Al Rawabi Farm

Dubai has an endless possibility of fun activities for the kids on the weekend. Unfortunately, it also means you need to have an endless bank account to pay for these activities. Having none of the latter, I’m always in the hunt for fun frugal family activities I could get my hands on.

When a co-mom at school told me about this tour at Al Rawabi Farm and that it was FREE. I was in.

All you have to do is to go to their site (link here ☝️) and book your farm tour date. They call you the day before and send you an email with the location. All you have to do is follow Google maps and be there 10 mins before 10:00 AM. 

There’s a bus that will pick up all the guests at the entrance and take you around the farm.

First stop and my favorite one is the milk collecting area. I could watch these cows for hours. They go inside their stalls in such an orderly fashion and face their fate without the slightest complaint. Call me crazy but I kinda feel a little sorry for the cows. I don’t think the whole process hurts them but seeing them get hooked up to a machine and gets their milk sucked from them brings back painful memories of breastfeeding. They said they do it to the cows 3x a day … can anybody say OUCH! 
The next two stops were the milk and fruit juice packaging process which to me was super boring but to  my 4 and 7 year old was “Super cooooooooool!”.

Free juice at the end of the tour was the best part for these two.

before we left, everybody got freebies which to me was “Super cooooool!”

If you are kind of squeamish about cow dung and grass and all that “gross” farm stuff. Don’t worry the whole tour is in a AC room. You could smell the aroma of the farm in and out of the bus to the buildings but IT IS A FARM…🙄.

The whole tour only took about an hour and 15 mins but it was a nice thing to do on a Saturday morning with the kids. Something different, something educational, and something free.

Until my next frugal weekend mommies!

Lovin’ their mooooooful weekend.

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My budding reporter/blogger taking notes of the farm tour to share with his friends at school. 

 

 

 

 


IMG worlds of adventure

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Take 3 boys + 1 Marvel theme park + a 5 day holiday = an awesome fun day at IMG worlds of fun.

My boys couldn’t wait to get here. Everyday on our way to and from school they’d see signs of their opening everywhere and everyday they’d tell me

Mom, I want to go there! I want to go there!” x10 times EVERYDAY!!!!

So you could imagine my relief when finally the day has come where we can actually take them here.

Our day of reckoning was last Wednesday which was also Arnie’s last day of Eid holiday. We thought we were being smart by going on a weekday and since majority would still be on holiday, some have actually started working. I thought it was a good day because although I didn’t expect the park to be empty at least we still had some personal space to ourselves and in places like these, that’s all I could really ask for.

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Prior to going, we did a little cyber stalking on what people who have been there actually said about the place. Not that it would change our minds on going  but if you are like us and want to know some first time observations here are some of mine.

  1. The height of your child is crucial. Most of the rides require a 1.05m minimum height (and they are actually very strict about it). So if you have an over 3-year-old child but less than 1.05m in height you’d still have to pay for him at full child’s price but he won’t be allowed to go on most of the rides. We’ve actually seen some families react with anger and some in tears because of this and for everyone’s sake and for your wallets too check your child’s height.
  2. If parking is a big deal, don’t worry as per norm in Dubai there is a valet service. They will charge you 50 aed but if you are not ready to walk from Mars (which is where we parked our car) then 50 aed isn’t so bad.
  3. No food and drinks allowed. They actually check at the door and they confiscate them. There are a variety of food inside to cater to any budget so that shouldn’t be an issue.
  4. The AC could get cold for some so if you can, carry a light pullover. I’m actually ok with this because imagine the alternative, with people being so close together, I’d rather nobody sweat 😜. But it could get cold…you’ve been warned.
  5. Get ready to fall in line. Most of our day was spent falling in line and I actually expected that. What I didn’t expect were little kids trying to cut the line because they think they can get away with it. On one ride I actually saw a mother coax her kid on to move ahead of the line. I mean what are we trying to teach our children people?

*One thing about the lines though was that after we’ve gone on the ride, the nastiness, the waiting in line and all the other stuff just fade away. Which makes me think of the saying that goes “anything worth having/experiencing is worth waiting for” #insightsonline

11 hours passed and my boys would’ve gone for 11 more. They had so much fun that in our heads paying an arm and a limb for a year pass wouldn’t be so bad (if only they’d offer any).

