Notes by Nectar

Your destiny lies in your own hands

Dubai 2015: Weeks 52/53

I got back from Bali on the 23rd morning. Similar to when I left, the passengers had to get on a bus after leaving the plane and were then taken to the terminal. I stood at the top of the stairway at 5am and was hit by a blast of cold air. I got on the bus, found a seat and sat down because I was feeling tired and lazy. Just as well, because the bus ride to the airport took forever. It felt like we were going around the airport in circles. I felt like one of the hostages in the movie Speed. We finally got to the terminal, I went through the e-Gate, collected my luggage, bought five bottles of champagne at Duty Free and went home. I was so happy to be home, and back in my own bed. I’d missed my pillows! I passed out for a few hours until lunch.

That evening, a friend had invited a few people over for mulled wine and mince pies. We got to her place in The Springs at about 7pm. It was nice to see everyone after my trip, and we sat out in the garden, sipping wine and chatting. I left at around 9.30pm – I was exhausted and a bit jet-lagged.

On Thursday, I went to the Dubai Mall – I needed a Secret Santa present for Christmas lunch the next day. Once I’d picked that up I went back home. I had a load of work to do and was starting to panic about how I was going to get it all done before the deadlines. I stayed in that night.

I spent Christmas Day with some friends at their flat in Business Bay. I got there at around 2pm and we had lunch at 4pm. It was also my fourth anniversary of being in Dubai – I can’t believe how quickly the time has gone!

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There was so much food! Prawn cocktail to start with, and then turkey, pork shoulder, roast potatoes, stuffing, brussel sprouts, pigs in blankets, and I’m sure there was more that I can’t remember. There was Christmas pudding and cheese for dessert. Not to mention the prosecco, champagne and wine that we all enjoyed. The weather was lovely too – and we spent the rest of the afternoon and evening sitting on their balcony, watching the full moon move across the sky (and watching random YouTube music videos).

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I got home at around 11pm. It was a long day, but it was really fun.

I went to the Dubai Mall on Saturday as I was meeting some friends at Vogue Cafe in the Shoe District for tea.

On Sunday, I decided to try out a new yoga studio at Village Mall. It was really nice and I ended up buying a package for 15 classes.

I had my usual piano lesson on Monday, but that was all I did that day. All I’d been doing otherwise was working. I’d hoped that as my UK clients were closed for the holidays, there’d be no more work coming in over the holidays and I could catch up properly, but I didn’t realise that their Indian offices would still be open and send me things to work on! It was good though – I kept my head down and got on with it.

I’d been invited out for lunch on Tuesday. I wasn’t keen on going but I had some friends visiting Dubai who would be at lunch so I went anyway. Lunch was at Apres in Mall of the Emirates. I got there at 1pm (which was the time on the invitation) and there was nobody there, not even the two hosts. There was also no table set up for 10-12 people so I asked the waitress at the door whether they had a booking under either of the hosts’ names. ‘For today, ma’am?’ Well, yes, I’m here, aren’t I? She looked in her diary. ‘Oh yes, 1pm for 12 people.’ So, where is the table? ‘Oh, we didn’t know if they wanted smoking or non-smoking.’ You have the number there so why didn’t you call to confirm? ‘Yes, ma’am.’ The woman was irritating. But what irritated me more was that the hosts should have been dealing with the lack of a table and not me. I got the table sorted and sat down. I asked the waiter for a bottle of water (which never arrived). At about 1.15pm one of the hosts arrived – she’d had errands to run in the mall which was why she was late. Good grief – couldn’t she have done that later? Anyway, people started arriving – we were nine girls in the end – and lunch seemed to go on forever. The service was awful. I would never go back there. At 4pm I made my excuses and left – the others seemed quite happy to sit there for longer but I had s*** to do!

I had a session with Pete on Wednesday and spent the rest of the day working.

