Tuesday, 30 September 2014

Cosy and colourful

We have added some more colour and cosiness to the dining part of our big room with a new, huge, oriental rug.

In Brunei we had a few of these kind of rugs, but all in blue. Even though I did love those I chose one in red tones this time, to pick up the red of some of the NZ tiles on the wall and the lamp shade. I think it gives the room a really warm feeling, just like I wanted it to. It ties this part of the room together very nicely.

Day 3 of the Garden Makeover

So, here we go, the grass is in!

Friday I'll go and buy something to cover the flowerbeds with, until we are going to plant in them. It looks a bit sad with all that dirt... Tomorrow we'll also water blast the area with the Kärcher to clean it all up properly, and then it's time to hunt for a nice big table! Not quite done yet but at least now I can pull open the blinds in the morning, and see some lovely grass instead of the eyesore of a grubby sandpit we had initially.

Nordic Crown Bakery

So after we had sorted out our "gold jobs", had got some lunch and done a spot of shopping at the Mall of the Emirates; we went out to the Dubai Marina.
A very cool place where I had never been before. I don't think this part of Dubai was actually even built when I used to stop-over here with Premiair Airways... ehm... those... erm... about 15 (say what?!) years ago.

We weren't coming for the pretty views though, we came for this - the Nordic Crown Bakery. This is the first Scandinavian bakery and café in the Middle East.

Oh yeah baby! Freshly made in house Swedish cakes and cookies, and the coffee served was imported from Sweden - Lindvalls Kaffe. It was hard to choose I'll tell you!

I know it's completely out of season eating "semla" in September, but who cares - it was so yummy!

Gold and Diamond Park

My friend Pia used to live in Dubai a few years back. Just recently while talking about jewelery, she told me she knew this great shop in the Gold and Diamond Park, where she used to go back then. The man there would give her amazing service and really good prices.

I got a gold ring this year for my birthday from my parents, that used to belong to my Grandmother. I was told I could make it into a piece of jewelery, as long as I didn't erase the inscription. Hence, I couldn't melt it down to make something else, it had to be with the ring shape intact.
I knew straight away I wanted to use it to make a "Kharma necklace". They look something like this:

So, today Pia and I had planned a trip to Dubai, to go and see if the little man in "her" gold shop in the Gold and Diamond Park, could make it for me. Of course he could, and he was fantastic! (And he remembered Pia well, even though she hadn't been for 2 1/2 years! Ha ha!)

Not only did he speak very good English, he understood everything I explained, he asked questions to make sure he got everything right, made the chain and the fixings in less than three hours - and, for about 35% of the price I had been quoted in Sweden!!! He also polished all the other jewelery we were wearing, for free!
Here's the finished result (excuse the silly selfie-look), I'm so, so pleased! It came out exactly as I wanted it, it's absolutely perfect!

Oh my, am I going back there for more! I think I do need some gold bangles, maybe some diamond earrings or a few, a ring or two... hm... :)
Anyway, good to have a place now where I can bring any visitors who would like to buy diamonds and gold, or have something bespoken made, fixed or copied (...)! Fab!

Monday, 29 September 2014

End Day 2 - getting there

So, here it is at the end of day 2. We're getting there.

The patio is done and tomorrow they will add the grass. Eventually, in the next step (when it's not so hot anymore), we'll add some plants and bushes too. I want pretty, pretty flowers all along the wall to hide the boring brown and make it colourful and nice.

No, it's not the biggest garden in the world, and definitely not somewhere we will be kicking a ball around or make cartwheels, ha ha! But at least, we will now be able to park the BBQ down on the other side of the water tank, and add a big table that seats at least 8 up on the original patio.

It wont be long now before we can start sitting outside in the evenings, and I'm really looking forward to making this outdoor "room" of ours, really, really cosy!

Sunday, 28 September 2014

Work in progress

There is work in progress in our "garden"!

I'm very excited to see the final result - this is how it looks at the end of Day 1:

Watch this space!

