Advance Mother’s Day Celebration

I must be crazy because mother’s day is months away and here I am celebrating it in March right?…weeeeeell because Dubai is a mix of different nationalities Mother’s day comes two times for me over here. The UK nationals celebrate Mother’s day on 30 March and because my son goes to a British curriculum school we’ve adapted this for about 3 years now. But also because we grew up in the Philippines which celebrates mother’s day in May same time as in the US, I get both!!!! With this in mind you just know I had to take advantage of this fact as much as I can.

To my fellow mommies living the multicultural life here in Dubai, Happy 1st Mother’s day for 2014!

We celebrated me today with a friday brunch at Mövenpick hotel at Ibn Batutta Gate. The husband won a friday brunch for two from a raffle during a conference and I didn’t want to use it “just because” so the first “special” occasion that came up, I had him book us a table.

20140328-164926.jpgAl Bahou restaurant was not mabahou at all hehe sorry I couldn’t resist!!! Al Bahou means the grand hall and indeed the restaurant was GRAND. But I actually think it’s a restaurant only on the weekends when they turn the grand hall into one (not really sure about this fact). It’s actually smart because you have al the restaurants on the sides and you can come in and out of each with your preferred dish/food. The choices are Chinese, Japanese, Sicilian, Morocan  at the centre of the hall they’ve put up stalls with fresh seafood, fresh sushi, breads, etc let’s just say there was food everywhere you look.

Upon arrival it seemed that friday brunch here seems very popular with the expat crowd. There was a line of people to come in checking reservations etc etc and as soon as we reached the front of the line I saw the list and it was a long one. But still I couldn’t understand what was the big deal. Upon showing us to our table they showed me the kids movie room, bouncy castle and play area for the kids all within birds eye view from our seat…PERFECT. When I led the kids to the movie room I saw they had their own buffet with nuggets, fries, pasta, burger and best of all GUMMI BEARS!!!! Then a staff came up to me and told me I could leave the kids and she would be in charge of the boys while I enjoy my brunch. Am I dreaming? Is this real??? I saw all the mommies dropping their kids off so after a little hesitation and a lot of persuasion from the staff I went back to  our table and started my relaxing friday brunch with just the husband and I. Now I know the reason for the line.

And so it begins…

Their brunch is international so I had my usual Japanese, Seafood, Chinese, Italian fix. They had a dessert room that made my knees weak. Enjoy the pictures

Here are details on the place:

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Dessert (a part of it) there was one whole room dedicated for this

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After all that’s been eaten and done I had this big silly grin on my face. It was just so nice to eat and relax and not worry about the kids for two hours. No wonder these friday brunches cost so much because of all the service you get from the hotel it is WORTH IT — ONCE in a while. The husband did promise to do this again I asked if we could do this again on my birthday and he promised me we’d go to somewhere better (naks! plus pogi points please)

 

Here are the details:

Al Bahou Dubai Ibn Battuta Gate | Adjacent to Ibn Battuta Shopping Mall | P.O.Box 211508 Dubai | United Arab Emirates +971 4 444 0000 | hotel.dubai.ibnbattuta@moevenpick.com

Prices: AED395 with unlimited selected house beverages, AED295 with soft beverages, AED495 with selected house beverages and French bubbly, AED95 for children between 6 and 12 years of age. Children under 6 eat for free

 

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30 day challenge

I’m the type of person that usually procrastinate when it comes to loosing weight and diet. I love to eat so our problem starts there. Don’t get me wrong, I have nothing against exercise I actually like to do it, if I can. But if you think I still have extra energy to workout after I feed the boys, wash their clothes, clean the house, iron…yada yada then you’d be mistaken.

But now that my baby boy will almost be two years old, I think it’s time to put the pregnancy clothes away, don’t you think? To add insult to injury I think my scale is broken because it hasn’t moved for months now.