On Thursday morning I went back to Eco Yoga Sanctuary for a Hatha Flow class. After that I decided to get my  hair done as I looked like a homeless person after the yoga class. It was also New Year’s Eve and I hadn’t decided what I wanted to do that night. My number one choice was to stay home. I’d been invited to a few places but I couldn’t face the thought of the traffic going Downtown and then getting stuck there until 4am. I could see it building up from the afternoon onwards.

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I ended up staying home. And I’m glad I did because soon after I’d had dinner, I saw a post on Facebook that said the Address Downtown was on fire. What?? I’d been hearing sirens for the last 10 minutes but assumed it was regular New Year’s Eve police controlling the traffic. I thought it was a hoax and then I checked Twitter. I couldn’t believe the pictures I was seeing.

Source: Twitter

Source: Twitter

I felt sick – there were hundreds of thousands of people in that small area – and I couldn’t imagine how many people would be injured. I kept reading that there were no injuries but I just couldn’t believe that. Eventually, it was reported that there were 14 minor injuries – a bit more realistic, but still unbelievable in a way. I hoped everyone had managed to get out of that building in time. And then I heard that they were planning to go ahead with the fireworks Downtown. Next to a burning building? It seemed ludicrous. And people were still heading Downtown. Friends called from London and other places to see if I was OK – WhatsApp had stopped working!

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At about 10 minutes before midnight I made my way to the pool area of my building to watch the fireworks. The crazy thing I’ve noticed about people on New Year’s Eve is that wherever they are on Sheikh Zayed Road, they’ll abandon their cars and run to where they can see the Burj Khalifa and watch the fireworks. It’s like watching a disaster movie, although instead of running from disaster, they’re running towards the fireworks!

23:55 on New Year's Eve

23:55 on New Year’s Eve

And then it was midnight. The Address Downtown was still on fire (but under control, they said) and the Burj Khalifa lit up.

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It was bizarre. The fireworks went on for about 5 minutes – I brought in the New Year watching the smoke from the fireworks drift off into the night like dancing skeletons, with the smoke from the Address Downtown streaming behind it.

I’m so glad I stayed in.

I love my life.

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Dubai 2015: Week 41

After a very busy few days, I was exhausted on Sunday. All I wanted to do was stay in bed but I had work to do. I had also booked a 90-minute hot stone massage at the Shangri-La Spa for later that afternoon. It was exactly what I needed and I couldn’t wait to get home and get into my pajamas when it was over. Unfortunately, I had accepted an invitation to a friend’s 40th birthday drinks that evening so I had to wait a bit longer for my pajamas!

Her birthday drinks were at Iris – and thankfully indoors because it was still unbelievably humid outside. I hadn’t been to the indoor section of Iris but was pleasantly surprised – a long bar and lots of seating. The outside area was totally empty that night. It was all women at her drinks – and it was my first outing after the summer (with this particular group of women) so it was nice to catch up with everyone. As soon as the birthday girl cut her cake, I left with one of my neighbours who was also at the drinks.

On Monday I had a session with Pete at 10am – by noon I was showered and back in my pajamas. And I intended to stay in my pajamas until Tuesday morning! It had been days since I’d been able to do that and I was looking forward to it.

Apart from yoga on Tuesday morning, I was at home (in pajamas) until the early evening. I met up with a couple of friends at Calabar for happy hour. We got there at 6.15 so we were able to make the most of it! At about 9pm, we ended up going to The Eloquent Elephant where we had a bit more wine (not very wise). I was home by midnight.

I had to be up early on Wednesday as I had to go to Sharjah for some paperwork. Drinking all that wine the night before really wasn’t a good idea. I got back home by 11.20am, had a cup of tea and got ready for my session with Pete. After that was over, and I’d had some lunch, I got back into bed and slept for a couple of hours!

On Thursday I met up with a friend who was in town from Lagos for a couple of days. We went to his favourite – Wafi Gourmet at the Dubai Mall – and ended up overeating as usual! I actually felt a bit ill afterwards. We thought we’d walk around for a while to digest our food but ended up walking to Patchi (and not buying anything) and then walking on to Eataly where we sat down for coffee. I needed to be rolled home after that.

