Sunday, 25 September 2016


We have had a birthday in the house! Forty-three was the number this year.
Nathan only got home from work about lunch time, so there was no breakfast in bed this birthday. Instead he got to open his presents a bit later:

Even though it was a school night we decided to throw a little party. Since it was a school night, we made it family friendly and started already at 5pm - party, pizza and donuts!
Linnea was super helpful with the party preparations. She came along and got balloons, we put up the party streamers and got all the party snacks ready.

We had about 40 people coming all together and had made it really easy for ourselves, and ordered pizza. But not just any pizza, we ordered four monster sized XL pizzas! Only three would fit on the 260cm long dining table and the last one had to stay in the kitchen. Ha ha, they were so big we had to tilt the boxes to get them in through the door!

We managed to feed everybody without any problem, and of course also have tons of leftovers..!

True to our tradition here, we decided on donuts for "cake". Always a hit!
Happy Birthday Sweety!

It was a great night! Actually the first time since we moved here we've thrown a bigger party!
Next time we won't do it during a school night though. Even though it was rather nice that the party was over early enough for me to still get enough sleep before the early school run..!

Saturday, 24 September 2016


On Friday it was time for an early roadtrip up to Dubai and the first friendly rugby matches of the season. Lucas and his Harlequins U13s were playing both the Exiles and the Warriors, the latter which is Malthe's team. Good to see the Dehlis again!

The Quins got defeated in every match though, but Lucas was still happy that he decided to go last minute, and had a good time together with his team mates.
In the meantime Linnea made a new friend in one of the other little sisters, and they hid away in the shade together. It quickly got really, really hot and sticky, lucky they were only playing two matches.

As it had been quite a while since we caught up, we went home with the Dehlis after the game for a quick visit, to see their new house, new puppy and have some pizza for lunch before we returned to Abu Dhabi. Cosy!

Friday, 23 September 2016

Hobnobbing, by accident

Yesterday I met for lunch with a friend at Jones Grocers, as it had been a while we'd been there and their food is really delicious.
We had no idea, but at the exact same time they hosted a demonstration by a celebrity chef named Peter Gordon. I didn't know of him but I sent a quick photo to my sister-in-law Nikki who's a real foodie, and asked if she knew who it was? Well, yes, turns out he's a KIWI chef! Aha!

We didn't take part in the demo, but we did enjoy the special lunch menu that Peter Gordon had composed for Jones the Grocer for a limited time. We had creamy chicken, mushroom and parsnip quiche; salad with miso-baked aubergine, dates, feta, crispy buckwheat and tahini youghurt; and a pear and kiwifruit lassi:

I wasn't too keen on the quiche unfortunately, but the salad and the lassi were really yummy! And just so that I could say I went to lunch with Peter Gordon - I took a little paparazzi shot of the chef himself, behind the display of his latest book. 

Wednesday, 21 September 2016

A new adventure!

This is what my horoscope said for today, very fitting:

Fitting because this is what I did this morning, together with a group of other applicants from many different countries like Turkey, India, Qatar, Brazil etc..:

This is very exciting!! I will be doing this course for the next month and by the end of October, hopefully I will have my Abu Dhabi Tourist Guide License and can start taking groups on guided tours.

My plan is to freelance and concentrate on the Scandinavian market. I have also heard there is a lot of demand for guides for the cruise liner groups, which might also be interesting for me. We will see!
First to get through the course and pass the exams! Let's see how much I remember from my past career as tourist guide, it sure has been a while..!

Sunday, 18 September 2016

Fall feelings

Woo-hoo, this morning was the first morning this season when the temperature showed below 30 degrees at the school run. Yay, autumn is on it's way - and with that, outdoor living! Aaahhh, can't wait!


Yesterday I took part in my very first ZIN Jam here in Abu Dhabi.
A ZIN Jam is a three hour Zumba® session only for instructors, designed by a Zumba® Jammer. You can apply to become a Zumba® Jammer, as every region have their own, and we have Rellu - who is from Sweden!

These Zumba® Jammers create fresh choreography that they share with instructors during the ZIN Jamsessions. Yesterday Rellu taught us four new routines, complete with queuing, that we can now instantly incorporate into our playlists.

It was a good way of learning some new tracks, but above all it was great to catch up with my Zumba® friends. There was about 20 of us, so a big group, and many I hadn't seen for quite a while. Lots of fun!

Friday, 16 September 2016

Our sofa has grown!

We (well... I...) have had this idea for a while, that we wanted to upgrade our sofa. I always felt like I was sitting in the movies or on parade, as the only way to sit was all four in a row facing the TV.
I wanted something a little bit more "conversational friendly" for those times where we would use the sofa for socializing and not just for watching TV.

