kept running and running and it felt like a LIFETIME, honestly I thought she was never going to pipe back up and say walk!  When she finally did I felt like a champ for making it through, and then I got to walk for 3 minutes which was great.  Then it was back to running for 90 seconds and I was so relieved, I thought I was over the worst of it but I was WRONG!  Sarah pipes up again and says ‘off you go for another 3 minutes – you can do it’ and I am sure she meant to be inspiring but it failed and instead I found myself hating her for three minutes, only to love her again when she said I could walk.  My relationship with Sarah is a bit of a rollercoaster I have to say.  I walked my three minutes and then thanked my luck that it was just 90 seconds from then on!!

This session was a wake up call that I really needed to do this to get fit!  It shouldn’t be so difficult for me to run 3 minutes and I certainly shouldn’t feel the need to curse my favourite comedian during it!  Today is my rest day and then tomorrow I am back to it…hopefully having done it once I will find it easier to do it again!?  Fingers crossed anyway!

In happier work out news the yoga is still going well so hopefully I will keep both up and soon be a fitness guru!  Well at least a person who can run for a few minutes without wanting to cry?!