Saturday, 27 March 2021

Back to Maya Island

Today we went on a holiday!
At least that's how it felt as we went back to Maya Island! 

It's just about a 15 minute boat ride off the coast of the city, but it feels like you are on a resort in a foreign country somewhere - it's lush, lush, lush! I really enjoy it there!
We went out for the day together with Friday, Calle and their three kids; made ourselves comfortable in one of the cabanas and had a great time!



We spent the day playing cards, swimming, lunching, playing football, and enjoying the sun and the sea. It has just about got warm enough for me now to get into the water again, even if - I admit - it took a little while to get in..!

This is the only kind of Corona-situation I like!

The gazelles were grazing just behind us, it truly felt like we were in the middle of some safari park! So beautiful, and even though they keep their distance, they don't seem too bothered when you approach to snap a photo or two.

Can you spot them there just behind me?

This time we stayed until sunset, so pretty!

21 - 27 March 2021

Sunday and I seem to wake up with a headache most mornings lately. It's an easy fix (with coffee), but nevertheless, it's not very nice. I'd rather fix it before going to bed so I can wake up with a clear head, maybe it's dehydration?
Anyhow, we had a great coaching session today at padel with three of us for a change. Good fun!
Unfortunately my headache came back again after lunch, so it wasn't a very nice day. We cooked hoisin and garlic chicken and rice for dinner, and I actually went to bed before 9pm, with lights out not long after that - while Nathan was hunting our extremely noisy cricket in the kitchen... (Don't ask...)

Monday and today marks the start of a big week for me. This morning I had the renewal exam for my Tour Guide License, which I passed, phew! Good to guide for another two years - now we just need some tourists! Then the Uni-exam for the Landscape painting syllabus came alive, and I have been working all day on that. It has to be submitted on Thursday night, so will be working on that every free minute this week! Linnea baked some banana bread and Nathan went flying. Didn't want to waste time cooking, so oven-pancake for dinner.

Tuesday and I dove straight back into the books with my morning coffee, and a part from a short break for exercise I studied the whole day. Nathan was off, so he handled the ground service today. Steak and veggies for dinner.

Wednesday and padel time, although for some reason only three people out of our big group could play today, so I brought Nathan as our fourth player. Bad idea though, as instead of impressing with everything I learnt since last time we played, I sucked and played my worst ever. And with a bad attitude, as he got on my nerves... ha ha.
The rest of the day I dug my heels in to finish my exam, and I think I did. Will let it rest until tomorrow and submit after checking it through again with fresh eyes.
Chicken and bacon pasta for dinner.

Thursday and Nathan was off to work early in the morning. I had not one, but two padel games this morning, so prepared accordingly with my normal two cups of coffee, lots of water - and the right outfit, ha ha! I played both with the Swedish girls, and also a game with some new friends, two Argentinian chicas. So much fun!
Then it was time to send in my exam and bam - just like that, all three exams of this week are done! Wii-hoo!
Lucas went to play basketball with some friends in the afternoon and I took the opportunity of stopping in at the drive-through and pick up some Spring Break KFC for dinner after having dropped him off.

Friday and a bit of exercise for me in the morning while Nathan was at work. 

I surprised the family by having ordered some special Kiwi treats for snack and then I took Linnea to the hairdresser, she decided to get a darker toner again, and cut some curtain bangs (!). Nathan in his turn took Lucas to fix up his "haircut" before Lucas was off to the movies with his friends in the evening.
The rest of us had homemade burgers and curly fries for dinner, I had got some nice veggie burgers for me, yum.

Saturday and it was time for a bit of R&R. We went back to Maya Island, today together with Frida, Calle and family. Lush lush lush! Picked up some take-away burgers for some on the way home.

Thursday, 25 March 2021

Spring Break!