I couldn't really find any photos of how it used to look other than this one below. It is from the very first months in the house, so it all looks rather bare still. Although, you can see the shape of the sofa at least:

We went to IKEA the other day during the school holiday, and got ourselves a corner unit to add on. (FYI it's a Kivik sofa). It turned out great, although it's become quite a monster! It's now humongous!

At least now we can easily fit two families in when we have visitors!!
Lucky the room is rather big. Even though the sofa is taking up a lot of space, it doesn't feel like it's taken over. It just feels like we have screened off the living room part a little bit more, and made a room in the room.

What do you think?

Thursday, 15 September 2016


Since the visit to The Green Planet didn't take as long as we had anticipated, and we didn't want to just turn around and go back to Abu Dhabi straight after lunch; we googled for something else to go and explore in the area.
We went for the 'Challenge Chambers' at the Sunset Mall.

The 'Challenge Chambers' is a "real-life-escape-game", a mentally challenging role-play game. The kids got "trapped" inside a small room, and had to solve a bunch of clues and riddles, find hidden objects and connect missing links to find the right combination to get out again. There were many rooms to choose from, each room had a set theme and storyline. As none of them had tried it before, we chose the smallest/quickest room, which had a 30 minute time limit.

Pia and I sat outside and listened to the kids' efforts, which was rather entertaining. In the end they got to snooze their time an extra five minutes and received some helpful hints from the Challenge Master so that they were successful in escaping.
It seemed like a lot of fun, maybe we'll try it again soon for someones birthday..! :)

The Marimekko Café

On our way to The Green Planet we passed another place we both had heard about before, through SWEA, the Marimekko Café. We decided to go back there for lunch after our visit to the rainforest.

Marimekko, the famous Finnish design house opened this Marimekko Café last year as the brands first café worldwide. It's placed as a great complement to the boutique just next door. The café, was boldly decorated with the well-known bright and colourful prints of the brand.

Some of us had an all-day breakfast, some sandwiches and others sausages and mash. The menu catered for all cravings. It also had some interesting beverages on the menu, like the orange blossom flavoured latte that I decided to try, accompanied by a tasty macaron. Mmm, delish!

We did have a quick look in the shop, but looking only today!

The Marimekko Café is situated in this brand new cool development called BoxPark. This stretch of retailers and eateries is put together with over 200 shipping containers to form a uniquely designed and super funky outdoor strip mall. So many more places to explore, both shops and restaurants, somewhere I'll go back for sure!

The Green Planet

We have had the whole week off school this week, thanks to the holiday of Eid Al Ahda (the second most important festival in the Muslim calendar). Even though we had only been to school for two weeks, it's been quite nice to get some extra time off.
We have mostly spent it at home. The kids have had playdates and sleepovers, I've covered some Zumba and Lucas went to the new 'Bounce' trampoline park, but other than that we haven't done much.
So today Pia and I took the kids and went on an excursion to Dubai. I had heard of this newly opened place called 'The Green Planet' and I was eager to check it out. A fascinating project, a "fully immersive vertical rainforest"!

I must say I was a little bit disappointed at first with the size of it, I was expecting something along the lines of 'Gardens by the Bay' in Singapore, and this was nowhere near that same size.
It was still fascinating, and I must admit it managed to make me rather homesick for Brunei... All the lovely green jungle, the noises and the animals.

We traveled to the top of the canopy by elevator, and then walked down a spiral ramp to learn more about each different level of the rainforest. Check it out - a four-storey exotic jungle inside a biodome, complete with the world's largest man-made tree!

We did the whole thing, walked about and saw everything worth looking at, it took us a little less than an hour to have a good look around, so it was good for a morning activity.

Even though I found it a bit pricey (95 AED/adult and 70 AED/child), it was a fab visit. We were all enthralled and learned a lot. The kids were all keen on reading their way through the different exhibits and took tons of photos.

We saw many different birds, beautiful blue Hyancinth Macaws (the longest parrot species in the world), Solomon Island Eclectus, Toucans and more; we saw ant and reptile exhibits - and even sleeping porcupines:


Emma and Sofie both held some big cockroaches, yuk...

The resident sloth, hiding away sleeping in a bush down at the forest floor:

We saw many birds around as they flew freely around the dome, but we didn't see any butterflies at all, even though the information boards indicated there should be loads. Booo.

The bottom layer of the rainforest, the flooded rainforest:

To finish off our visit - a groupie outside in the sun!