Notes by Nectar

Your destiny lies in your own hands

Dubai 2016: Week 12

Another busy week!

After the gym on Sunday, Dad and I decided to go out for lunch. I wanted to look at some dresses at the Dubai Mall – I was having my birthday drinks on Friday and wanted to look around. He wanted to look at electronics. So we decided to have lunch at Markette, opposite the Aquarium.

We got there at around 2pm. We both ordered the smoked salmon galette, which was much heavier than I thought it would be. I ordered a mixed salad on the side and Dad had the seafood chowder.

After lunch we walked to Debenhams. I was so full – and perhaps trying on clothes after a heavy meal wasn’t the best idea. There was absolutely nothing that I really liked. I tried on one dress, but it looked awful. In the end, I decided I’d wear something I already had.

We walked to the electronics section and stopped at Samsung. I had a look at the new Samsung Galaxy S7 Edge, which I’d had my eye on for a while. I decided I’d buy it, and in the end Dad bought it for me as an early birthday present. We went home and I spent the rest of the afternoon setting up my new phone and then worked into the night.

I had a session with Pete on Monday morning. A friend of ours was in town on his way back to Bali so we met him for lunch at the JW Marriott Marquis. I’d been craving Italian food (no idea why) but the Italian restaurant, Positano, was closed for lunch. We ended up at Kitchen 6, the ‘international’ restaurant. There was so much food – I started with some hummus and salad. I then wandered over to the Italian section, but I’d also spotted the roast beef and Yorkshire pudding, so I ended up with that instead. The trouble with buffets is I just don’t know what to eat (or when to stop).

After lunch, we went back home. I did a bit of work and then went to Arabic.

After the gym on Tuesday, I got on with some work. That evening, I went to Bahri Bar for a friend’s birthday. It was ladies night so we got three free glasses of Prosecco. We also had some food – and because we had Entertainer vouchers, two of the dishes were free. I was home by 10.30pm and did a bit more work.

After my session with Pete on Wednesday, I worked until the late afternoon. I had a piano lesson and then went straight to Arabic. It took me 20 minutes to get to the Trade Centre from Said Tower 1, which is almost just across the road! Traffic is crazy at that time of day.

I went to yoga on Thursday morning. By the time I got home after running some errands it was time for lunch. I also came home to this box:

2016-03-24 13.28.03

And when I opened it and put the pieces together I had a terrarium for my desk.

2016-03-24 13.10.33

Apparently it needs minimal care (thank God) and it’s very cute.

I got back into my pajamas and worked for the rest of the day. I didn’t want to go out that night as I knew Friday would be busy and I didn’t want to be tired. Clearly, this is a sign of age.

My sister arrived with her friends early on Friday morning. She was staying at the Shangri-La for Easter weekend, but popped in for a while to say hi on Friday morning. After lunch I walked over to the Shangri-La to get my hair and nails done, and she and her friends joined me at the salon. I relaxed for the rest of the day (the three of them went to the Dubai Mall).

That evening I’d invited a few friends to celebrate my birthday at the Ikandy at the Shangri-La poolside. I got there a little before 8pm and was really pleased with the area they’d arranged.

2016-03-25 19.51.32

Two friends arrived at 8pm on the dot as they didn’t want me sitting there by myself. Isn’t that so sweet?? We chatted for a while and opened the vodka – and by 8.30pm a few more people had arrived. I’d asked the manager to serve the food between 9 and 11pm – and there was so much of it! I think everyone had a good time – I know I did. I’d asked friends not to bring presents, but some just couldn’t help themselves. By 2am I’d signed the tab and two friends and I decided to have a drink at the Balcony Bar before they walked me home with my presents.

I spent most of the next day relaxing. I opened my presents (mostly books, alcohol and wine glasses), had some lunch and got back into bed while my sister and her friends traipsed around Mirdif City Centre all day. I met them in the evening at Ikandy for a drink before heading to Zuma for a late dinner. It was a very chilled evening…

I love my life.

For more updates, click here.

Leave a comment »

Dubai 2015: Week 18

I had hoped that this week would be quieter after the crazy weekend I had, but it was just as busy. In terms of working out, however, I did nothing.

I stayed in my pajamas all day on Sunday. I was supposed to have a session with Trevor (which I cancelled) and a meeting that afternoon (which I also cancelled) and I just stayed home. I hadn’t switched on my laptop in three days and had a lot of work to catch up on.

On Monday evening NP took me to La Petite Maison as a belated birthday treat. Our table was booked for 8.30pm but we decided to go earlier and have a cocktail at the bar. We both ordered tomatinis and had a good catch-up. We sat at our table shortly after 8.30 and ordered a lot of food! We were told that they didn’t have the pissaladière but everything else was available. To start with, we had: burrata (naturally), marinated salmon with pink peppercorns, salt cod croquettes and sea bass carpaccio. For our main course we shared the salt-baked sea bass and the grilled entrecote. We also ordered the dauphinois potatoes. We also had a wonderful bottle of red wine. It was a lot for two people (but we managed), and when the dessert menu came we shared the cheesecake and ordered two more cocktails. It was a lovely evening and a great birthday treat!

On Tuesday night, a friend had invited me and two others to La Serre for dinner. We met at 8.15 and had a drink at the bar. The bartender seemed very happy to see me, leaving the others wondering how often I went there (I hadn’t been in months, promise). We had a drink and then went to our table. For starters we ordered: fried calamari coated in plantain, burrata, tuna carpaccio with citrus dressing and grilled aubergine with feta and prawns. For our main course we shared a pasta dish, the whole sea bream baked in papillote and the 50-hour cooked beef short rib with sweet onion (amazing). We also ordered some sauteed spinach (too salty) and dauphinois potatoes. The restaurant was packed, just as packed as La Petite Maison the day before. We also shared a warm chocolate mousse for dessert and then went back to the bar to bring in my friend’s birthday at midnight.

I was home all day on Wednesday. That evening I met up with a friend and three of his friends at Tolosa Bodega in Souk Al Bahar. I didn’t know any of his other friends but it was an interesting evening. It was also ladies night so I was given three tokens for drinks. I left the ordering to my friend. He ordered: burrata (seriously), pequillo peppers stuffed with goat cheese, prawn croquettes, a seafood sharing platter and dauphinois potatoes. French restaurants three days in a row. Just think of all that butter.

I stayed in on Thursday catching up with work. That evening my parents went to the Dubai Mall for a movie and asked me if I wanted to join them for dinner afterwards. I agreed and met them at Vapiano. I could have (should have?) had a salad after all the heavy meals I’d had during the week but in the end opted for my favourite, penne with salsiccia pomodori (beef pepperoni, olives, pesto sauce and other fattening things). We were home by 9pm.