I got home and did some work for a few hours. That evening I met up with some friends for dinner at Catch at the Fairmont on Sheikh Zayed Road. I hadn’t been there and had heard mixed reviews – but I was pleasantly surprised. We were seven people, and a few of them had been before so knew what to order. And because we were so many we were able to order a wider variety of dishes. Some of the starters we had were: crunchy rice cakes (similar to the spicy tuna on crispy rice at Okku), crispy shrimp and the DXB roll (tuna, crab, avocado, wasabi, yuzu). For our main course we had the Korean fried chicken and a whole roasted sea bass (chilli rubbed, cracked olive, artichoke, rocket greens, turmeric silky potatoes). For the sides we had the macaroni & cheese and parmesan truffle fries. I didn’t think I could eat any more after that and had a small bite of dessert when it came (the ‘Hit Me’ chocolate cake). We also had two bottles of wine (which isn’t bad between seven people!). It turned out that I knew the sommelier – she used to be the co-organiser of the wine club but now works at Catch full time.

There was some debate about what to do after dinner, but I was too tired to do much and was home by midnight.

I met up with some friends for lunch at La Serre on Friday afternoon. We met at 1.30pm and surprisingly didn’t have to wait too long for a table for five people on the ground floor. Once we had ordered, however, the food took ages to arrive! We complained about how long it was taking and our waitress was very apologetic.

I couldn’t decide whether to have breakfast (scrambled eggs with truffles) or lunch. In the end I opted for the portobello mushrooms with braised beef. Divine! After we’d ordered our coffees and dessert (lemon cake and some pistachio thing which I didn’t try), the waitress said that our coffees and dessert would be on the house.

On Friday evening I met up with a couple of friends for dinner at Loca. We met early, at 7.30pm, and it wasn’t too crowded at that time. They have several new guacamole options on the menu so we decided to try the guacamole with prawns. We also had the spinach and artichoke dip (of course). For my main course, I ordered the camarones a la diablo (tiger prawns sauteed in jalapeno butter). We skipped dessert as we were all too full. I was home before 11pm which was nice!

I was up early on Saturday as I had a piano lesson (I didn’t go on Monday so had to make up the lessson). After lunch I met up with a couple of friends at Common Grounds at Mall of the Emirates. Common Grounds is the new cafe from the people who opened Tom & Serg and The Sum of Us, and it’s in the new expansion at MoE. We had to wait a while for a table as it was pretty crowded. Once we sat down, we ordered a couple of juices and again I couldn’t decide between breakfast or lunch! In the end, two of us shared the pan-fried salmon and jerk chicken. Both were very good. I’d definitely go back and try something else. We also had some coffee and skipped dessert.

We couldn’t decide what to do after lunch and thought about seeing a movie at the new Vox Cinemas at the mall but there was nothing on for at least another hour. We eventually decided to go back to my friend’s place on the Palm and play Scrabble! He has a great view from his flat:

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We ended up playing a game of Scrabble on the balcony (I won) and making plans for our upcoming road trip to Muscat.

I got home at around 6pm and got straight into my pajamas!

I love my life.

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Dubai 2015: Week 40

I woke up on Sunday feeling like hell. I eventually got out of bed at noon, but only because I’d been invited to lunch at 1pm.

I made my way to Tresind at the Radisson Royal on Sheikh Zayed Road. I don’t really go out to eat at Indian restaurants and I’d been to Mint Leaf the day before so this was really Indian overload.

But the food was so different – we had the modernist chaat trolley, the raan, mushroom kulcha (which I remembered trying at Taste of Dubai) and the deconstructed Black Forest gateau (and a few other things I can’t remember).

After lunch we went up to the bar at Tre for a coffee and to show my friend from London the view. I hadn’t been up to the bar since it had been renovated – but it’s a great space. It reminded me of a hunting lodge!

After lunch, I went home, got into my pajamas and got into bed. I was exhausted.

I had a session with my trainer on Monday and a piano lesson that afternoon. Apart from that I was at home catching up with some work.

