Saturday, 27 December 2014

fishermen for the morning

One of the things I like the most about Dubai is the endless activities. Ok I know I come from London where we also have a huge amount of choice but I think because it is so cold and rainy and my salary at the time did not allow for great adventures, I never really took advantage of the options available.

Now every weekend we are guaranteed good weather and every month a tax free income we are making the most of the activities on offer. So a few weekends ago we turned fisherman from the morning and hopped on a little boat with a great group of people and headed out to the high seas.

We cruised into the endless blue ocean for about 20 minutes and by the time we stopped in our destination there was nothing around us except sea and items blissful. The peace and quiet, only broken by our laughter and shouting at fish (because as mostly girls on the boat, we thought this was the best way to catch them) which our crew found hilarious.

So it seems like you need to have patience for fishing, which most of us don't have. The ones that perservered, which surprisingly included me, were mostly successful in our hunt for fish. While I didn't catch a single fish, not even a baby one I actually had fun. We didn't go home empty handed though. A total of 6 fish were caught which we were pretty happy with.

Out of the 8 of us I was the only one who didn't get struck by seasickness. Which is a miracle in itself.

To get out of the city and escape the hustle and bustle of life in Dubai was just what I needed. Anyone in dubai who needs an escape, I would definitely recommend a boat trip!

Wednesday, 24 December 2014

so Dubai does get cold!

Whoever thinks Dubai doesn't get cold.... You're wrong. It's 12 degrees this morning and I nearly froze walking the pooch down by the marina. The mornings bring with them an icy wind and the sky is almost clear and mostly crisp.

Granted, day time temperatures are still hitting the mid 20's and I still wear flip flops most days but golly gosh those mornings bring you back to winter with a bang.

It is actually quite nice to feel cold and to put on a jumper after months of sunshine and stupidly hot temperatures. And since it doesn't feel like Christmas, it is nice to feel at least that it is winter.

Although a Christmas sunbathing session could be on the cards which will throw any notion of winter out the window.

But it is all part and parcel of expat life!

Sunday, 21 December 2014

Tuesday, 16 December 2014

a disorganised expat

I'm usually so organised and pride myself on my lists, well any excuse for buying new stationary right. But Dubai has done something to me and I no longer have my ducks in a row so to speak.

My diary and notebook have been relegated to the back of the shelf and the blog, birthdays and correspondence have all felt the effect of my lack of structure. A busy work/life situation have meant other commitments in life, which aren't necessarily commitments more like choices have well, fallen by the wayside. I am not happy about this situation since I used to pride myself on my together-ness but as the weeks pass by I have almost come to accept that not everything can be conquered and priorities have changed.

I feel like I am having a inner battle with myself at the moment, trying to accept my new position and slightly fighting it in the same breath. I feel a New Years resolution coming on.

Sunday, 14 December 2014

Sunday, 7 December 2014

Saturday, 6 December 2014

December 2014

It certainly is a wonderful time of year but for many different reasons. 


December has come along and swept me off my feet...seriously, when did it get to December!?!

I feel somewhat disorientated with the fact that it is the end of the year already and a little anxious about the fact that christmas is just a few weeks away. Maybe it is because December in the Middle East is like nothing I have ever experienced before. It has just started to get cooler and when I say cooler I mean mornings are jumper worthy but the days a still positively warm for an English expat, dipping below, but only just, 30 degrees. 

While there are more clouds to report, the sun pretty much shines consistently and despite a few spots of rain, no major storms have ventured their way into the city yet. Apparently thats when you know winter in Dubai has arrived when the first storm of the season rolls into town. 

There is very little sign of christmas here, given that it's not celebrated in this country; some shops have decorations and christmas presents, but even then, it is hard to feel christmasy when you can still spend your weekends at the beach! Shops however do have a full stock of winter clothing which I find a bit strange because seriously, who in Dubai needs a winter coat, knee high boots and scarfs. That being said if we do actually venture back to London for christmas, we will probably need to do a spot of shopping since our wardrobe consists of shorts and flip flops, so we may appreciate the wintery supplies on offer. 