I got a lot of work done on Friday. That evening I went to Blended, at the Media City Amphitheatre. I went on my own but was meeting a friend who was there with a few other people. I’d bought a regular ticket but he spoke to someone and managed to get me a lounge pass for the concert. Performing that evening were Nico & Vinz, Robin Thicke and Kool & the Gang. I got there at about 7pm, Nico & Vinz were already on stage. I’d never heard of them but recognised their last song (Am I Wrong). Robin Thicke was on next – and again I didn’t know any of his music apart from ‘Blurred Lines’. He was on stage for a long time – and really seemed to love himself. And then came Kool & The Gang. They were awesome – and I knew most of their songs (some of which are as old as I am).

After the concert, I met up with a friend at Ikandy at the Shangri-La where he was staying. He was in town for just 24 hours so we caught up over a couple of drinks and ended up eating at Zaatar w Zeit next door. It was about 3am when I got home.

At noon on Saturday, some friends who were in town from Bombay came over. I was still in my pajamas when they rang the doorbell and wasn’t planning on going sightseeing with them and my mum. I eventually decided to get ready and go with them. Our first stop was Al Qasr – I wanted them to see the lobby and the view because it’s really something. After Al Qasr, we drove to the Palm Jumeirah. We didn’t get off at the Atlantis but did stop at the Anantara for a while, thinking we’d have lunch there. Unfortunately the lunch buffet didn’t look appealing at all – there wasn’t much variety to choose from. After that I insisted that we stop at the Zabeel Saray so they could see it. Honestly, one look at the pool and I just wanted to check in for a week! We went to the One & Only next – and I wanted to check in there too.

2015-05-02 15.32.54

Each hotel is more impressive than the last.

After our hotel tour, we decided to have lunch at the Mall of the Emirates. It was 4pm by this point and I was hungry. We ended up at Al Halabi, a Lebanese restaurant. The food was excellent – even better than Wafi Gourmet, I’d say. We wandered around the shops for a while and then it was time to go. We dropped them off at the Grand Hyatt and came home.

I hadn’t planned to go out that evening but my friend who was staying at the Shangri-La said he was meeting a couple of friends at La Petite Maison and asked if I wanted to join them. We got there at around 8pm. I started with a tomatini. We didn’t have a reservation but they managed to accommodate the four of us without any difficulty. Again, they didn’t have any pissaladière but we managed fine without it. For starters, we had: burrata, marinated salmon with pink peppercorns, warm prawns with olive oil, baked crab (on their new specials menu) and escargots. For our main course, we had: whole sea bream baked in papillote, grilled entrecote, grilled lamb cutlets (excellent) and rigatoni with mushrooms (but I was too full to try it). Guess what sides we ordered? Did you say dauphinois potatoes? Yes, that’s right. And French fries and green beans (I had neither). We also had a couple of bottles of wine (red, and all I can tell you is that the label has a drawing of a locust on it). Everyone wanted a different dessert so we ended up ordering three: the rhubarb and kumquat crumble, the cheesecake and the pain perdu. I had one bite of each. The cheesecake is still my favourite though.

After dinner, we walked over to Roberto’s – the guys fancied some cigars and whiskey. I hadn’t been to Roberto’s in a long time. I had a glass of Rioja while they enjoyed their cigars and Glenfiddich.

I love my life.

For more updates, click here.

Leave a comment »

Dubai 2015: Week 11

Compared to the previous week, this week was much busier, at least from Tuesday onwards.

I was home all of Sunday, apart from my session with Trevor.

On Monday afternoon I had a massage at the Oberoi. I’d have liked to go to the pool beforehand but it was a windy, sandy day. The last time I’d been there was in January and I asked to have the same therapist but she was away. Instead I had Hazel, who was also very good.

The spa at the Oberoi is different in that there’s no communal changing area with showers and lockers. Each therapy room is its own suite. So if you do use the pool before (or after) your treatment there’s nowhere to change into your swimsuit apart from the small toilet by the pool and there’s nowhere to leave your clothes and other items.

When I was paying for my treatment I decided I’d buy Trevor a gift voucher for a 90-minute massage. I still hadn’t bought him a Christmas present as I just didn’t know what to get! I figured you can’t really go wrong with a day at the pool and a massage. I enquired about couple massages – and the man at the desk told me they do them but it would be a woman giving the woman a massage and a man giving the man a massage. I thought that was weird. If I was having a couple’s massage I wouldn’t want some random guy in the room as well. Would you?? And doesn’t that contravene UAE laws about men/women being undressed in the same room??

I had a really busy Tuesday. I had my regular yoga class at home and then went to the World Trade Centre Club for a networking lunch. While I was at one of the sessions at the Literature Festival last week, I started chatting to the lady sitting next to me. It turned out that she knew a couple of people that I’d been doing some work for here in Dubai – and she told me that she was one of the founders of an organisation in Dubai called the International Business Women’s Group – and that they have a lunch every month for members and prospective members. She asked me to come along and thought I’d find it interesting.

I got there at around 12.15 and found my name tag. I paid for my ticket (AED 190 for non-members) and then had to pick a piece of paper with a number on it out of a glass bowl – that would be my table number. Everyone was very friendly and I met some really interesting women. One of the first women I met was a hypnotherapist – and this stunned me because just the day before I’d been thinking that I should see a hypnotherapist about my issues with stairs/descending. I’m not sure whether I’m over-reacting but I do think it’s getting worse – even stepping onto an empty descending escalator makes my pulse race. I told her what the problem was and she told me I’d need two or three sessions at the most and I’d be OK. Here’s hoping!

I also met a lawyer, a banker, an events coordinator, an explorer (!) and others. I even bumped into a friend of a friend. After about half an hour of mingling and canapes, we were asked to sit at our tables and our food would be brought over. When I reserved my seat for lunch I had to choose between the regular, vegetarian or healthy option meal. The regular option was grilled lamb chops with mint sauce, root vegetables and potatoes. The vegetarian option was open lasagna of Mediterranean vegetables. The healthy option (or Healthy Trendz, as they called it) was chicken breast stuffed with spinach. I went for the healthy choice and it was really delicious – much better than I thought it would be. After we’d finished eating, the guest speaker came on – that day it was Jane Drury, founder of expatwoman.com. She spoke for about 30 minutes – how and why she got started, and what’s in store for her company now. For dessert there was caramel fudge cheese cake and vanilla sauce. I had a few bites but didn’t finish it. I left at around 2.15pm – I was really glad I went and would consider joining the group as a full member.

That evening I met up with a friend for drinks at Calabar. We had a couple of bottles of wine and some food – it was a nice evening and I was home early(ish).

I had my regular session with Trevor on Wednesday and then settled down to do some work for a while. That afternoon I had a doctor’s appointment and then my piano lesson. After my piano lesson I went to Fitness First as one of Trevor’s clients was giving a talk about hormones and weight loss. I was there for about an hour – she talked about a lot of things and I think that if I don’t see results in a month or so, perhaps I should get a few things checked out.