On Tuesday night I met a friend for dinner at Tolosa in Souk Al Bahar. I hadn’t seen her since before the summer and it was really nice to catch up. We decided to share a few starters: burrata, beef carpaccio, goat cheese salad and the charcuterie platter. It was all good – but I found the platter a bit disappointing, especially as it seemed to be attracting lots of little flies! We also had a bottle of the Cabernet Sauvignon which was lovely. Nothing on the dessert menu really appealed to us so we skipped that.

Apart from my session with my trainer on Wednesday I didn’t do much else.

And then the weekend was busy! I met up with my friend who was leaving Dubai (the same one who had the leaving brunch the week before). We had a late lunch at the Western Steakhouse at the Crowne Plaza Hotel. He had some relatives in town from Mumbai so they joined us as well. We didn’t meet until 3.15pm so it was almost 5pm by the time we were done. Straight after lunch, the two of us headed to Marina Mall where we were meeting some of his other friends (some of whom I’d met at brunch) and then all going on to Abu Dhabi to see Bon Jovi in concert.

His friend had hired two seven-seater vehicles with drivers to take us to Abu Dhabi and back that evening. By the time we left Marina Mall it was close to 7pm and we got to the du Arena at about 8.30pm. The cars weren’t allowed to drop us off at the front so we had to walk for about 15 minutes from the car park to the arena entrance. It was a really humid night and by the time we got to the arena we were all sweating. But then, so was everyone else! We got some drinks and elbowed our way into the middle of the crowd. I wasn’t expecting it to be as crowded as it was but it was packed.

And then Bon Jovi came on. I have to say Jon Bon Jovi is still devastatingly good-looking at 53 years old. The others haven’t aged that well though – Tico Torres (drums) looks about 70 and David Bryan (keyboards) still has that perm left over from the 80s. They opened with a song I didn’t know (I had no idea they’d released a new album in August 2015) followed by ‘You Give Love a Bad Name’. Interspersed with songs nobody had heard of, they played some of their older songs: ‘Dead or Alive’ (my favourite one), ‘Bad Medicine’, ‘Keep the Faith’, ‘Someday I’ll Be Saturday Night’, ‘In These Arms’ and ‘It’s My Life’.

And of course they played ‘Livin’ On a Prayer’ as their final encore.

It was fantastic. Getting out of the arena wasn’t. There was chaos finding the drivers and we walked way too far down the car park, getting lost from the rest of our group. My friend’s phone was dead and his was the only number I had out of the people with us – which was quite useless. I also had a blister by this point. They eventually found us and it took us over half an hour to get out of the car park. We eventually made it and stopped at a place to get some food on the way home (I was still full from lunch!). By the time I got home it was 2am.

I woke up on Friday – my feet were aching and I was tired. I’d been invited to a housewarming party by a couple I’d met at the same brunch the week before and was so tempted to stay home and order sushi. But I’d said I’d go and didn’t want to flake. My friend picked me up a little after 6pm and we headed to the Marina where they live. It was mostly the same people from the brunch and I’m really glad I went because they’re a really fun group of people and we spent much of the night dancing to 80s music. It was 3am by the time I got home.

I met up with some friends for lunch on Saturday. We went to Tribes, an African restaurant at the Mall of the Emirates. We shared the African lamb spring roll for starters and each ordered our own main course. Three of us ordered the spicy lamb rump steaks and one ordered a rib-eye steak. The lamb steaks were excellent – they tasted like suya in Lagos – but the portion was huge and two of us could have shared one!

I came home from lunch and did a bit of work. That evening I was going to meet a friend for drinks and dinner. As I walked out of the building, I was hit by a wall of humidity. I couldn’t believe how humid it was (I checked later: 85%). Disgusting! Anyway, I met up with a friend at Jean-Georges at the Four Seasons. We met early, at 6.15pm, and got a sofa in the bar area. We had a few drinks and decided to order our dinner in the bar area so we didn’t have to move. We shared the snapper ceviche, crispy calamari (disappointingly average), salt and pepper shrimp, and the black truffle and fontina cheese pizza (heaven on a plate). We skipped dessert and had another drink instead. I got home at about 11.30, after dropping him home, and realised how shattered I was once I got into bed – I couldn’t  keep my eyes open any longer.