And that was it! We have reached the end of Term 2 of this school year, time for Spring Break!
But for the second year in a row, we will not be traveling anywhere, which feels rather sad, and very weird. Usually we ALWAYS travel for Spring Break. Also it has now been two years since we went to NZ, and who knows with the current state of the world, when we will be able to go again. :(

I'm not quite sure what we will be doing instead. We have talked about maybe going up to Dubai for a few days, after Linnea have reached her 28 days after the vaccination and got her E-status. But I must admit during this whole Covid-time I have developed a bit of a fear, or at least an unease around traveling. All the different rules and regulations that keep constantly changing, the risks of accidentally raking up thousands and thousands of AED in fines if you get something wrong, the multiple PCR-tests that can show whatever and so on. It all gives me anxiety just thinking about it.

I guess we will see what adventures we can make happen. I have to leave my safe little bubble sooner or later! After a week where I have submit two Uni exams and passed my Tour Guide License renewal exam, I do feel a bit worn out, so just like the kids, I'm just looking forward to a bit of a break - even if it's all just here in Abu Dhabi.

Saturday, 20 March 2021

14 - 20 March 2021

Sunday was a Sunday like most other Sundays at the moment. Started with padel, although not our best coaching session. Continued with studies, managed to finish off my Museoloy assignment and will let it rest now a few days before polishing and submitting. Picked up kids, cooked dinner  - Smokey BBQ chicken fajitas - and watched TV. We had an early night, all went to bed before 10pm.

Monday and everybody up, Nathan off to work and kids to school. I jumped on the treadmill before continuing the studies for the other Uni course, yes, it's a lot at the moment because it's all culminating this week and next. Later in the afternoon Uni lecture on Zoom, last one for this course; and fish parcels, corn on the cob and oven roasted veggies for dinner before I had a bath and watched Greys Anatomy.

Tuesday and another day on the treadmill and in front of the computer. Nathan went flying and I took the kids for another PCR-test for school in the afternoon, and cooked pasta and Swedish meatsauce (no tomatoes) for dinner.
I spent a really long time trying to figure out why the Roborock all of a sudden didn't want to return to dock after cleaning, tried all the tricks; until Nathan came home and saw that the cord that says "Do not unplug" had indeed been unplugged... (Someone had plugged the iron in to iron their uniform, so they were forgiven though.)

Wednesday morning, Nathan went flying, again. He is working what feels like all the time at the moment! I went to padel, as every Wednesday morning. It's nice to have this game scheduled in the middle of the week each week. Nice to play of course - but also nice with the coffee after!
Today we had chicken katsu and rice for dinner which was yum, but the evening turned into an evening of bad news. One after the other, which ended with the announcement that the kids whole school have to move to e-learning with immediate effect. Bugger!

Thursday and back to e-learning. Looking at the bright side, we got to sleep an hour longer in the morning, and I had no lunch box or school-run to do. I had padel in the morning, and in the afternoon I went for a walk at the mall and finished off by getting groceries.
Lucas was hanging with his friends in the evening and while they had Shake Shack for dinner, the rest of us had sushi. Yum all around.

Friday started rather slow, I didn't get started with my exercise until after lunch. Nathan did it the other way around, spent the morning in the Pain Cave, and then he went flying. I spent the afternoon getting through the ironing mountain while catching up on some TV and Linnea spent it with a friend. Kids ordered pizza for dinner, and I had soup and bread.

Saturday and exercising first thing in the morning-ish. Nathan off to work again, Lucas had afternoon volleyball and I went for dinner with Jennifer, Linda and Frida. I was a good wife and mother and prepared a Cottage Pie for the others before I left. Another week done and dusted, next week is last week of this term. It's also exam week for me, so Spring Break will be much needed for all of us. Bring it.

Thursday, 18 March 2021

15 days

15 days at school was all that Linnea got. Yesterday school told us they would close with immediate effect, and move to e-learning for the rest of the term until Spring Break. Argh!
It wasn't disclosed exactly how many cases emerged from the latest testing, but it didn't sound like there was many. It was actually a bit surprising that the whole school got shut considering all their protocols, and how well and how fast they dealt with the positive cases and their close contacts. But in the end, it's up to the authorities, and I guess they think "rather safe than sorry".