On Thursday I had a friend in town from Mombasa. She was just here for a day in transit from Bombay on her way home. We met at the Dubai Mall for coffee. We ended up going to NOW Cafe on the Lower Ground Floor – she had a sandwich and we both had a cappuccino. Neither were particularly great and we ended up going Tim Horton’s where we shared a French vanilla cappuccino.

After that, my dad joined me at the mall. I’d asked him to come with me to look at laptops – I’d had mine for over three years and wanted to upgrade it. We went to Jacky’s but I didn’t really like anything there. I think the salesman was also a bit irritating which didn’t help. So we went to Jumbo Electronics and I settled on an HP Pavilion. As we stood in the queue to pay, my dad took out his wallet. ‘What are you doing?’ I asked him. ‘I thought you might need me to pay,’ he replied. I told him I was paying for my laptop myself. ‘If I’d known you were paying I’d have gotten something for myself too,’ he said. ‘What did you want?’ I asked. He said he wanted a new iPad – so I told him I’d buy him one. I think he was shocked. He decided on the iPad Air 2 and I paid for it. He was so happy! ‘Nobody buys me things,’ he said when we got home. And thinking about it, I suppose it’s true…

It was after 6pm by the time we got home and I was meeting a friend for sundowners and dinner at the Shangri-La. I freshened up and changed and went over to the Shangri-La. We had a couple of drinks at Ikandy to start with and then went to Don Alfonso for dinner. In Dubai, I usually find that restaurants serve great food but the service can be so terrible it sometimes ruins your meal altogether – but I have to say that at Don Alfonso both the food and service were excellent.

It wasn’t full at all when we got there – only two other tables were occupied. The manager helped us decide what to order as we just couldn’t choose from all the delicious things on there. (I have to admit I pointed out a couple of spelling mistakes to him I’d seen on the menu.) In the end, he suggested we share the lobster skewers for our starters and then each have our own main course. I ordered the John Dory ‘acqua pazza’ and my friend couldn’t decide between the gnocchi with mushrooms or the black squid ink and scallop risotto. She eventually decided on the latter and we also ordered a bottle of wine.

The lobster skewers were amazing. I wish I’d taken a photo. And considering he’d split the portion between the two of us, there was still a good amount on each of our plates. After we’d finished, they cleared our plates and a few minutes later he brought us a portion of the gnocchi with mushrooms split into two bowls – on the house. That was excellent too. And after that we had our main course. I’m glad I had the fish as it wasn’t too heavy – and was so tasty.

It tasted better than it looks - and I didn't eat the bread

It tasted better than it looks – and I didn’t eat the bread

The risotto was presented very colourfully and my friend said it was delicious. I was really full after all that food but we ended up sharing a tiramisu and then the manager brought us a tray of complimentary bite-size desserts. At this rate I would have to be rolled home.

What I liked about the place was that the staff were friendly, we didn’t have to tell them to clear the table after every course (which happens a lot here – waiters will bring more and more stuff to your table without taking away the empties), they didn’t serve each course as soon as the previous one was done so they weren’t trying to rush us through our meal, and the restrooms were at the back of the restaurant (whereas with the other restaurants at the Shangri-La you have to go up or down a level to get to the restrooms).

Which made me wonder why the restaurant was so empty. While we were there, two or three other parties came in for dinner but still more than half the restaurant was empty.

When I asked for the bill, I told the manager that I had an Entertainer voucher. He told me to save the voucher but that they’d still give us one of the main courses on the house. So we had the gnocchi and one of the main courses free! What an unexpected surprise! The manager also brought me an Essence form to fill in – the Essence card gives you 20% off in all the restaurants and bars at the Shangri-La. So I’ll definitely be going back.

On Friday I went to Taste of Dubai with some friends. We decided we’d go during the day as we thought it would be less crowded than going in the evening. This year we bought the VIP tickets – which included access to the VIP bar and lounge, three dishes from any of the participating restaurants and two drinks from the VIP bar.

We got there at about 1.30 and walked around, checking out the restaurants.

2015-03-14 12.06.11

It was already crowded by this time. The selection of restaurants this year was disappointing, I have to say: PF Chang, Katsuya, The Cheesecake Factory, Noodle House, Shang Palace, The Act. I could have just gone to the Dubai Mall or the Shangri-La and eaten there! Where was Nobu? Where was Hakkasan? We had some dynamite shrimp at PF Chang and went to claim our free drinks.

The queue at the VIP bar was ridiculous and unmoving. We eventually realised it was because they weren’t serving alcohol between 12 and 2pm because of Friday prayers. When we were finally served, we each ordered a glass of wine only to be given a glass a little larger than a thimble. I felt like Gulliver in Lilliput. And the wine tasted like sh…ardonnay.

We went out to the VIP garden area trying to find somewhere to sit and ended up standing in the shade under a tree. It was really hot that day – the first hot day after the series of sandstorms we’d had. While standing there, sipping our awful wine we noticed that there was another VIP section right next to us, which was for ‘invitation only’ guests. And then… about 20 feet away from us, UB40 got onto a tiny stage and started performing. What??? I had no idea they were even going to be there. And I’m pretty sure that nobody else outside the VIP area knew they were there or could even hear them. I ran into them in Ibiza last summer while I was staying at The Hard Rock Hotel where they were performing so to see them again here in Dubai was just bizarre!

2015-03-13 14.22.39 cropped

They sang about six songs: Homely Girl, Kingston Town, a few I didn’t recognise, and of course Red Red Wine. I also bumped into some other friends of mine, so we hung out with them for a bit and had our second free drink. After we finished our drinks, we decided to try some other food. We got the spicy tuna with crispy rice and chicken salad from Katsuya and then walked around trying to decide what to have. We had some mini desserts from a new company called Savarin – they were yummy and so refreshing! Now the place was absolutely heaving and I would have been happy to leave.

2015-03-13 16.44.06

We had a couple of dishes from The Act – both of which were excellent: the beef anticucho and the ceviche. We even considered going there for dinner the following weekend. By this time it was 4.30pm, walking anywhere involved fighting your way through a crowd and I’d had enough. We went back to the VIP bar, found a table and had some Prosecco. At 5pm, we called it a day and headed home.

I went home and got into my pajamas. I didn’t realise how tired I was until it was 10pm and I couldn’t keep my eyes open any longer. I’d been working all evening and still hadn’t had a chance to open my new laptop!

I spent all of Saturday at home too – working mostly, eyeing my unopened laptop on my desk. It would just have to wait!

And that was my week!

I love my life.

For more updates, click here.

4 Comments »

Dubai 2013: Week 18

After my Sunday session with Randy I had a doctor’s appointment at Medcare Hospital. I’d had a chalazion under my left eyelid for months and just couldn’t get rid of it.