A Brunei reconnection

Shortly after we left Brunei in March, a friend of ours resigned from his post in the British Army (he was in the Loan Service in Brunei) and took up an army consultant job here in Abu Dhabi. We were so excited at the prospect of him and his family moving here too, as their whole family is really lovely!
Unfortunately, it's taken quite a while for them to get all the paperwork and everything settled, so they actually only arrived in the country this week, and even worse - they have decided to settle in Dubai instead, as they couldn't get their boys into schools here, nor find a suitable place to live.

Anyway, we caught up yesterday over a lovely lunch, and all the kids were super happy to see each other!

Their boys were starting school finally today (after nearly three months off!), so it was probably nice for them to end their holidays with some familiar faces.
Even though they won't be on our doorstep, it's sure nice to have them close by!

Stubborn or stupid?

This is what happens when you don't listen to your wife - when she tells you to put on sunscreen before spending over 2 hours in 40 degrees sunshine, watching the first rugby game of the season...

Saturday, 27 September 2014

Gold to Go

Have you seen one of these before?

Yes, it's an ATM dispensing 24k GOLD!

We saw this one at the Emirates Palace last night, it's the world's first gold vending machine.
There are currently 20 machines installed on three continents across the world, meant to make ordinary people comfortable with the idea of investing in gold. These vending machines update their prices to market value every ten minutes over an internet connection.

I guess the UAE is truly the perfect market for machines like this, as this one is the top-selling machine, followed by the two at Burj Khalifa!

The Illusionists 2.0

Last night, we visited the Emirates Palace to see the show of the seven magicians that call themselves "The Illusionists 2.0", probably the biggest magic show touring the planet at the moment.

We hadn't been to Emirates Palace before, but got to see quite a bit of it walking through to the ballroom where the show was going to be. It sure is exceptionally beautiful! Everything glistens and glimmers in gold!

We were seated on the balcony, so not only did we have the perfect view, we also didn't risk getting picked to participate on stage, something I hate..!

The seven magicians all did their own parts of the show, all very different. The Trickster, Jeff Hobson, was the only magician of the original Illusionist cast. He was a bit of a funnyman, the comedy foil of the show. The Manipulator, Yu Ho-Jin, came out and did a classic sleight-of-hand performance. Personally I thought his talent got a bit lost on the big scene, which was a shame because he was indeed super talented.

The production was truly amazing with plenty of visual effects. We had to wear the special 3D glasses for some of the illusions, as they were using interactive projections and all the latest state-of-the-art technology. Kids thought that was really cool!

We all liked The Warrior, Aaron Crow, who used props such as swords and crossbows for his scary antics and came on for two amazingly impressive performances.
Lucas laughed his big belly laugh at The Unusualist, Raymond Crowe, who mixed magic with mime and comedy and did a very funny routine with the help of some audience members. He was brilliant!

One of the better classic magicians, in my opinion, was The Master Magician - Louis de Matos; who is the youngest magician ever to receive the Devant Award from the Magic Circle. He did some amazing tricks, all a bit out of the ordinary. He also helped us do some magic ourselves with the help of some props left on our seats:

I also liked The Futurist, Adam Trent, who used some cool technology in his magic. I read an article somewhere describing his performances as a cross between David Copperfield and Justin Timberlake - which I thought was kind of fitting. A very contemporary magician.

The magician getting the most stage time was The Deceptionist, James More. He presented some huge and very visually pleasing illusions. A bit like classic Houdini, with an ultra modern twist.

Before the show, and in the intermission, we could enjoy some snacks and drinks in the foyer! That's the way we like it!

To further celebrate Nathan, since we couldn't do much on his actual birthday, we went on to the Belgian Café for some pork belly, mussels and beer. Mmm! What a night!

Friday, 26 September 2014

Abu Dhabi Harlequins vs Dubai Hurricanes

This morning we were all out on the fields at Zayed Sports City, for the Lucas first rugby game. The AD Quins were playing the Hurricanes from Dubai. Lucas had picked up his game kit at last nights practice session, looking good!