This year I made a pact with my cousin “make Better Choices” was our theme. Whether it be in our diet or our money spending habits – BETTER CHOICES.  Of course mine meant better choices on my food but I was at Cheesecake Factory the day after we made this pact so there goes my end of the bargain…but every time one of us falls off the wagon we try to motivate each other and try again tomorrow. My sister thinks were crazy and just kidding ourselves with all this talk. But maybe after three months of this ON again OFF again talk on better choices some of it has actually rubbed off on me.

My first step was realising that food was not the enemy, I can eat as much as I can as long as it’s the right choices well in moderation,of course. Every week I try to balance giving into my cravings and eating healthy. It’s not always easy, but I try to take it day by day.

For fun I also added some exercise to the mix. I tried this 30 day challenge I saw on Pinterest. I found the 30 day squat challenge, it looked easy enough and the results some people got from it was inspiring – Kim Kardashian booty levels even, so I decided to try this for myself. After my first day, I was still pumped up so I found this plank challenge, planking supposedly builds core strength and stability, so from there I started my 30 day squat and plank challenge. 

30-day-plank-challenge-chart 30-day-squat-challenge-chart

The planking was the big surprise for me, I only chose it because I thought it was going to be easy but oh boy! when the first minute passes by, you just want to wither and die. (I exaggerate of course but I did want to die…)

Anyway, today is my last day and I just finished my last squat, surprisingly it was easy to reach 250 reps today, 30 days ago I thought 250 was a crazy number but I think because the reps increased gradually day by day it was easy for my body to do 250 after 30 days.

Sad to say there are no replicas of a Kim Kardashian booty over here but I am proud nevertheless of myself for seeing this 30 days through. Because I’m shy I will not post any before and after photos but don’t be disappointed there was/is no earth shocking difference, I’m still me, no swimsuit modelling anytime soon. But in spite of the meager results I feel good all over and the 30 day challenge made me challenge myself. Everytime I wanted to quit, I would always think to myself, “it’s just 30 days suck it up” and next thing you know it, I was done! I enjoyed it so much I am looking forward to doing one more set of 30 day challenges. naks!

Hopefully with about a thousand of these challenges, by the time my son goes off to college, I would’ve lost all my pregnancy weight and finally start wearing normal clothes AGAIN.

Wish me luck!!!!

Here are other 30 day challenges I found online, try some and let me know which one is the easiest so I can add it to my list hehehehe.

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School woes

It’s no secret that getting a slot in a good school for your child could be very competitive here in Dubai. This fact often leads to mothers reserving not one but a lot of slots in different schools so that in the end they can have a choice which school is the best for their children.

As for me, I tried to steer away from this mentality because I thought it was kinda rude that when other parents are clamouring for a spot for their child here’s one parent holding down three or four. Our current nursery  has an affiliate school that upon research and on site visits looks appropriate enough so we chose that as our school for my son moving onwards. There was no need to reserve slots because they promised us ample slots for students attending their nursery. With this in mind I was relax and happy even excited for my son going to “big school”.

But life is never that easy isn’t it? So for entertainment’s sake the new school told me that my son was too old for FS2 and that we had to get him assessed for year 1 to put him in the right age group.

I was ok with that because I was very confident my son would pass grade 1 (siempre no. 1 fan!). But as the assessment was taking so long to happen I played Devil’s Advocate and raised the question to the admin department “What if he doesn’t pass Grade 1 would he still be accepted to FS2?

The answer was a resounding NO to add salt to my wounds they told me that they think it would be better to find a new school that will be willing to accept him with his over the limit age for FS2. Mind you he is only over the age limit by FIVE DAYS.

I’m a very loyal and emotional person, so this reply hurt me. I’ve championed their school to all my friends and co parents at the nursery talking about their diversity and state of the art facilities that I felt kinda betrayed with their answer. I’ve asked the help of our nursery manager and even she is frustrated with the system she even told me that personally if this happened to her she wouldn’t want her children to go to a school that’s not flexible enough to overlook 5 days age difference. With this in my mind I was hurt and confused.