2013.05.05 131504

2013.05.05 131308

I’d seen my GP and an ophthalmologist at the health centre where I’m registered. I’d tried creams and hot compresses and steroid eye drops but nothing worked. The ophthalmologist eventually referred me to an ophthalmologist elsewhere so I could get it removed surgically (they don’t perform surgical procedures at the clinic). I’d met her before I went to Vietnam and decided I’d do the excision when I got back.

I was nervous when I got there – more about the local anaesthetic than anything else! I was expecting to have a shot in my eyelid and then hopefully feel nothing afterwards. The injection was so painful – I wanted to cry. But at least the worst part was over with. Or so I thought! She gave me two more shots in my eyelid – the second one was quite close to the first so I didn’t feel it. The third shot was very close to my eyelashes and was the most painful of the three. Once the anaesthetic had taken effect, my eyelid was flipped back and clamped and the chalazion was cut out. I didn’t need stitches and it wouldn’t leave a scar as it was done from under the lid. It didn’t hurt but it was uncomfortable – I could feel a lot of pressure on my eyelid and I just wanted to get up and go home! (This is where the deep breathing exercises I’d learned in my meditation class came in useful!) The whole ordeal lasted about 15 minutes.

I went home looking like this:

20130505_152228

I had to keep the dressing on until that night. When she taped the dressing my main concern was that my eyebrow didn’t come off with the bandage! I went home and slept for a while. I couldn’t do much else! After I took the dressing off (eyebrow intact), my eye looked a little swollen but it didn’t hurt:

20130505_234412 (1)

I took it easy for most of Monday. By the evening I was feeling well enough to go to the third History of Islamic Art talk (I missed the second one). The session was about ornament and calligraphy in Islamic art. The speaker first covered ornament:

  • The early Islamic period (Umayyad and Abbasid caliphates): the Dome of the Rock in Jerusalem (completed in 691), the Great Mosque in Damascus (completed in 714), Qusayr Amra in the Jordanian desert, stucco decoration in Qasr Mshatta, Jordan and Samarra, Iraq
  • Umayyad Spain: the fountain at Madinat al-Zahra on the outskirts of Cordoba and the Pyxis of al-Mughira (carved in 968)
  • Art of the Muslim East: the Minaret at Jam in Afghanistan (1194-1195 or 1174-1175), the Samanid Mausoleum in Bukhara, Uzbekistan, the Shrine of Ahmad Yasawi in Turkestan, Kazakhstan (1398); Masjid-i Jami (14th century) and Masjid-i Mir Chaqmaq, both in Yazd, Iran

Some of the things she talked about with regard to ornament were ‘horror vacui’ (fear of empty spaces/emptiness), the impact of geometry (symmetry or patterning), the ability to make any theme a part of an ornament (including script), and arbitrary-ness – the idea of impermanence and that decoration is just a shell.

She then talked about calligraphy and the following:

  • The Koran in the 8th and 9th centuries (in Kufic script – which was square and angular)
  • The Koran of Ibn al-Bawwab (Baghdad, 1000-1001)
  • Ibn Muqla‘s ‘Six Pens’
  • Bobrinski bucket, probably made in Herat in 1163
  • Shazi pen box (1210-1211), now at the Freer Gallery of Art, Smithsonian Institution, Washington DC
  • Earthenware bowls imitating Chinese porcelain (9th and 10th centuries)
  • The tughra (official signature) of Sultan Suleiman the Magnificent (ruled 1520-1566)

I had another piano lesson on Tuesday afternoon and worked the rest of the day.

I thought the doctor was exaggerating when she told me I wouldn’t feel any pain or discomfort after the surgery. I expected my eye to feel similar to when I had my laser eye surgery but I really didn’t feel any pain at all. The swelling had gone down by Wednesday and you couldn’t even tell I’d had my eyelid cut open 2-3 days earlier.

On Wednesday evening I had another meditation class. We started with an anti-anxiety breathing exercise done lying down: inhale slowly for 4 counts, exhale slowly for 4 counts, inhale slowly for 4 counts, exhale slowly for 5 counts, inhale slowly for 4 counts, exhale slowly for 6 counts, and so on (as far as you could go without straining yourself).

Our teacher then talked us through a visualisation meditation which I really enjoyed. It involved: walking down 21 steps, a key opening a door to a private room, French doors leading to a terrace, your own private garden, small forest, sand dunes and a private beach. I was so relaxed by the end of it!

On Thursday afternoon I had a follow-up appointment for my eye (all fine) and then went to a dinner party at NP’s house to celebrate her birthday. Apart from her and her husband (who I’d only met once) I didn’t know any of the other seven guests – but I had such a good time. The entire meal was gluten-free and the food was excellent. There also seemed to be an unlimited supply of wine and champagne! It was a lovely evening.

One of my cousins arrived on Friday morning – he was staying for a few days. The two of us ended up going to Wafi Gourmet for a late lunch and then wandering around the Dubai Mall for a little while.

That night I met a friend for dinner at La Petite Maison. I’m not joking when I say I’d been dreaming about the burrata all day. I got there at 9pm but due to a misunderstanding my friend was 30 minutes late. I had a Tomatini while I waited and studied the menu. We eventually ordered our food (burrata, crab and lobster salad, escargots, calamars frits for starters, and salt-baked sea bass and the baked gratinated potatoes for our main course). The waiter came back 5 minutes later to say that they’d run out of burrata. I thought I’d misheard him – because how could they run out of burrata?? Do we have to pre-order it now?? I was depressed. I looked at the plate of burrata on the next table – would they notice if I helped myself? We ordered the goat cheese salad instead but it just wasn’t the same. I then ordered a bottle of Sauvignon Blanc with the sommelier. ‘Sorry, we don’t have that,’ she replied. WTF? ‘Just joking!’ she then said. Not funny. Not funny at all. The food was great but we were full after the starters as we’d both had a late lunch – and we ended up cancelling the main course and went straight to dessert (cheesecake). After dinner we walked over to Roberto’s for a couple of drinks and then ended up at Zuma. It was a fun evening but I don’t think I really recovered from the burrata episode.

I had another piano lesson on Saturday (a make-up lesson from April) and came home and did some work. There was a beautiful sunset that evening.

20130511_184810

That night I went to iKandy with a couple of friends. We had two bottles of wine and some food (the sliders at iKandy are really good). It was a really fun evening and I noticed that it was starting to get really hot at night – summer is definitely on the way!

I love my life.

For more updates, click here.

3 Comments »

Dubai 2013: Week 13

After the excesses of my birthday weekend, we showed no signs of stopping.

My friends who were staying at the Shangri-La invited us over on Sunday to hang out by the pool. We were there by noon and we took Vinay with us – he thoroughly enjoyed splashing around in the water. The poolside was crowded and my friend managed to convince the pool staff to turn a couple of sofas into a very large sunbed!

