Monday, 24 October 2016

366 in 2016 - September


Linnea's Birthday Brunch

The birthday girl and I in the taxi:

Fairmont Bab Al Bahr, of course!

We had decided to go for a Friday Brunch on Linnea's birthday. Mainly to celebrate her of course and we all love our brunching, but it was also going to be Pia & co's last Friday Brunch, and - we were expecting visitors from the UK to arrive in the morning, so we were going to introducing them to Abu Dhabi the best way we know!
They didn't arrive until in the evening though, so in the end it was just the Hybholts and us.


Sunday, 23 October 2016

Linnea 11

Finally it was birthday morning for the little one! However not so little anymore - 11!
Nathan was flying, and since her birthday was on a Friday, we had decided we would come and "wake her up" (she always wakes up first) at 7 am.
Although she already came in at about 3 am to see what time it was, and at 5.15 because she was awake and asked if we could get up... and finally (after having been growled at the other two times) she sent me a text at 6.10 and asked if we could do the waking up now at least... Zzzzzz... ok...

She got very spoiled, as per usual. There was presents from the grandparents as well as from us. She got some Pandora, some new underwear, a Starbucks mug, some bath bombs from Lush and a piano book...

... she also got a football of her own, and an IKEA computer tray (so she doesn't have to steal Lucas' one).

Daddy made it home in time for the second part of the gift opening.
Her big present from us was a new phone (that unfortunately hasn't arrived yet, so didn't impress her much), but she did get a new cover for it from her brother that was pretty cool.
Then she had asked for pancakes for breakfast, so pancakes she got!

Big week

It's been an incredibly big week here in the Watson house, well, probably mostly for me but I think we have all felt it. Nathan getting back to work after hanging out with Thomas, wasn't easy for him either..! :)

I have had four full days at the Tourist Guide course this week. I can tell you, it isn't easy getting used to taking in so much information in one go, it had certainly been a while!
On Monday we spent all day in the classroom, learning the bus route the TCA wants us to use when we do an Abu Dhabi City Tour. We learned about the sights, and what to talk about in the "dry areas":

Tuesday we started driving around along the route in the bus. During the first day we got to have our  notes, on the Wednesday it was without notes.
We each got 3 minutes to talk, about whatever was outside the bus at that time. Here I am with my friend Ayçe, from Turkey. She's already a tour guide in Dubai and taking her Abu Dhabi license now.

Tuesday we also went to visit Maanarat al Saadyiat. I like that place, it's very informative and there is always something new to see:

On the Thursday we did a mock exam of our bus exam. Even though it was just a mock exam, everybody was really nervous. It seems with all right too, there was 35 of us, but only 8 (!) managed to get a "Pass"!! Hm, I wonder how it will go on Monday for the real exam... (Yes I did pass!) I'm studying and studying and studying, so much that I'm even dreaming of Abu Dhabi rulers, camels racing through the desert, buildings and tour buses and...

The week finished off with Linnea's birthday of course (but more about that in the next post) and celebrations at the Fairmont, together with visitors from Horsham arriving on Friday night - so it's full steam ahead for another week, at least!! Wii-hoo!

Sunday, 16 October 2016

One last one

We've had a rather busy weekend this weekend. Friday Lucas was off to Dubai with his friend Eddy for a rugby game Friday morning. He came home on a complete high as they had done a fantastic game and completely smashed their opponents 51-12. Linnea in her turn was off to Yas Mall for a birthday party for one of her little friends, held at the Cheesecake Factory and at the movies. Later that afternoon her and I went past Pia's for a chat and a play.
Nathan? Well, he's been back at work all weekend after his holiday week with Thomas.

With only two weeks to go before Pia leaves the UAE for good, we wanted to do one last 'Dubai Day' together. Unfortunately we had to bring the kids too as both husbands were at work, but we solved that by checking all four kids into Kidzania!

We both had big jobs to sort at the Gold & Diamond Park, and started out with spending a little over an hour in the morning dealing with our "gold man".
Pia had most of her jewellery polished, lots of things fixed and also ordered some new items for her sister-in-law. Me - I finally put in orders for some of my stolen items.