The best part for me was the ride home. The boys gave us a play by-play on what we did and to hear their version of the day with such high spirits was absolutely priceless.

Update:

For anyone interested IMG does have an annual pass…


birthdays are #betterwithjumeirah

It is my littlest one’s 4th birthday today and as per our Dubai birthday tradition, we had a mini staycation last weekend. Our accommodation of choice for our first birthday in 2016 was the Jumeirah Mina a’slam. It was a no brainer really, a few weeks ago they had a very good price offer with a free upgrade to half board accommodation so click click click and we were in.

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That’s what I call “a room with a view”

Upon check in, we got a very nice surprise of having our reservation upgraded to a one bedroom suite. First time in my life I got a free upgrade to anything so you can imagine my excitement and the boys’ as well. Ok later on we discovered that maybe the reason we got upgraded was because of the construction of the new hotel right beside us but the walls are thick enough to mask out any noise. Plus for the extra space and the view, it was a small price to pay.

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our crib (for one night only)

First thing I always check when we check in is the coffee bar and I have to say this one is an A+

Now, that’s not a bad view to play hide and seek if I do say so myself.

 

 img_7681As guests, we got unlimited access to Wild Wadi which was only a buggy away and guests had their own entrance, you still had to fall in line but it was much shorter than any line I’ve been on at these water parks so no biggie…

The boys loved their Wild Wadi adventure so much that they asked if it was possible to sleep there.

For dinner, we were given dinner vouchers that we can use at any of the  Jumeirah Group restaurants and because I’m half mexican at heart (or maybe at the stomach) we chose to eat at Tortuga. As half board, we get a starter, a main, and dessert for each voucher and the kids eat free. After eating all these our bill was only 45 aed and that was only for the water.

Kid’s meal: Chicken fingers 

Carnitas Asada

Albondigas

Churros 

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Tortuga @night

Waking up with this view with a cup of my STRONG coffee (5:30am view)

breakfast at Hanaya

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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I woke up early the next day to soak in the view and to maximize my posh coffee maker for the day. Breakfast was I’d say “normal” as far as hotel breakfasts go and that’s actually my favorite part of any staycation we’ve been to.

 

We got to use the hotel’s abra to go around their property which consisted of 3(?) hotels 

After  breakfast, we brought the kids to the Sinbad Kid’s club and because the boys are older now, we got to leave the kids behind but as we got back to pick them up they were glued to the desktop watching videos and playing games which wasn’t really my cup of tea. So we brave the heat and off to Wild Wadi we go.

Before checking out, we even had the pleasure of meeting their in-house turtles which is part of their Turtle Rehabilitation program (sorry no pics- got so caught up in the moment I forgot!)

another light fixture in our room

 

All in all I’d like to say it was a successful weekend, thanks in part to Jumeirah and Daddy’s uncanny ability to sniff out a good deal. We got to celebrate our youngest’ birthday and experienced new things together as a family. My hope is that when they get older they appreciate our unconventional way of celebrating their birthdays and this results to them  having that thirst for experiencing new things. To have the lust to travel, to eat or at least try new things, and to  live life to the fullest. I think that all that is the greatest gift we can give them.

Happy Birthday Aden! Love, Dad, Mom, and Kuya

 

 


Yachting Dubai

This is a very very late post that it could have #throwback after it. But it doesn’t happen often and it might not happen again and I never thought I’d have the chance to do it and these are the reasons why I’d like to share it with you all.

Last December, (I told you, it’s a late post!) we had the pleasure of having family over from Manila and the US. We had months to prepare for this trip and so we tried to plan it as best as we could. Through a grapevine of networks we were able to get a good deal on a chartered yacht and since we probably can’t afford this type of luxury with no internal discount wait! let me rephrase that – since we probably can’t afford this ever doing it while we had guests over would be perfect.

Our 3-year-old loving his rented abode.