Thursday, 4 December 2014

Life Lately: markets, sandance and cooler temperatures

It has taken me about four weeks to actually finish this post and some content is now a little outdated but I am rolling with it anyway. The most exciting news of the week is that winter is in the air. The temperature has dropped noticeably in the past few days and the mornings are "chilly" warranting a jumper to walk the dog....I know right....a jumper in December! Oh life is so hard. The infamous Dubai winter everyone has been banging on about is here and it's refreshing; the mornings and nights a cool and the day is a pleasant 28 degrees and more importantly there is no sweatiness to report!
Our four legged friend seems to be enjoying the cool climate too. 

In other news the Ripe market launched last, well actually over a month ago, in it's new location in Zabeel Park and months of planning for the whole Ripe team finally came together. As my first market season I'm not going to lie, the first few weeks were a little stressful. Navigating a new country and a new working environment, getting to grips with how and where and what to organise for the market from a marketing perspective has been a challenge. But a good challenge and the sense of achievement that I felt last week as people flooded through the gates and Instagram became awash with photos of people enjoying the market and using our #ripemarket hashtag made everything worthwhile. 

Now I am not afraid of hard work nor am I stranger to being on my feet thanks to my time in retail but being at the market at 5am and pounding the walkways at Zabeel park until 3, not to mention setup and breakdown is not for the feint hearted. After the first market my body felt like it had been hit by a bus by the end of the day. Tad dramatic maybe but I was exhausted. However it was Sandance on the same day and we had been given VIP tickets to go to Sandance with one of our amazing friends and I was not about to pass up that opportunity. So after a shower and a superman change we were in a taxi battling the traffic to Atlantis on The Palm. 

Sandance is a mini music festival on the beach at Atlantis and boasts amazing acts and amazing views. The views from The Palm looking back to Dubai are stunning and it was my first time on The Palm so I was a little mesmerised. That may have also been the tiredness and the overdose of sun from market day but who can tell. 

The line up was pretty good with De La Soul, Empire of the Sun, Smoking Groove, Clean Bandit and Rudimental. We were there at 6pm for De La Soul and I made it to about 11pm just long enough to see all of the above and catch the first few songs of Rudimental before my feet have way and the idea of standing on a beach with lots of excitable expats became more than I could handle. 

In other news a second Ripe Market has launched, this time in Abu Dhabi and the people of the capital came out in force to support us. The food vendors sold out pretty quick, the veggies were snapped up by mid morning and the crafties had an awesome day meet a ton of new customers. I realise I talk a lot about Ripe recently but it has kinda taken over my life, in a good way. We are so busy but it's the first time that I have enjoyed a busy job. It's hard work and I don't think people appreciate the time, effort and manpower that goes into setting up the market but in a way that's a good thing because the Ripe team must make it look so effortless. 

Christmas is fast approaching and the fact that it is already the beginning of December terrifies me a little bit. The supermarkets here have all sorts of wonderfully tacky Christmas decorations which surprised me a little bit. For some reason though when you spend your weekends alfresco eating, enjoying the market in the park and sunbathing it's difficult to get into the spirit of Christmas. 

It's still touch and go whether we will make it home for Christmas this year.  Flights are booked, the dog has temporary accommodation and I am thinking about Christmas gifts, but whether we make it to London on our Christmas Eve flight is still up in the air excuse the pun.

So much more has been happening....Pharrell, reunions and frequenting new places, but I will save that for another post. 

Tuesday, 2 December 2014

UAE National Day through expat eyes

It's our first year in Dubai and we're still finding our feet and navigating all the events and celebrations that crop up. Today is the 43rd National Day in the UAE and to be honest I knew very little about the occasion, but the history behind it is fascinating. 

National Day occurs every year on the 2nd December and marks the unification of the seven emirates in 1971 which combined to form the United Arab Emirates. It is a day which sees locals and expats, many who have adopted this country as their home, come together to celebrate the countries achievements and developments. And I have noticed a renewed energy in Dubai in the last few days, running up to the 43rd National Day; people are positive and happy and UAE national flag adorn s buildings and highways and beaches. 

My favourite part of national day is the events and activities that have been taking place during the past week to celebrate the occasion; their has been parades, the worlds longest graffiti piece, concerts, boat shows and fireworks, lighting up the sky. It all sounds so dreamy I know and it pretty much feels like that too. 

As a relatively new expat in Dubai, I can't explain much more, but this amazing video will show you the sheer progress this country has made and you may understand better the reason for the celebrations. 