While we waited for all the jewellery work to be done, we went to Dubai Mall. Not our normal favourite hang-out but as the kids were off to Kidzania, that's where Pia and I had to spend the afternoon. While they were having fun going to the Kidzania University, flying Emirates planes, making Kinder chocolate, racing cars, sending radio and working in the Waitrose supermarket - Pia and I worked the mall. We started with a lunch break at Yo Sushi, mmm!

But I think next time I go to Dubai Mall, especially if it's with Linnea, I will make a pit stop here ... Om nom nom... :

Pia and I walked around and about, did a little bit of shopping but mostly browsing. In the end we got too tired to walk any more, so we gave up and just waited in a coffee shop instead.

Kids came out of Kidzania all electric and happy with their bags full of souvenirs. They managed in the end to spend six hours in there - only limited by the mean mums extracting them for dinner.

We had a quick dinner in the food court, as everybody wanted different things, before we returned to the gold man to pick up our things, and eventually (and very late...) go back to Abu Dhabi.

So finally, I have started to restore order in my jewellery box! Although I very boringly didn't get anything different to what I had before. I had built a small collection of items I really loved and always used, and I was missing them... So, there you go, I got the exact same things..! First thing I replaced was my 10th wedding anniversary diamond studs. Guess where they are now?

And that's where they'll stay!

Thursday, 13 October 2016

Linnea's 11th (early) Birthday Party

This year we had to have Linnea's birthday party well over a week early, because of busy and conflicting schedules for the next couple of weeks. It unfortunately also had to be on a school day, but in the end it worked out just fine.

We picked up her and her little friends from school and brought them home so that they could get changed and have a snack before it was time for the party activity. We had decorated at home with blue balloons all over, according to the birthday girl's wishes:

The activity this year was going to be - pottery!
I had found this place on the internet, Abu Dhabi Pottery Establishment, and booked in for an hours class for the kids. It turned out none of the kids had ever tried pottery before, so it was a success!

The kids got to start out with doing some pinch pottery. I was proud of them for listening really well to all the instructions, and taking their task so seriously:

The pinch pottery technique is a basic pot making method often taught to beginners. The kids got to form and shape by hand, a small bowl each. The clay walls were thinned by pinching them over and over again with the thumbs and forefingers - which is why it's called pinch pottery.

They started out with a ball of clay each. They then had to push their thumbs into the center, and then continue with pinching and turning the pot into their desired shape.

The bowls were kept on a flat surface to create a base, and all the kids had to scrape their name or initials into the bottom of their pot.

You could shape your pot either way you wanted, Lucas decided to make his into a heart shape:

Look at the focus and attention..!

Finally they got to ornate the edges, and if they wanted to, use stamps to decorate their masterpieces. It could be around the outside, or on the inside, like in Lucas' one:

They all got to bring their finished bowls home at the end of the lesson. While they dried a little bit, all the kids got to try the potter's wheel. First the lady did a demonstration, and then they all got a turn at making something with the help of the ladies in the studio. It didn't seem to be as easy as it first looked... and all the kids said it felt a bit funny on the hands!

Sofie, using a string to remove her creation from the tray:

I really enjoyed watching the kids work as they were all so into it, both the girls and the boys. I'm so glad that Linnea still wants to invite boys as well, and that they accepted and came along, and didn't think that pottery was "a girl thing". They were all super creative and all seemed to enjoy themselves.

Even though yes, they got some assistance with the wheel pottery; I was mighty impressed with all the children and their end results! Just look at these pieces, all this wonderful artwork! Awesome!

After the pottery class we went back home and had pizza for dinner. We only ordered one..! :) Ha ha yes, the XL pizza made a comeback, they're fab!

Group photo!

And after pizza, donuts and "Happy Birthday"-singing, it was time to finish up, as it was a school night. It was a very happy girl showing us all her fabulous gifts after the party, a 'Wreck this journal'-book, a cute mug and matching box, a pencil case with gel pens, Bath & Bodyworks stuff, cool cash and gift cards to Yas Mall - what more can you wish for?