Zayed Sports City was absolutely buzzing!
We quickly realized we were total rookies as rugby parents!! We did have the folding camping chairs, but no cool bags full of cut up oranges and cold drinks, no thermos with coffee, no big umbrellas or tents... We better sharpen up until next game!

All of the kids got to play at least one game, here's Lucas in a beige helmet:

Here he is... at the bottom of that pile of sweaty boys..!

 Again, with a beige helmet, to the right:

A bit of pep talk at half time:

I think (...) they lost, and Lucas was a bit disappointed he only got to play one game, and he actually only touched the ball once... but hey, he's very new and so is the team line-up I guess. It's a start, and I'm sure he will get many more chances!

Thursday, 25 September 2014

Team WOD and coffee

It's almost the weekend, and we have been working hard at the box all week. This morning we were put into groups of four, to do a team WOD for time. It's quite thrilling, the adrenaline kicks in and you really can't slack off even the slightest when three other people are cheering you on.

Since it was the last workout of the week for most, some of the girls went downstairs for a quick coffee. The creamiest coffee I've had here by the way!

It was super nice to have a chat and get to know the others a little bit more. I really like this morning group of women. We are all very different and come from all over the world, but have this expat life and our box in common. Makes it more fun to come workout when you do it with friends!

Wednesday, 24 September 2014

The first birthday

Well, actually it's the FORTY-first birthday for that special someone today, but it's the first one that gets celebrated here in our new home! So, the kids and I had to figure out where to best hang our traditional birthday banner this morning...

Poor Daddy, this birthday will not really go down as the most fun birthday in history though.
He flew last night and landed just in time this morning to make it home and get birthday hugs from the three of us, before we set off to school and a board meeting for Swedish School. He then only just got a couple of hours of sleep before having to show up at school for a "First Impressions Meeting" with Lucas' classroom teacher at 11 o'clock.
Still tired, we did go for a lovely, healthy lunch at Nolus, a restaurant which is becoming a firm favourite of mine - and then it was back to Raha for the same kind of meeting with Linnea's teacher.

We did celebrate him properly tonight with pizza, presents and birthday cake, after we got back from Swedish School:

And then, slightly sleep deprived from the last nights flying, he went to bed at the same time as the kids... zzzzzz...

Ah well, we will celebrate him a bit more this Friday when we are all going to the world's most expensive hotel, the 7 star Emirates Palace downtown, to see this show:


It'll be great!

Tuesday, 23 September 2014

Yas x 2

I've been in full on exercise mode today!
This morning I went to the CrossFit gym at Yas and did a really tough workout (well, at the moment all WODs are tough for me!):
- Sprint one lap of upstairs, then AMRAP burpees for the rest of the minute/Rest 1 minute x 5 times.
- 1 bear complex/5 sit-ups... 2 bear complex/10 sit-ups... 3 bear complex/15 sit-ups... etc for 10 mins.
- 50 knee lifts
- 50 wall balls
- 50 box jumps

And this evening, my friend Pia and I took on the Yas circuit and power walked the 5,5k around the track! It was rather nice, the temperature has dropped slightly and the breeze that comes through is almost a bit cooling..!

Now - sofa, tea and TV!

Boys and their toys

The other week Nathan's favourite hardware store, which also happens to be situated just next to IKEA so it's a place we frequent fairly often, had a special deal on Kärcher stuff. He just couldn't help himself, he needed a high-pressure washer! Only problem was, he couldn't really use it straight away, as we didn't have any water supply at the front of our villa...

Yesterday six (!) little worker men came around to fix that problem, they ran a hose from our water tank on the roof to the front of the house, and one to the back (we live in a terraced house); so today he could finally try out his new toy!

Yeah baby!!

He had lots of fun washing the cars! Now he wants to get the window washing attachment too..!