Luckily the kids are so used to the e-learning and the routines for home school are there already. They both truly are superstars for adapting so well through all these constant changes. The transition this morning was pain-free, even though there was mixed feelings about having to stay at home again just as they had got used to face-to-face learning.

This really brought down my general mood, it feels like five steps back again, just as we were seeing the light in the tunnel. Booo. It's a never-ending story this Coronapocalypse...

Wednesday, 17 March 2021

Seven years

It's our anniversary today! It's been 7 years since the kids and I (Nathan arrived already in January 2014) moved to Abu Dhabi, and straight into our house. This same house we are still living in. 

I could litter this post with photos as I got all mushy and nostalgic looking through the photos from those last few months in Brunei, and our first months here; but, all the photos are already in the archives of this blog (and in the one I wrote while in Brunei obviously), so I will not post them again.

Just a couple, one from the kids last day at Jerudong International School, and from their very first visit to Raha International School, all back in March 2014:

And our departure day, at Brunei International Airport, ready for our next chapter!
Oh how time flies!

Tuesday, 16 March 2021

SOME streak!

I have been waiting for today's display on my watch - the 365 days streak is complete!

365 days of burning at least 500 calories through exercise EVERY day! A whole year of daily exercise!!!

So what have I been doing?
Lately my exercise have consisted of padel 3-4 times a week, and usually the treadmill for the rest of it. Sometimes I've done some outdoor walking, or Zumba; and during the summer trip to Sweden it was only outside walks or bike rides, so most of it has been just cardio I must admit. So no, not all exercise have been generating puddles of sweat or huge spikes in the heart rate, but I have made a conscious choice to move - every day for a year. That's something to be proud of for sure.

Last spring during the lockdown I was doing a lot more strength based exercises as well, and I was both slimmer and more toned then, than I am now. I would like to get back in top form, so will try and bring those videos back into my routine. I guess it'll come naturally eventually, when the heat will force me to do inside workouts only.

I guess I have the Covid-situation to thank for finally sticking to a routine and for realizing that there is always time every day for some exercise.

Saturday, 13 March 2021

7 - 13 March 2021

Sunday morning and took both kids to school - now both going FULL TIME, for the first time in over a year!!! Wiii-hooo!!!
I should've had padel coaching this morning, but the coach was ill so that got cancelled last minute, boo. Treadmill it was instead. Getting it done. After school the kids and I spent an hour at the drive-in testing station for PCR, time to test for school, again. Every 10/11th day.
We were so hungry when we finally got home that we had dinner super early - stegt flaesk with parsley sauce and potatoes, om nom nom!

Monday morning I spent exploring Yas Bay during another walk with my friend Anna. So nice to be outside, have to make sure to enjoy it as much as we can, as warmer days are coming. I worked a bit on an assignment, had a UNI lecture, and cooked daal for dinner (for me, burgers for the others).

Tuesday and today was a really good day. Good mood exercise, Study Group with my LAD-girls, picking the kids up, getting a quote for new blinds for the kitchen, and sorting out some admin for the LAD/DCT-license which eventually will mean - work!
Spinach and mushroom risotto for dinner with the add-on of chorizo for some, freshly baked baguettes and pimientos de padrón as well. Yum!

Wednesday and big group padel time. Grateful for every week it's still ok temperatures to play outside. Today was a great session, it's really cool to see the progression of everyone, that comes with more play. Unfortunately today I had to skip the coffee after as I had to get to the hairdresser on time. Went even shorter today... ha ha, not sure where this will end!

For dinner I made oven/thick-pancake with carrots and our favourite bacon, cranberries and brussel sprouts salad. Colourful and delicious!

Thursday morning and we were all up together. Nathan had to go to Dubai for a medical so he took the kids to school, and I went to padel, again. Never too much padel! I really try to play as much as I can for as long as I'm not working and while the weather is good; plus it's so much fun and it makes me so happy.
Linda and I went to explore another new place on the Abu Dhabi food scene for lunch, Montauk.
We had pasta with chicken and bacon for dinner and watched 'Coming to America 2'. It's rare that we find a movie that all of us appreciate so it was nice.