But my husband always the realist between the two of us looks at this as an opportunity to look for a better school for our son. Now as I write this I’ve come to realize that it was not personal, it’s their policy and we should respect that. And the Nursery Manager was right why put my son in a school that could just cause me more heartaches.

We found lots of other options online so now I have to start being like any other parent in Dubai and get as much slots as I can for my son. I just wished we knew earlier so I would’ve started applying to other schools sooner. Some of my sons classmates already have 3 schools in line.

We however have NIL. And so the race begins…


Bu Faisal General Trading L.L.C.

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Aside from our Tagalog movie marathon and non stop eating in Ajman last friday the women of Ajman brought us Dubai girls to a “secret” place in Ajman that sells used furniture. Bu Faisal is not really a secret, I’m sure the super super thrifty have heard of this place in Ajman to buy used furniture. I’ve heard of it because we have friends who live there, one even had her two bedroom flat fully furnished by Bu Faisal. I was happy to be able to go sans naughty boys special thanks to Kuya V, Ate C and Ate M for watching over my boys while mommy was away shopping hehe .

WARNING: not a place for kids, there were broken glass everywhere and the stairs were not so sturdy so BEWARE.

Imagine a warehouse full of a variety of used items for sale. It was like a candy store to DIY(ers).  I wish I could start a project but space and resources are all not to my advantage. There is a couple of wing chairs I had my eye on that simply needed a upholstery and it would have been a fabulous (naks!) I do have to give kudos to the men who run the place because it was well sorted out. There was a place for electronics, furniture, appliances, clothes etc etc. Ikea furniture was all over the place (but don’t tell my husband or else he will never let me buy anything from the Sweden store ever again!!! – my life will be over – drama!!!).

I’m currently obsessing on dinnerware so that was my section of interest. I was overwhelmed with my choices and as always couldn’t decide and didn’t get much. I did see some nice wine glasses but I could just imagine my boys breaking them and me ending in tears so – never mind. a friend;y advice you do need to get your hands dirty and dig in there my friend got some Corelle plates as a set hiding somewhere under all the dishes – she was very lucky and very happy because they only priced her items at 20 aed.  As for me, I just bought a CorningWare serving dish and a glass candy bowl from Poland, that I just thought was nice meh meh!

I am excited though to be invited again to Mr. and Mrs. M’s place because maybe the girls and I can sneak out again and visit my new best friend Bu. 😉

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Bu Faisal Used Furniture
Ajman
United Arab Emirates

+971 (50) 179-4045 (Toll Free 800-JUNK) 

www.takemyjunkuae.com
info@takemyjunkuae.com )

Physical Address
Sheikh Maktoum bin Rashid Al Maktoum Street, Jurf
Ajman, United Arab Emirates


The 24 hour dinner

Our weekend started out with an impromptu invitation for dinner to Ajman with friends from work. Our gracious host, Mr. and Mrs. M is an older couple than most of us that it feels like they are our older brother and sister. Their family has always opened up their home to all of us that coming over for dinner feels like coming to my lolo’s house for sunday lunch.

They are renting out a 5 bedroom villa out there for the same price as a 3 bedroom flat here in Dubai. But because they are a bigger family the 5 bedroom fits them perfectly. They even have a music/theater/entertainment room upstairs that houses all of Mr. M’s musical instruments and gadgets.

The kids were busy playing by themselves that they were in their own little world (my two boys included 😉), the bigger boys were engrossed on their conversations outside by the lanai and the women and I were relaxing at the dining room watching tagalog movies back to back to back and eating whatever Mrs. M serves in front of us 🐷. The dinner was so much fun we decided to stay the night at their place and stay until late afternoon the next day.

It felt like food was just coming out of the kitchen every hour I was already feeling sorry for Dara who had to was all the dishes again and again and again. But aside from this you know that this was my kind of weekend.

On the drive home it gave me a little time to be grateful to have friends from DW that also feels like family. In this place where sometimes it feels like it’s just the four of us, it’s nice to be invited for dinner just because they want to reconnect and see each other. We truly had a nice weekend at the M’s even if not one of us took showers and changed clothes for 24 hours.