20130331_120601

We had pizza and several bottles of wine. At last count, it was four bottles (I think?). At about 4pm I went to The Fairmont to see my other friends who were leaving that evening too – we had a few drinks in the bar. I got home at about 7.30. I chilled out for a while and then met up with my parents, sister and brother-in-law at the Dubai Mall. We had dinner at PF Chang – their hot and sour soup really does hit the spot! By this point my hangover was starting to kick in. That’s the trouble with daytime drinking!

I was home all day on Monday – I was exhausted and was starting to feel jetlagged. That evening I met up with a couple of friends at iKandy for their ladies’ night. We met at 7pm and shared a few bottles of Prosecco – my sister and brother-in-law also joined us as the three of us were going on to have dinner at Ruth’s Chris Steakhouse at the H Hotel. I’d booked a table but the restaurant was completely empty apart from one couple in a booth. We each had a steak (my cousin joined as too) and shared the dessert and two bottles of red wine. I managed to use a couple of Entertainer vouchers too! My brother-in-law left late that night for Lagos…

By Tuesday I was sure I needed a new liver. The last few days had been mental and it needed to stop. I cancelled my piano lesson and stayed in my pajamas. All day. I was shattered. I did some work but didn’t leave the house. It was also my first day without alcohol in 5 days!

It was my cousin’s birthday on Wednesday and she had organised a girls’ lunch at Apres at the Mall of the Emirates. There were six of us at lunch – we shared a cheese fondue, some pizza, and some other random starters. We also had a bottle of wine between us. After lunch, we had planned to walk around and do some shopping but we walked around for about 20 minutes and quickly lost interest in everything. We headed home instead.

Thursday was busy. I had lunch at Vapiano at the Dubai Mall with my sister and then we did some shopping. She bought me a lovely Ted Baker dress for my birthday and had some of her own things to do! We went home for a while and then decided to go to Safa Park. None of us had been there – and Vinay was very excited. We got there at about 6pm so it wasn’t too hot.

IMG_2564 IMG_2566 IMG_2571

We walked around for a while and then my sister took Vinay and the nanny for a boat ride. It was getting dark by the time they’d finished…

IMG_2578

But Vinay didn’t want to leave!

IMG_2580

That night my sister and I went to iKandy for a drink. We just wanted to get out of the house really – and I hadn’t tipped our waiter from the night of my party as every time I’d been back to iKandy he’d had the day off or was ill. I finally got to meet him on Thursday evening – he told me that there he had kept what was left of the Patron XO Cafe and could pour us a shot now if we wanted one. I looked at him like he was crazy. I’d have to do that another night…

We had lunch with my cousin and her parents and kids on Friday. We went to PF Chang at Mirdif City Centre which was nice for a change. After that everyone went their own separate ways – my dad went home, my mum took Vinay to the kids’ area, my sister and I walked around the shops for a while.

That night we went to see Olympus Has Fallen. I’d heard it was good but had no idea what it was about or who was in it – I thoroughly enjoyed it!

We were back at the mall on Saturday. A sandstorm (or shamaal, I’ve learnt) had blown in and there was sand everywhere. My sister and I went to Tim Horton’s for a coffee but there was nowhere to sit inside so we ended up outside – in about 10 minutes we were covered in dust. It was gross. She ran her errands, I tagged along and then we went home. At about 8pm she realised she had to go back to the mall to change the iPad cover she’d bought. Kaleem, the driver, had already gone home so we had to get a cab. It was windy outside! We were in the mall for about 20 minutes and then took another cab back home. On the way home it started raining. There was lightning every few minutes and it was windy! It was so windy that when we got home I couldn’t push the cab door open – the driver had to turn the car around so that we weren’t against the wind! We had sand everywhere when we got home – our hair, our eyes, our ears. Yuck.

My sister and Vinay left late that night – the house was going to be very quiet after that!

I love my life.

For more updates, click here.

1 Comment »

Dubai 2013: Week 12

This was a crazy busy week!

On Sunday, my cousin and a friend were hosting a lunch at Roberto’s to celebrate my 40th birthday. When they told me they wanted to have a lunch, I told them it really wasn’t necessary but they insisted. And the invite they sent out really made me laugh. It said:

Oh no, say it isn’t so…
Amreeta is going to be the big 4-0!
She said, ‘A lunch? No way!’
But we decided to have one anyway!

I was up early on the Sunday. I thought I’d be able to go to the gym before lunch, but lunch was at 12.30 and I had to get my hair done before that too. I was tempted to show up in jeans but actually made a bit of an effort and wore a dress. Apart from the hosts, I was the first one to show up at lunch. By 1.15 most people had shown up and were seated at one of the two tables. There was wine at my table (naturally). It was a lovely lunch actually. They’d even had menus printed especially for us.

And I got lots of lovely presents! Champagne, perfume, jewellery, shawls, a Harvey Nichols gift voucher. My parents were shocked when I went home with all the gifts.

I met a friend for lunch at Jones the Grocer on Monday. I’d been craving the Wagyu burger and insisted we meet there! It was a grey day and it was raining by the time we left the restaurant.

20130325_152430

That evening I went to iKandy to sort out the alcohol and food for Friday night. I asked the manager what we would do if it rained on Friday? ‘Postpone it,’ she said. That really didn’t help my anxiety about the rain. It was something I hadn’t even considered until that day!

I tried to do as much work as possible on Tuesday because I knew that once my sister and friends arrived I wouldn’t get anything done. My piano teacher cancelled our lesson as well, and I didn’t mind as I hadn’t practised much that week.

A friend of mine from Hong Kong was supposed to arrive on Wednesday evening but just as I got to the gym for my session with Randy she called to say she couldn’t make it due to a family emergency. I was so disappointed – I don’t even remember the last time we met and had been looking forward to her trip. Much later that night, my sister and nephew arrived from Lagos and it was 5am by the time we went to sleep.

One of my friends arrived from London on Thursday morning. I laughed when I got a text from him saying ‘Fancy a pint at 5?’ – that was our standard Friday morning conversation when I lived in London. I met him at The Fairmont sports bar shortly after 5pm.

20130328_180247

While we were there another friend invited us over to his place for a drink so we went to see him at 7pm. My friend had an early dinner to go to but said he would join my sister and me at Caramel when he was done. Our table was booked for 10pm and he joined us by 10.15! We had two bottles of wine, some cocktails and some B52 shots.

I woke up on Friday morning not sure I’d even make it to 40. I didn’t know what day it was to start with. My cousin had arrived from London that morning and was staying at the Shangri-La Hotel so we decided to meet for lunch with a friend who had flown in from Lagos that morning too. We hadn’t booked anywhere but thought we’d try our luck at Zuma. We were there shortly after 12.30.

I spoke to the cow at the front desk:

Me: Do you by any chance have a table for three for lunch today?
Her: We don’t do lunch on Friday, it’s brunch.
Me: Do you have a table for brunch then?
Her: No. People usually book 2 weeks in advance.

She went back to texting on her mobile. I wanted to punch her in the face.