I love my life.

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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.

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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.

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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!


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.

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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…


But Vinay didn’t want to leave!


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.

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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.

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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.

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Dubai: Week 12

What a busy week!

I had a killer session with Rama on Sunday morning, followed by a trip to Lulu for our weekly shop. I decided mornings would be the best time to go – the last time I went was on a Saturday afternoon and there was no way I was doing that again. After bringing everything home, Dad and I decided to go to Burjuman for a late lunch. He’d been to Zone Lounge before and wanted to go back. It’s an Italian/Lebanese restaurant and I ordered the houmous and shish taouk. I was famished by the time the food arrived – it was 3.30 and I hadn’t eaten all day – so I ate the houmous with bread (gasp!). Dad ordered the seafood soup because the photo looked good in the menu. Unfortunately it didn’t look anything like it did in the photo and he was disappointed. The shish taouk was OK – the chips that came with it were good though. So I basically had a carb-loaded lunch. I don’t think I’d go back there again though. I’d seen a Gloria Jean’s Coffee place on our way to the restaurant and we went there when we were done.

We had a couple of errands to run in Deira after our late lunch so off we went. I always thought it was so far (because that’s what I’d been told) but it really wasn’t. It looked like an interesting area of Dubai – you could see the dhows and shipping boats being loaded in Dubai Creek – and I’d have liked to walk around but Dad didn’t want to and I’d been out of the house most of the day so I didn’t mind too much. It was also quite chilly by the waterfront and I didn’t have a shawl.

On Monday evening I went to an InterNations event at the Ritz-Carlton DIFC. I’d kept in touch with a couple of people from the British Expat drinks I went to in January and they were going to the InterNations get-together. I got there at about 8.45 and there must have been at least 300 people there – and all from different countries. I registered/paid at the door, was given a token for a free drink and a sticker with your name on it, and then I was let loose with the others. While waiting at the bar I started chatting to a couple of people (mostly about how slow the bar staff were). After being served I went outside to look for the people I knew – it took me ages to find them in that crowd – and just by walking around I ended up chatting to people I didn’t know who have since been in touch. It wasn’t a late night, or a heavy one, but I will definitely go to more events like that. 

On Wednesday I met a new friend for lunch at More Cafe at MoE. I’d never met her before but we’d been chatting on Twitter for the last few weeks. We do have one friend in common but keeping track of her was proving difficult so we decided to meet without her. It was a lovely lunch and I’m looking forward to more of them! After lunch I met up with another friend for coffee at Columbus Cafe – she’d just been to London so it was nice to hear about her trip and catch up. Yes, I was rather jealous but time is flying and May will be here before I know it. 

I’ve decided I need to re-think my ‘no work in the morning’ policy for the next few weeks if I’m going to get all my projects done by their various deadlines. The main deadline at the moment is 30th March so until then my mornings aren’t going to be as relaxed as they are now. 

On Thursday morning, I was up early. I was at the gym by 9am only to find that it was closed as it was being repainted. Damn! I got ready and was at my desk by 10am – and I was there pretty much all day (apart from meals). 

That night I had dinner with some friends at Zuma. Our table was booked for 10pm but by the time we sat down it was after 10.30. I have never seen such scantily-clad women in my life. There was a woman who came up in the lift with us and I wondered why she bothered wearing a top at all! I guess the mall dress code doesn’t apply to Dubai after dark.

On Friday Dad and I went to Sumo Sushi & Bento at Jumeirah Town Centre for lunch. It’s a small mall right next to Mercato.


We decided to have the set meal for two – it included miso soup, a sushi platter (there was a choice of three), prawn tempura (again, a choice of three starters), chicken katsu and barbecued beef (there was a choice of four main courses). It was a lot of food – and an hour after that I went to Taste of Dubai.