Friday and I finally managed to have a proper sleep-in until about 09.30! Did me good! Other than that the day just ran away with some Zooming with the NZ family, exercise and a quick study session and UNI seminar before it was time to go to the LAD for a Sundowner together with Frida and Calle.

Saturday morning was a bit slow, Nathan went to work and I started my day with coffee in bed and catching up with some Netflix. Then tidying up, exercise and Uni work; and the new blinds came! I had to get new ones for the kitchen since we haven't been able to neither raise nor open the old ones for ages, after the string broke. This time I picked ocean blue ones, love how they go with the rug and well needed in here with a bit more colour! Here's before and after:

We also had a roller blind installed in Nathan's Pain Cave so that he has some more privacy when training out there. Great stuff.

We also got to catch up with the McGeehees, our ex-door-neighbours who now live in Dubai, for the first time in over a year! So lovely to see them all.
Lucas volleyball game has changed times to Saturday afternoons because of the changes in temperature, so I spent the afternoon being Mums Taxi; then couldn't be bothered to cook, and with Nathan at work we had McDonald's for dinner.

Sundowner supreme

Last night we went to the Art Lounge right under the dome at the Louvre Abu Dhabi for a Sundowner together with our friends Frida and Calle. Such an amazingly beautiful location with equally amazing views.

We sure are getting into warmer times, there certainly was no need for the cardigan that I had brought last night - it was 31 degrees all evening long, with a slightly warm breeze coming through.

They had a wine & cheese offer going, so - we had wine and cheese of course, until it was almost coming out of our ears! So much cheese, and so much wine!

Strolling back out under the dome at the end of the evening felt like we were doing something we shouldn't, as of course the museum was all empty. Stunning, stunning, stunning at night!

I'll never ever get tired of this place, or these views. Look at that dome! Dazzling! 

Thursday, 11 March 2021

A trip to the Hamptons

Linda and I went on another discovery journey to another newly opened café today, the 'Montauk Boutique Café' which has only been opened a little over a month. It was the very first time I think I've had to actually wait to be seated, it was full when we arrived! It seemed extremely popular, especially with the locals.

Quite a fancy looking place, I really liked the decor, it felt like we left Abu Dhabi and traveled overseas as it had a bit of a Hamptons theme. A seaside palette of blue and grey colours, lots of plants, oversized furniture, white wood and a light, breezy and natural look. Coastal chic!


Funnily enough, the music they had streaming throughout the café was that of a French bistro..!
Menu was a bit limited as we arrived just in between the breakfast and lunch times, but I had a delicious salmon bagel and then we shared the biggest slice of carrot cake I've seen in a long time.

Nice to discover new places, but as nice as it was, it was also a bit on the expensive side, so I don't think I'll rush back.

Tuesday, 9 March 2021

Yas Bay Waterfront

Yesterday I went for a walk with my friend Anna to explore another new area in Abu Dhabi, Yas Bay on Yas Island. It's very much still under construction and not quite there yet, but at least you can get a good idea by now of how beautiful it'll be once it's all done!
This promenade will run all along the whole of the waterfront, where there eventually will be cafés and restaurants opening, entertainment and retail outlets.

Already inaugurated is the new indoor arena - Etihad Arena, a multi-purpose venue with a capacity of 18,000 guests, which has already hosted a few events, notably the UFC several times.

We spotted this intriguing piece of artwork about to be installed in the water along the waterfront in front of the arena. I have tried finding out more about it, but with no luck so far. I'll keep digging!

Colourful murals, I love it!

The 'Mad Lounge' has got a face lift, and a new decor.

This artwork is titled "The Humans" and is by Canadian-Indian artist Fatima Mohiuddin (more known by her handle @fatspatrol) who grew up here in the UAE. Really, really cool.


We walked all the way past the new arena...

... and over to the newly opened new Hilton Yas Island hotel:

Really, really fresh and contemporary decor! It looked fantastic!

We went out on their terrace to have a coffee break, and enjoy the views.

A great morning! I'm looking forward to when this is all completed, or to maybe having a staycation here at the Hilton soon!