Sunday, 30 November 2014

Tuesday, 25 November 2014

Bystro - Al Manara

Usually lunch is an afterthought. A hurried picking at food from a plastic Tupperware at my desk before getting back to more important tasks. But sometimes it's nice to escape the confines of the office and actually have a proper lunch. 

With that thought in our minds, a few weeks ago we decided to try out Bystro, in Al Manara. It's super close to work and we had heard mixed reviews about it so thought it was about time to see for ourselves. 

The space is beautiful; a huge open plan eating environment with shelves along the walls stacked with home made chutneys, jams and all manner of other sauces and long cabinet down the centre breaks up the space and serves as a place to present the delectable sweets, cakes and deserts on offer. All too tempting if you ask me.

The menu is quite simple but covers a great range of items including veggie options and while some items are rather generously priced there does seem to be a good mix in terms of price point. Although I feel 56 dirhams for a salad is rather a lot. 

I opted for the falafel wrap with beetroot hummus which was pretty yummy and my eating companion had a fresh fig salad. Both dishes were delicious although considering the nature of our food, service was a little slow. We also found room to savour those deserts/sweets we mentioned earlier, taking several varieties of chocolate bark back to the office with us, all of which were devoured without hesitation. 

I would want to return to savour other options from the menu, or to pick up desert, but I was bowled over in awe with this place. And in a city of such great choose, those eureka moments where you realise this is the place you have been looking for, are kinda important. 

Monday, 24 November 2014

flower power

Wednesday last week was one of those unexplained emotional days where I woke up on the wrong side of the bed and as soon as I got to work, the headphones went in my ears and I shut out the world. I don't know why but I just needed to be within my own bubble to navigate the day with as little drama as possible. 

I say I don't know why I woke up on the wrong side of the bed, but really I do. It's because the bed I woke up in was empty for the first time in months. You would think by now, I would be used to periods of separation, but shockingly, after several months of being reunited with the boyfriend, just one night made me anxious and irritable. 

The boyfriend is working on some exciting projects, hence his temporary absence for the next week and while I have plenty of my own work and life related projects to keep me occupied, the lack of his presence, compounded with the fact that yesterday just so happened to be a pretty big anniversary, made me feel a little empty and lost. 

Am I being dramatic? Probably. But living in a city where first world problems are prevalent kinda rubs off on you. That being said, my self pity bubble was abruptly burst come the afternoon when, a colourful package arrived at our warehouse with my name on it. Sometimes a hefty glass vase, crammed full of beautiful blooms does wonders for your mood. 

I feel like the only blog posts that have been tapped out recently are philosophical/emotionally charged ones and since blog posts seem to be a rarity these days, I feel the nature of my posting should change. I have a plethora of things to talk about, all lined up in a notebook ready to be crafted , but as of yet, the inclination has not come to me. 

With the smell of beautiful blooms in the air, maybe this will be the boost I need to kickstart my relationship with blogger once more. Time will tell. 

Sunday, 23 November 2014

Monday, 17 November 2014

Dubai is waking up from its summer slumber

Everyone keeps telling me Dubai is a city that comes to life in the winter. And boy oh boy does winter seem to be here! The weather is cooler, in fact the mornings a positively chilly, there is an increasing amount of activities to occupy weekends with and weekday social occasions seem to be more abundant than before. 

Although I lived in Cyprus for 3 years where the seasons also seemed to be non-existent there was definitely more winter than in Dubai. It's November and the temperature has just about dipped below 35 during the day and evenings are the perfect temperature for alfresco eating and drinking. 

There is a beautiful atmosphere to the city that I haven't witnessed until now; everyone in Dubai has seemed so grouchy and fast paced, but now it's clear that was because of the ridiculous temperatures that forced everyone to either sweat it out or stay inside. Now winters here a calm, chilled out vibe has fallen over the city. 

And the weekends are crammed full of different activities. This weekend we had two Ripe Market's, one in Dubai and one in Abu Dhabi, party in the park and sole DXB. Choices in this city seem to be endless. Usually I am home girl; I like the comfort of my apartment and the company of those who reside there.

But the better the weather gets the more I want to explore what Dubai has to offer. It is a bit weird to be going to the beach on the first weekend in November when people in England are instagramming ice skating, and I momentarily get a lump in my throat when I see Christmas lights down Oxford street. But then I remember how I love my job, the sunshine and life in Dubai and that the fun of Christmas in London will soon disappear.

And with a winter of alfresco events to choose from, il get over it I'm sure.