We walked around DIFC and thought we’d try at La Petite Maison. They had a table outdoors and would need it back by 3pm. It was only 1pm and that was perfect.

20130329_131214

All I wanted was the burrata but of course I ate whatever was put on our table! We also had a bottle of wine to go with our food.

That night I had my birthday party at iKandy at the Shangri-La. I’d invited about 25 friends – I wanted to keep it small – but was worried that because my friends are so random, people would find it hard to mingle and have a good time. Most people showed up (including three more friends from London who had arrived that morning and evening). My parents came for a drink in the first hour and then I packed them off to dinner. It was quite a civilised evening – until about 11pm when my brother-in-law bought a bottle of Patron XO Cafe (a tequila-coffee blend) and started handing out shots. It gets hazy after that – I’d started on vodka, had a shot of Patron and switched to champagne a little before midnight. I remember cutting the cake. I vaguely remember what I said in my speech. I don’t remember having many photos taken but there are loads. I don’t remember paying the bill at the end of the night. I remember walking home (just about).

Considering it was after 4am when I went to bed, I was up quite early on Saturday. My phone had been ringing since 10am and I couldn’t get back to sleep. I opened the presents I’d received the night before: books, wine, champagne, Scotch, an encyclopaedia of wine, shawls, a tapas cookbook (clearly someone who doesn’t know me at all), a ‘tree’ pendant, a necklace with my name written in Arabic on the pendant (which I wore to lunch).

I had lunch at Royal China with the family. I was tired but I knew the only way to get through the day would be to have a drink so I ordered a glass of Prosecco. And a Coke. And some water.

20130330_141514

The Chinese food really hit the spot. After lunch I got back into bed, just to chill for a while, and I had the place to myself.

That night, after I cut the cake at home with the family, eight of us went to Sho Cho for dinner. It was mostly my friends who had flown in from abroad and it was a relaxing evening. We had sushi and sake while we tried to piece together the events of the night before!

It was a fantastic birthday – and I was so touched that family and friends flew to Dubai to celebrate with me! I feel so blessed to have them in my life.

I love my life.

For more updates, click here.

2 Comments »

Dubai 2013: Week 1

Another busy week! I managed to get loads of work done as well as going out and about!

On Sunday my parents, sister, her husband, son and I went to Wafi Gourmet for lunch. As usual, by the time we get anywhere for lunch it’s almost 3pm. We ordered loads of starters and by the time the main course came, I couldn’t eat any more. We wandered around the Dubai Mall for a while and then I went home.

That evening I met up with a friend from London. We decided we’d meet in the lobby of the Shangri-La and then go to iKandy for a couple of drinks. I got there before she did and while I was waiting in the lobby, a man approached me. He was Middle Eastern and probably in his mid 50s.

‘Are you waiting for someone?’ he asked me.

Obviously, I thought. Why else would I hang around a hotel lobby? Then I thought that perhaps he worked at the hotel.

‘Yes, I am,’ I replied.

‘So am I,’ he said.

I looked at him as if to say ‘Well, what do you want me to do about it?’ and he walked off.

He came back a few minutes later and asked if my name was XYZ.

‘No, it’s not,’ I replied.

Thankfully, my friend walked in at that moment and we went to the bar. But seriously, what a freak.

We had a couple of drinks and I was home by 9pm. My parents were out so my sister, her husband and I just relaxed at home.

Monday wasn’t very busy. I went to get my hair done at the Fairmont and came back home. We’ve stopped using the sleazy hairdresser because he was always late – if he showed up at all! There were a couple of occasions where he’d cancelled at the last minute and that was just annoying. I did some work in the evening but could see the traffic building up on Sheikh Zayed Road from about 6pm onwards. I was glad we were staying close to home!

New Year’s Eve began with a drink at a friend’s place. She hosts a New Year’s Eve party every year and she doesn’t live far from me so I went for a drink. At about 10pm I made my way over to iKandy where my sister and husband had just got to. It was a fun evening – very chilled with unlimited alcohol.

2012

Four of us got through two bottles of Tattinger, a bottle of Belveder and a bottle of Chivas. There was some food brought to each table but by the time we got round to eating it, it was cold. The highlight was being able to see the fireworks at the Burj Khalifa from where we were.

2013
2013
2013

What ruined the night though was the DJ who was absolutely rubbish. He was flown in from the UK and played at The Ministry of Sound – and he only played ‘house’ music. However, if you requested a ‘house’ track, he didn’t have it. That would be the only criticism I would make.

We did our traditional dim sum lunch on Tuesday – just the cousins and spouses. We didn’t eat until after 3pm and we were all famished by then. That night, my sister, her husband, son and I went to Nando’s for dinner. It was the first time I’d been to Nando’s since I left London at the end of 2011 and I don’t remember the last time I had it in London either. It’s not something I’ve really craved or thought about at all!

I was home all day on Wednesday until dinner. We had a late table booked at La Petite Maison – at 11pm. It wasn’t very crowded at that time – and the kitchen was going to close soon after we got there. For starters we had the burrata (of course), the goat’s cheese salad, the beef carpaccio, the marinated salmon with pink peppercorns. We shared three main courses between us (although in hindsight we could have done with two): the pasta with black truffle (which was one of their specials that day), the sea bass with artichokes and tomatoes, and the grilled veal chop. We ordered a side of the baked gratinated potatoes. Amazing. We were too full by the end of it to order dessert.

2013

All I did on Thursday was work and go for my piano lesson. We spent most of the lesson working on different kinds of chords (major, minor, dominant, dorian) and ‘As Time Goes By’. I also got some new music – ‘Autumn Leaves‘ and ‘Comptine d’Un Autre Été‘ (from Amélie) which we looked at briefly.

I stayed in that night – I was tired from being out so much during the week.

My dad hosted a family lunch at Sakura on Friday – six of us plus eight other family members. As we were so many we ended up sitting on two separate Teppanyaki tables, which really defeated the purpose of a family lunch. Dad and I walked home after lunch, stopping at Tim Horton’s for coffee. We stayed in on Friday night but once Vinay was asleep, my sister, her husband and I walked over to iKandy for a drink. It’s so convenient that it’s just next door!

On Saturday my sister, her husband, Vinay and I went to the Dubai Dolphinarium in Creek Park. We aimed to get there in time for the 3pm show and made it with a few minutes to spare. Entrance to the park is AED 5 and then you have to buy tickets to see the show. Tickets were AED 100 for adults (AED 120 for VIP seats) and children under 2 years are free. I can’t remember how much a child’s ticket cost. We sat down and got some popcorn and the show began. There were four dolphins and two seals.

2013
2013

It was fun to watch but it was a shame the Dolphinarium is indoors – it was perfect weather for an outdoor show. I suppose they have to think of the hot summers here.

After the show we hung around outside while Vinay went on a camel ride and a horse ride.