Taste of Dubai was held at the amphitheatre in Media City. It’s similar to Taste of London – all the restaurants have stalls, you can buy any of their signature dishes, there’s live music, cooking demonstrations, chefs doing signings. Some of the restarants with stalls were Nobu, Ronda Locatelli, Gaucho, ToroToro, Rhodes Twenty10, Rivington Grill and PF Chang’s. The dishes served at Nobu were black cod, nasu miso, sashimi tacos, tuna sashimi salad and mochi ice cream. I had the black cod and tuna sashimi salad – each portion is about two bites’ worth of food which was perfect after the lunch I had! A few of my friends had signed up for a session at the Miele Cookery School.


There were 12 cooking stations and the chef from Rivington Grill showed them how to make seared salmon salad. It smelled and looked pretty good…

We wandered around for a while after that, looking at all the foods on display.


At about 7pm we went back to the main area and tried to find somewhere to sit. It wasn’t easy.


We eventually found somewhere, sent the kids to get us some food and got ourselves some beers. When I see certain things on a menu, I have to have them – such as truffles, artichokes, wine… The Ronda Locatelli stall had a truffle ravioli on their menu (I’d spotted it earlier and had been thinking about little else) and when the kids brought it back I could smell the truffles from across the table. I had to have it. Just one bite. It was divine. We relaxed for an hour or so and then a few of us had to leave as we had tickets to see a play at the Madinat Theatre.

‘August: Osage County’ was the winner of the 2007 Pullitzer Prize and seven Tony Awards. The play wa
s written by Tracy Letts and the original version is set in Oklahoma. The production we saw was adapted and directed by Lilette Dubey, and set in Goa. Before the play started, an English woman came up on stage to announce members of the cast and who the sponsors were. The woman could barely read. The main sponsor was Petrochem – and she pronounced the ‘chem’ exactly as it’s spelled. It didn’t bode well for the rest of the play. 

Fortunately, she was soon forgotten once the play started. It was brilliant. It was about a dysfunctional family who come together for their father’s funeral. It reminded me a bit of Jonathan Franzen’s Freedom – or a long episode of ‘Brothers and Sisters’ (but well written). I stopped watching ‘Brothers and Sisters’ somewhere in season 2. I figured if I wanted to listen to a family arguing I could just go to my living room and sit with mine. Anyway, the play was funny, dark, sad – thoroughly enjoyable.


The only criticisms I will make (and that have nothing to do with the production) was that the sound system wasn’t very good, and that for the first half of the play the theatre was freezing, even with my shawl wrapped tightly around me. The play ended after midnight so it was almost 1am by the time I got home.

On Saturday I went to the gym and then decided I was going to do nothing all day. I didn’t even switch on my computer. Armed with factor 20 sunscreen, I took The Hunger Games down to the pool and sat there for a couple of hours.


It was the first time I’d been to the pool since I moved to Dubai. It had been too cold and/or windy before that to sit down there. When I got home I got into bed and continued reading until I’d finished the book. A perfect Saturday… 

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Dubai: Days 25-28

After my early session with Rama on Wednesday, I did some work and then went to the Dubai Mall. I was meeting a friend of a friend who I’d never met before. She just moved to Dubai herself a few weeks before me as she recently got married. We met at Social House in the mall – the sushi was really good and I would go back to try some other things on the menu. As we were chatting, it turns out that she knows a good friend of mine in London, and my cousins in China! What a small world… 

On Thursday afternoon I decided I really needed a manicure and pedicure. I went to the salon at the Fairmont where I’ve been going for the last few weeks. Oh, that’s one thing that really annoys me: in Dubai, they say ‘saloon’ rather than ‘salon’. It is SO irritating. Am I going to find the fastest hairdresser in the Middle East? I don’t think so.

But I digress. Being a Thursday I thought I’d go earlier rather than later. When I got there, I was surprised to find I was the only person there. I sat down, one person did my hands, another did my feet. The rest of the girls were chatting in a corner, giggling and laughing. I tweeted: ‘I want to learn Arabic but after sitting in this salon for the last hour I think Tagalog might be the way to go.’ Maybe I should learn both? 

