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. 



Sunday, 16 November 2014

Kite Beach, Dubai

I arrived in Dubai over 5 months ago as a fresh faced expat, ready to take on the city and enjoy a few weeks of unemployment in this super sunny land and make friends with beach that's a mere 10 min walk from our apartment.

And then I realised that it's summer in Dubai, it's ramadan and quite frankly it's too hot to even leave the apartment. I managed one trip to the beach which lasted about and hour and left me sweaty and delirious. 

So as the temperatures started to decline over the last few weeks, a beach trip was very very high on my priority list. Two weekends ago (that shows you how quickly time is passing) we decided to explore the infamous Kite Beach in Jumeriah, that we had heard so much about. People rave about this beach and I have to say it's rather beautiful. 




It's not a fancy beach lined with beach bars or beach clubs; there are plenty of hotels in the area if that's what your after. No it's a beautiful white sandy beach, with amazing views of the Burj Al Arab and a handful of uber cool little foodie concepts ( some of which haven't opened yet as the area is still having a bit of a makeover). 

We went very early in Saturday morning and it was blissful; a handful of families were dotted around, a morning kids sports club were doing activities and early bird couples like ourselves were enjoying the fresh morning air. 

The vibe at this beach is totally up my street. I can't be bothered to get dressed up or put makeup on for the beach and hit up a trendy beach club; no I would much rather let my hair absorb the salt water, kick back on my towel with my toes in the sand and sip on my home made juice. 

Anyone looking for a laid back beach to enjoy lazy winter weekends in Dubai, this is the one. 


sunday sound #46

Monday, 10 November 2014

Life versus Blogging

In the game of life versus blogging, life is definitely winning right now. You may have figured that out for yourself given the distinct lack of content on this blog for nearly a week!



But I am actually not going to apologise for that. There have been many times in the past that blog silence had me kicking myself but not this time because I am enjoying every moment of expat life in Dubai and I don't think that is something I should apologise for. Previously blogging was such a concern for me because it was something to focus my energy on and it was something to keep me sane during those lonely solo expat stages at the end of last year. But that's not the case anymore and life has become much more fulfilling since moving to Dubai.

Granted a large part of the life winning thing comes down to work. The #ripemarket in Dubai is now on its fifth week and spending my Friday mornings in Zabeel Park has been tiring yes, but exciting at the same time. I have met some fantastic people at the market and my eyes have been opened to the amazing small businesses that this city has to offer. On the surface this city is a plethora of shiny skyscrapers, soaring temperatures and commercial businesses overflowing from every mall. But dig a little deeper and you find a huge community of locally established, independent businesses with ├╝ber talented people at their core. I think it is the hard work and dedication I witness every week from the team at Ripe and the amazing artisans who join us every Friday that have brought out my new found enthusiasm for life so to speak.

The Ripe market is about to return to Sharjah at the end of November and will be conquering Abu Dhabi for the first time next weekend so at the moment I am eating, breathing and sleeping all things markets. Life has been taken over by veggies but I don't care because it's the first time in my life that I wake up in the morning and cannot wait to get to work.

Somehow I am also managing to fit in several social engagements although that might explain the distinct lack of gym time recently right. I guess at the end of the day it comes down to juggling; juggling work, the dog, expat life and blogging and at the moment there are not enough hours in the day for everything so blogging has to take a backseat. Not because I don't have the motivation but because I don't have the time. And as a part time blogger and someone who does it because she loves writing rather than needs an income, I can't give it 100% so id rather stay silent.

But now I have found so many inspirational artists, jewellers and foodies I don't think I will be staying silent for much longer.

Saturday, 1 November 2014

November



2014 has literally flown by and I couldn't quite believe my eyes when I looked at my phone this morning and saw the date staring back at me....1st November. Rewind to this time last year and I was in Cyprus with the pooch and the boyfriend was in Germany. The thought of living in Dubai hadn't even come up but I was sure of one thing and that was I wanted to leave to Cyprus. I needed an exit strategy and at that time, the exit strategy seemed to be Germany. 

But sometimes, events occur that mean you need to pause, review a situation and make many, many lists. So after several months of planning, a two-month pitstop in London and a lot of stress later, Dubai became the next part of our expat journey. It's fair to say it worked out pretty well and lady luck has been looking over us. 

In a few short months I have (luckily) found a job that I love, learnt to navigate this strange new city, made some awesome friends and settled in. Dubai is feeling much more like home now and although November has come out of nowhere, we are welcoming it. Because it brings with it the infamous Dubai winter! The temperatures are dropping, the humidity has retreated and the sweaty sensation that washed over you every time you left the building is a thing of the past. 

November this year will not be like any I have ever experienced...there will be no leaves crunching beneath my feet, no jumpers being dragged out from the back of the wardrobe and no rain in sight! And as we all know, my dislike for rain is greater than anything else. So November....bring it on.