Friday, 11 January 2019

Welcome to our Palace

Last night Linnea and I went to the Emirates Palace to take part in a guided tour around the premises. I've been trying to participate in one of these for a while, but they are scheduled rather rarely.
Of course I already know a lot about the Emirates Palace, at least what's official and public knowledge. My main objective with participating in the guided tour was to try and learn something I didn't know, and to get some fab photos.

Well, I did learn two or three new interesting facts, but nothing overly surprising. Understandably they keep pretty tight-lipped about the daily runnings of the Palace, to protect the privacy of their guests. Either way, it was a lovely tour.

We got to have a look inside one of the luxurious Palace Suites on the 6th floor, 685 square meters big. These are usually reserved for government, Heads of State and VVIPs:

The dining room, comes with a 24h butler and full pantry facilities next door:

The bedroom:

The dressing room:

The palatial bathroom, gold, gold, gold...

How much it costs? Like the guide said: "An arm and a leg... and both my kidneys!" Ha ha!

One of the new facts I learned was that every room in the palace has a balcony. Aha!
Here's the view from this particular suite:

We also got to stroll through the beautiful Blue Salon:

And have a peak into the Palace ballroom, where the largest of the 1,002 chandeliers of the Palace is hanging - it weights 2,5 tonnes:

Real, but petrified palm trees adorn the hallways, as the theme of the Palace is the colours and attributes of the desert:

Finally we got to come outside on the Palace Terrace:

To end the tour, we got treated to their famous 'Palace Cappuccino' at Le Café by the Fountains. As you might know, that's not your average coffee, it's actually decorated with flakes of edible gold.

Linnea doesn't drink coffee yet, so she got lucky and was offered their 'Ice Gold' ice cream. Pretty and delicious!

Such an enjoyable afternoon and evening with my favourite girl!

Tuesday, 8 January 2019

I feel cheated

One of the things I enjoyed moving here from Brunei, was experiencing some sort of seasonal changes throughout the year. It's not much, weather here is "warm", "hot" or "crazy hot"; but still, there is normally a significant difference between our UAE summers and winters.

This winter I have felt rather cheated.
Normally this time of the year, January being the coldest month here, we should be seeing temperatures as low as 14-16 degrees during the school run in the morning. This morning while taking Lucas to rugby practice, it was already 20 degrees at 6.15 am (yes, THAT early!).
And in the afternoons, the temperatures have been getting up close to 30 degrees some days, whereas previous years a winter day here in the sandpit would mean around more comfortable 25 degrees at a maximum.

I hate to think when the proper summer temperatures will return? Already in April this year maybe? These climate changes are really scaring me.

Sunday, 6 January 2019

A blast from the past

While in Ras Al Khaimah I bumped in to an old friend of mine, literally! It was so weird, while at the breakfast buffet sitting at the table next to us, was Christina and her family - a friend from our old Horsham days! Lucas used to play with her son Marcus, who is one year older than him; and her son William is only 3 days younger than Linnea!

We had noticed earlier that there was a lot of Swedes at this particular hotel, and had found out that the charter company Tui uses it for their guests, although without any local representation. Christina was there on winter holiday together with her three siblings, their families, plus her mum.

How weird?!
I mean, had we come down half an hour later they would've already been finished; or if Christina had been sitting with the rest of her family they would have been outside while we were inside. Such a fun coincidence, it was really nice to catch up!

We last saw each other in 2007 when we left England for Brunei. The kids had all grown a bit since then...

Saturday, 5 January 2019

A short staycation

School is (finally!) back tomorrow after another long break. Three and a half weeks.., maybe it just felt never-ending since we didn't really make anything out of it? So this last week of the holidays, we decided to go away for a short staycation for Nathan's two days off.

We ended up booking ourselves into a Hilton resort in Ras Al Khaimah, the most northern of all the emirates. Our first time for all of us there, only two hours drive from home actually.
We didn't venture about much other than down to the mall when we arrived, for lunch, as our room wasn't ready. Then we just enjoyed the resort.

Here's the view from our balcony:

I decided to go down and enjoy the sunset from the beach:

Then we went to the Belgian Beer Café for dinner, om nom nom..!

Wednesday, 2 January 2019

Time to turn over a new leaf

Nathan was working on New Years Eve this year and didn't get home until dinner time; and was working again the next morning so we hadn't made any late plans. We just stayed home and had our traditional fondue (no burned fingers this time!) in PJs, and a homemade Torta di Nocciole (yum, thank you Thermomix!) for dessert.

Then while waiting for midnight, we played a game of 'Speak out'. Hilarious!

At midnight we enjoyed a few fireworks from our balcony, before we all tucked in  - Happy New 2019!

Thursday, 27 December 2018

Best Nine

Just like many others I have used the app 'Best Nine' to find out which of my Instagram posts have been the most popular this year.
Here are the Best Nine of 2018:

A nice mix of self boosting, work, holiday memories and family.

Wednesday, 26 December 2018

Christmas Day 2018

The kids very patiently waited Christmas morning, until the adults were up and had got their coffee ready. There was so many presents under the tree, I don't know what happened...

This is the face of someone really excited, waiting to see our reactions having chosen all by herself some great gifts for us:

Daddy got a Batman mug and some new Batman socks:

And I got a beautiful book I'm looking forward to reading:

Lucas got fewer but bigger and more expensive gifts, a couple of new games, new gaming headphones, a gaming subscription and an American football:

Both the kids got Airpods, and "intelligent" toothbrushes. They are connected to an app via wi-fi, so no more cheating on the brushing! 

Linnea got some baking things, jewellery, stationary, a netball, clothes and other little things she likes:

We had Christmas Lunch together with our ex-neighbours Chad, Kristen and Aiden who had come up from Dubai, and a couple of their friends with some family visiting:

We sat outside so we could enjoy not just the turkey lunch but the sun:

Merry Christmas from the Watsons!