2013

By 4.30pm we were famished and ended up at McDonald’s on Sheikh Zayed Road. After we’d eaten we went to Jumeirah Town Centre for a wander and then went home.

We stayed in that night and my brother-in-law left for Lagos.

I love my life.

For more updates, click here.

Leave a comment »

Dubai: Week 44

Another hectic week!

After my training session with Randy on Sunday, my sister, Vinay and I went to The Cheesecake Factory for lunch. We didn’t get there until 3pm and were told we’d have to wait an hour for a table. We decided to finish our errands and then go back for our table. It was 4pm by the time we sat down and I was famished.

We ordered the spinach dip and I had the herb-crusted salmon (as usual). My sister had a cheeseburger and Vinay had the kid-size portion of chicken nuggets and fries. We were too full for cheesecake. I think we’ll have to go back just for cheesecake one of these days.

On Monday I went to meet some friends at the Dubai Mall who were in town from New York on their way to Bombay. We met at Fauchon Cafe and caught up over coffee – with their two kids. It was good to see them. One good thing about Dubai is that people are always passing through here! After we were finished my sister and Vinay came to the mall so we walked around for a while and I bought another dress. That makes five dresses in 1 week. I think I’m done for a while now!

It was my first anniversary in Dubai on Christmas Day! I can’t believe how quickly the time has gone by. It feels more like 3 months rather than a whole year. Christmas Day is a regular working day here in Dubai but that didn’t really affect any of us. We opened our presents before lunch (Samsung Galaxy phones all round) and then went to Shang Palace at the Shangri-La next door for lunch. It was just the six of us and one of Dad’s banker friends. The food was good – but the service was a bit slow.

After lunch Dad and I went to sort out our micro SIM cards for our new phones. We went to Du at Jumeirah Centre on Jumeirah Beach Road. In the past we’ve always been to Du at The Dubai Mall and have always had to wait in line. This store was empty and we got served immediately. We sorted out our phones – I decided to get a pay-as-you-go SIM for my BlackBerry, just for BBM, as I’m not sure I can quit that just yet! And for AED 1.5 per day I can afford to keep both lines! We stopped at Tim Horton’s for coffee and then went home. I spent the rest of the evening playing with my new phone.

On Wednesday afternoon, my sister, her husband, Vinay and I went to Jones the Grocer for lunch. My sister and I had the Wagyu beef burger, her husband had the prawn linguine (which looked very good), Vinay had some French fries, and we ordered a portion of the truffle parmesan fries as well (I know, that’s a lot of fries). Service was slow, but the food was good. After lunch we went to MoE to have a look round. I tried on a few things but didn’t buy anything. Trying on clothes after lunch isn’t a good idea!

That evening one of my cousins came over for dinner. Our parents were out so we hung out at home, opened a bottle of wine and relaxed.

The flat was very quiet on Thursday as Vinay and his parents went to the zoo at Al Ain. I would have loved to stay home but had a busy afternoon! I went to my piano lesson – we worked mainly on ‘As Time Goes By’ and chords. We also did some work on Beethoven’s ‘Ode to Joy’ and modulation – where you change keys in the middle of a song. My piano teacher told me that if you can play a song in any key you can do anything you want. I think that if I’d had a teacher like him as a child I’d be a completely different musician now. One of the main differences I’ve noticed is that if I’m sight-reading I’ll hesitate if I can’t find the notes I’m looking for. His opinion is that you should play anything, even if it’s wrong – hesitation is one of the worst things a musician can do. I didn’t tell him that with my old piano teacher I’d be too scared to make a mistake because she would start shouting at me! I need to find my old music theory books and go through them, just to remind myself of a few things.

After my lesson, I rushed to Pastels in Jumeirah – I had an appointment for a colour and blowdry. The salon recently moved and the new one is lovely – bright and airy. The garden is full of beautiful flowers too – I might take my camera the next time I go! I sat down with my book, and was given a cup of tea and a mince pie. I’d forgotten all about mince pies and thoroughly enjoyed it!

I went home after that – it was almost 6pm by then – and stayed home that evening.

We’d been undecided about what to do for New Year’s Eve as my sister is nanny-less this holiday and wasn’t even sure they’d go out at all. We’d heard about a party on the Palm but it wasn’t my first choice at all. It would be a trek to get there and back and it just didn’t appeal to me. I tried to get a ticket for my brother-in-law as he had some friends going but the organisers were being difficult about giving a ticket to one person (rather than a couple – even though they were selling single tickets) and we decided it wasn’t worth it. I found out a few days later that the two organisers had fallen out and that the party had been divided into two. What did this mean for ticket-holders? Basically, if you bought your ticket from one organiser and your friends had bought them from another, you’d be at two separate venues. Good grief. What a disaster! I was so glad we decided against that.

I then got an email from Okku about their New Year’s programme so I spoke to them about booking a table. They had availability but I still wasn’t sure about it. And then on Thursday morning I was going through the paper and iKandy was listed as one of the places to be on New Year’s Eve. It was perfect – we’d be able to walk there and back, sit outdoors, and watch the fireworks at the Burj Khalifa at midnight.

My brother-in-law and I took Vinay to the Shangri-La that evening to find out about their deal. We ended up booking three tickets. I told a friend of mine what our plan was and she subsequently decided to join us and booked her ticket too. It would be a chilled New Year’s Eve – I don’t think any of us were up for anything too crazy.

I was home all day on Friday. That night one of my cousins and I decided to go to Zuma for some drinks and dinner. It wasn’t as crowded as it usually is on a Friday and we got a table in the bar area and started on the martinis – I had the raspberry and passion fruit. Amazing. We ordered some food and more drinks. My brother-in-law joined us. We ordered some more food and drinks. And the green tea and banana cake. Another cousin joined us. We ordered another round of drinks. It was an expensive night.

I didn’t want to wake up on Saturday but had been invited to a girls’ lunch at Royal China. I didn’t know half the people there but sat at one end of the table with my cousin and some friends from Lagos and London. It was a fun afternoon and lunch didn’t finish until almost 4.30pm. I went home to change and then headed to the Fairmont for a much-needed manicure and pedicure. I decided to get my hair done while I was there too! It’s a hard life.

On Saturday night I went to a party at a friend’s place in JBR. Their flat is on the 38th floor and the party was on the terrace. It was a really nice evening – there was a clear sky and I could see so many stars and an almost full moon. It was nice to meet friends from London and Lagos who are in town for the holidays too. At about 1am a few of us decided to go to Boudoir. Unfortunately by the time we got there our table had been given away! We waited outside for about 20 minutes but I decided I’d had enough and my bed was sounding more and more appealing. I think what killed everyone’s mood was the long drive back from JBR! My brother-in-law and I decided we’d go to McDonald’s on the way home. We sat at a table and he realised he knew the people on the next table from Lagos. A few minutes later a couple of friends who had been trying to get into Boudoir with us walked in! I suppose McDonald’s is the place to be at 2.30 on a Saturday night!