On Thursday evening, I had dinner with my parents, sister and a couple of my parents’ friends. We met them at The Address where they were staying, with the intention of going to PF Chang’s at the Dubai Mall for dinner. We walked through the hotel to get to the mall and had to walk past Ember Bar and Lounge to get there. We decided to stop for a glass of wine before dinner.


After our bottle of Pinot Grigio we carried on through the mall, but when we got to the restaurant there was a long queue outside. We were told it would be at least 45 minutes until a table for 6 people became available. We put our names down and a couple of us headed to Waitrose and the chemist while the others waited near the restaurant. We didn’t sit down until 10.45. I was pleasantly surprised by the food – the dynamite shrimp were excellent, and I ordered steamed salmon with vegetables as a main course but couldn’t finish it. It was just before midnight when we left the mall – and the shops were only just closing at that time!

I had my photography class on Friday afternoon. When I was finished, I was on my way to meet my mum, sister and nephew, when I saw a little boy – he was probably about 4 or 5 years old and he was bawling. I looked around but couldn’t see anyone who he could have been with. ‘Are you lost?’ I asked him. He just carried on crying. ‘Where’s your mummy?’ I asked him. He shrugged, still crying. ‘Should we go find her?’ He nodded. I looked around for an information desk and saw a security man – so I took the little boy over to him and told him he was lost. The little boy seemed a little calmer by this point but I didn’t really want to leave him alone with the guy so I walked with them as he spoke into his walkie-talkie. Two minutes later, the boy’s mother found us – and she was walking towards us from the complete opposite direction to where the boy had been. I don’t know how long he’d been lost, but she seemed more annoyed at him for getting lost than relieved to see him safe and sound! Anyway, at least they found each other.

On Friday evening, my sister and I went to Caramel for dinner. We got there just after 9pm, didn’t have a reservation, but got a table straight away. We were told they’d need it back at 10.15. We sat down, and as soon as I looked at the menu I knew it was going to be a ‘cheat night’. We ordered a few small dishes, and one main dish – all to share.

We had the seared Kobe beef carpaccio and spicy tuna roll:


TNT shrimp and petite Kobe sliders (I didn’t eat the bread):


And the macaroni cheese (those croquette-like things):


Talk about carb-fest. I felt quite gross after that! And we had two glasses of rosé each.

We sat at our table till after 10.30 – and nobody asked us to move as there were several empty tables around.

On Saturday I was home all day after going to the gym in the morning. It was cold and windy all day and I could hear the wind howling outside. My mum and sister were out shopping all day while Dad and I entertained Vinay at home. He was hard work, wanting to watch ‘Wheels on the Bus’ on the iPad or laptop over and over and over again. 

In the early evening, we took Vinay to Mazaya, a small mall not far from our flat. My mum had seen a photography studio there where they take portraits of kids dressed up as sheikhs and in other costumes. I did wonder whether they were in ‘costume’ or whether they actually owned their traditional dress, but my mum wanted Vinay to dress up in one of these sheikh costumes. I thought it was a bad idea from the start – the boy can barely sit still for 5 seconds and hates wearing anything on his head. He was tired, cranky and refused to sit by himself. He wasn’t even wearing the costume at this point. The photographer decided the best thing to do would be to take some photos of Vinay just as he was and then use Photoshop to add the costume to the picture. We eventually got Vinay smiling and laughing – by my sister pretending to hurt herself by banging her head on my arm – and the photos were done. This is the final result:


As it was my sister’s last weekend in Dubai, she wanted to go to a Japanese restaurant for dinner. We ended up at Sakura at the Crowne Plaza on Sheikh Zayed Road – close to home. The service was a bit slow, but the food was good when it eventually arrived! I ordered a salad to start with – it was one of the biggest salads I’d ever seen. At least three people could have shared it as a starter. I ordered the salmon teppanyaki for my main course – without rice. The food is good and the portions are generous, but there’s not much choice if you’re vegetarian.

Wow – my first four weeks in Dubai went by
really quickly!

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