Mental note: next dinner at Ajman, I'm going to be packing the boys and myself an overnight bag.
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kids communicating (?)

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my boy behaving well with Mr. M

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the boys being silly at Ate Mela’s bean bag. This was also our guest room at Casa M.

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Wii time


Happy Philippines!

 

Love these people who can dance after everything they’ve been through. ❤️❤️❤️

“Happy”

[Verse 1:]
It might seem crazy what I’m about to say
Sunshine she’s here, you can take a break
I’m a hot air balloon that could go to space
With the air, like I don’t care baby by the way[Hook:]
Because I’m happy
Clap along if you feel like a room without a roof
Because I’m happy
Clap along if you feel like happiness is the truth
Because I’m happy
Clap along if you know what happiness is to you
Because I’m happy
Clap along if you feel like that’s what you wanna do[Verse 2:]
Here come bad news talking this and that, yeah,
Well, give me all you got, and don’t hold back, yeah,
Well, I should probably warn you I’ll be just fine, yeah,
No offense to you, don’t waste your time
Here’s why[Hook]Hey, come on

[Bridge:]
(happy)
Bring me down
Can’t nothing bring me down
My level’s too high
Bring me down
Can’t nothing bring me down
I said (let me tell you now)
Bring me down
Can’t nothing bring me down
My level’s too high
Bring me down
Can’t nothing bring me down
I said

[Hook 2x]

Hey, come on

(happy)
Bring me down… can’t nothing…
Bring me down… my level’s too high…
Bring me down… can’t nothing…
Bring me down, I said (let me tell you now)

[Hook 2x]

Come on


a lesson on car care

Since my car carries precious cargo (the boys … and me – of course!) everyday we have always brought it to Toyota for service. Every 5,000 km we bring it in and every time they have some recommendations for us that needs to done. They don’t force you to have it done with them but since I have a very low EQ I always say yes. Now this may seem like a very impractical thing to do but when they play the safety card with me there’s nothing I can do. I don’t know squat about car stuff so my/our instinct is to always prevent the problem before it arises.

In the beginning it was little things that didn’t cost much but as the kilometres and the costs piled on, the husband had to see what was going on. So on our last visit he brought it in himself and said “no” to a bunch of stuff. This was when the husband started questioning their motives. Are they really looking out for the maximum performance of our car or are they just robbing us blind?

With the latest “to-do list” in hand we brought the car to Satwa (the equivalent of Banawe in Manila, where there are cheap auto parts and even cheaper labor fees). The only negative thing about going to Satwa was that everything had to be paid for in cash but the husband said it’s still a lot cheaper than having it done at the service centre.

This alone is already a good lesson for you on car care but give me a few minutes and read about my part of the story…

My sunglasses compartment fell off months ago and because it doesn’t affect how the car runs in any way the husband just disregarded it. When we were in Satwa and the guy was doing something on our AC, I took the chance and showed him my broken compartment. Not expecting much from him because the people at Toyota told me that there was a part missing and had to be ordered somewhere. Translation this is gonna be expensive and will take time to do. But you do know that it was killing me softly not having a place for my sunglasses right? (haha! I know priorities).  So back to the person from Satwa who took one minute to look at my broken compartment gets his screw driver one-two-three it was fixed!!! and he didn’t even charge us for it.

So this made me think, maybe I shouldn’t be quick to assume that the official service centre is always looking out for our benefit after all it is a business and the more things they have us done the more money they get out from us. Right? Another lesson maybe to canvas around first, in fairness to them they really don’t pressure you into having something done but if you are like me who knows nothing about cars and believes every Tom, Dick, and Harry in overalls that tells you what your car needs then maybe a little canvassing around won’t hurt.

Think of all the shoes you would’ve bought!!! hahahaha

Punchline: after my sunglasses compartment was fixed and I was happy as Pharell…my latest flavor of the month sunglasses don’t fit inside! hahahaha