We got home at 3am and went straight to bed.

I love my life.

For more updates, click here.

Leave a comment »

Dubai: Week 43

What a busy week!

I was home most of Sunday but had dinner at Caramel with my sister and a friend who now lives in Nairobi. I really enjoy the food at Caramel but always forget how dark the place really is. I know I’ve said that before – but it does take some of the enjoyment out of eating there.

On Monday my sister asked me if I’d go shopping with her. I declined (as she knew I would) but when she got to the mall she realised she’d left her credit card behind (on purpose, I wonder?). I had a piano lesson to make up for the one I’d missed while I was in Singapore and then went to join her at the Dubai Mall.

My piano lesson was good, considering I’d hardly done any practising since my last lesson. My teacher gave me a few new songs to learn – ‘Skyfall’ and a Scott Joplin ragtime piece, and I did some more work on ‘Love in Portofino’.

I met my sister at the mall and we had lunch at Vapiano. I ordered the penne arrabiata which I’d never had before – it’s so good! We sat outdoors by the fountain. The weather in Dubai in December is just gorgeous.

And then came the shopping. I’m a terrible shopper – I can’t bear going from one shop to the next, browsing without looking for anything specific. We eventually ended up in Michael Kors where I saw a dress I liked and tried it on. I wasn’t sure about it but when I came out of the changing room my sister said I had to buy it. So I did. At least I have something to wear for New Year’s Eve. Now I just need somewhere to go! We also walked through the new Shoe District in Dubai Mall. If you like (love) designer shoes, you need to go there.

I was at home on Tuesday until the afternoon. My sister and NP had arranged a play date for the two boys. We met up outside Ski Dubai and took the kids up to the toy shop where they had a trampoline for the kids to jump around on – they had a blast.

Not much happened on Wednesday – I was home all day after my session with Randy.

Thursday was busy. I had another piano lesson (still working on ‘Skyfall’, Scott Joplin and ‘As Time Goes By’ and then walked to The Fairmont to get my hair done.

That evening I went to Wine Club. This time it was held at the Empire Room at the H Hotel and the format was a little different. Instead of having tables of 10, the wines were set up at different stations around the room. There was one sparkling wine, two white wines and three red wines. The wines we had were:

  • Chandon Sparkling Rose NV: In the glass, the colour is a dramatic deep pink with a blush of sunset. Intense ripe strawberry, juicy watermelon and fresh red cherry fruit aromas and flavours are interwoven with apple, pear and stone fruit. On the palate, the wine is creamy and seductive, with defined structure from the addition of still Pinot Noir at tirage. The overall impression is one of bold vibrancy and impact from start to finish.
  • Pascal Jolivet Attitude Sauvignon Blanc: ‘Attitude’ has a beautiful freshness in mouth, a frank attack, delicate green and lemon flavours, citrus fruits, green apple and kiwi aromas. The minerality gives a long finish to the wine, a smoothness and elegance.
  • Richter Wehlener Sonnenuhr Riesling Kabinett: This Kabinett has light, elegant, racy, honeyed green fruits offset by a firm acidity. From a very well-known and highly thought of vineyard and winemaker in the Mosel region of Germany. Serve well chilled.
  • Mazzei Belguardo Serrata di Belguardo: Intense ruby red. Aromatic with scents of ripe cherries, spice and chocolate on the nose. A rich, balanced red. Soft and well-structured with flavours of wild berries, spices and herbs. Abv: 13.6%; 80% Sangiovese, 20% Alicante Nero.
  • R Stuart Big Fire Pinot Noir (this was my favourite wine of the evening): Made in Oregon, USA. Voluptuous, ripe. Vibrant with rich chocolate, dark berries, fragrant new cherries and sinfully creamy texture. Pairs well with duck pate, fresh figs and goat cheese mousse.
  • Dourthe Diane de Belgrave Bordeaux Blend: Diane de Belgrave is produced at Dourthe’s Fifth Growth property, Chateau Belgrave. This beautiful estate in the Haut-Medoc is adjacent to the prized Saint Julien appellation. The wine shows an evolved crimson in the glass. Very elegant nose of red and black fruits with subtle, well integrated notes of cedar. Supple on the palate, with a rather velvety texture and juicy mid-palate; acidity gives good lift on the finish. Aromas of stewed fruits, cassis and dark mulberry. An elegant, medium-bodied wine, where Cabernet Sauvignon flavours dominate.

When the wine had finished a few of us went to Calabar at the Address Downtown. I was home by 1.30am.

I didn’t sleep well on Thursday night and was tired on Friday. My sister and I met our cousins for lunch at Royal China. It was lovely sitting outdoors in DIFC. We had dim sum (sadly no char siu pau) and soup, noodles and Szechuan chicken and rice.

After lunch, my parents, sister, nephew and I went to Mirdif City Centre for some shopping – I ended up buying two more dresses. We had a bite at PF Chang and were home by 8.30.

I quickly got ready as I was meeting a friend and some of her friends at Villa Romana at the Habtoor Grand in Marina. I got there a little before 9.30pm and the place was empty apart from our party of six and a two other groups of two and three. I was surprised as it’s quite new and I thought it would be crowded. We sat down to dinner after 10pm – the menu was disappointing – it was limited and nothing appealed to me. I ordered a pasta in the end. I think we all thought the food was average. The entertainment was disappointing and the music was rubbish. We didn’t stay for dessert or another drink.

Instead we decided to walk over to XL Beach Club which was right next door to Villa Romana. It was a bit more happening, the music was better, but we only stayed for one drink. The night just seemed doomed to never pick up. And then we went to I2.

We walked in and the DJ was playing ‘The Only Way Is Up’ by Yazz and the Plastic Population. Jesus, I thought to myself, more shit music. But it got so much better – it seemed to be retro night so all the hits from the 80s, 90s and early 2000s were played, along with their respective videos. The place was packed – we started off at the bar where we had three Dudu shots each. What’s in them? Vodka, lime juice, tabasco and a green olive. They taste much better than they sound. I think that if we’d started the night on these shots we’d have had a much better time! We moved on to the dance floor (Ice Ice Baby, Billie Jean, Last Christmas, Grease) and stayed there until 3am. I got home at 3.30am but couldn’t sleep until 5am and was awake early the next morning.

I was exhaustd on Saturday but had been invited to the India Club for lunch by one of my mum’s friends. We got there at 1.30 and stayed for a couple of hours. My sister and I went to the Dubai Mall after lunch (I bought another dress) and we got home at about 7pm.

Later that evening I had a drink with one of my cousins at iKandy at the Shangri-La. She was in town for the night on her way back to London. I’d never been to iKandy – it’s outdoors on the terrace by the pool. We caught up over a couple of glasses of wine and I walked home at midnight.

I love my life.

For more updates, click here.

Leave a comment »