At first I thought it was a small dinghy or a motorboat or something similar but when we got to the Marina it was a proper yacht, it had 3 cabins, 3 heads, a galley and a wide deck to fit 15 people…F-A-N-C-Y!!! Right?! The interior was better than our first apartment in Dubai. Heck! It might even be better than our apartment at the moment! Aside from the Captain and 2 skippers there was a steward to help and serve us with the food that we brought on board. Soda drinks were included but we brought our own.

For two hours as we cruised around the shores of Dubai, we saw the landmarks from a different perspective. Sitting on the deck with my boys by my side, watching the sun set, life stood still. And as my 6-year-old boy would say … “ahhhhhh! This is the life!

 

 

 

 

 

 

 


It was so windy on the deck that everybody was cooped up in the main salon

 

Possibly our only group picture from this visit

Au Revoir Dubai! (at least for a few hours)

 It was a wonderful experience and something that would definitely stay with me for awhile.

* As I was writing this post, I had every intention to share details as to how much , where, and from whom we got the charter but upon checking the website given to me there was no mention of chartering any yachts that led me to believe that this might be more internal that I thought. So for the safety of my friend’s, friend, friend…job I decided not to…who knows I might need her/him again next time 😜😜

Dome Box Dubai

The Dome Box is a dome theatre with a state-of-the-art 360-degree screen that offers a unique audio-visual experience.¹ In lay man terms it’s like going in a planetarium but like 1,000 gazzilion times better!!! Totally blew my inner geek nerd mind away…

We got the tickets by winning it from Dubai 92, 5 months ago. I’ve had it for the longest time but never really got to doing it because to be really honest, I had second thoughts of bringing my 3 year old. His attention span is so fickle that I’m always so scared that he’s going to blow a fuse any moment. (FYI, it is getting better at least i’d like to think so…)

But then, their nursery class got to go on a class trip and he absolutely loved it!!! He has been talking about it non stop that it raised our curiosity and we finally decided to go last weekend before the 6 months validity of the ticket expires.

When we arrived there had just been a birthday party at the site and my curious side asked the staff if it was possible for me to see the set up and take pics while they were cleaning up. It really looks like a cool place to hold a party especially for those around 7 and up ages. Upon inquiry the birthday party starts at about 125 aed per head with a minimum of 10 kids. Of course ++ if you want them to have popcorn during the movie or for their adult companions to have a small snack, anything is possible, if you have deep pockets (as it goes in Dubai😉).

The movies are 30 minute shorts that are educational and at the same time entertaining. I learned so much on “The life of trees” that I didn’t know about. Our second one was about astronauts which takes you to the everyday life of an astronaut living at the space station. I’m not sure how often they change the movies but I’m hoping they change again before our other tickets expire.

 

Check out their website for more info but personally I found it more interesting once I walked in on their space. Plus the staff was extremely friendly so inquiring alone was a pleasant experience in itself.

¹http://www.thedomeboxdubai.ae

weekend with Bu

I had a very eventful weekend and I’m very excited to share it to anyone who will give me the time 😜. Well before you get too excited I must tell you it’s a very “domestic” type of adventure. Being a mother of two that’s about all the type of adventure you can expect from me (not complaining 😉).

We were invited at our friend’s house in Ajman for the weekend for some get together and to go second hand store shopping at Bu Faisal. I wrote about Bu Faisal before – click on link if you need to be reminded haha. Ramadan tends to be a good time to go to second hand shops because it’s this time of the year that some of our wealthy muslim brothers change most or all of their furniture which means second hand stores like Bu Faisal gets all the goods they sell, throw or give away. Which makes Bu Faisal the destination for thrifty bargain hunters like me us.

The store opens at 5PM and closes at 11PM so our host thought it was best if we all slept over to maximise our shopping expedition. Of course the boys were not informed that they were going to be daddy nannies the whole night which led to a very vocal protest as soon as we got home but it fell on deaf ears for we were all on a shopping high.

Prior to the event, I thought our house was good the way it is now so I was under the impression that I was just joining them to look around and not buy anything, with that being said, our car (with a very large boot mind you) was full of stuff I got from Bu Faisal on the way home to Dubai from Ajman. I told you I didn’t need anything! haha

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Busy weekend,Fixing the boys’ room with my new drill and mixing my Bu finds with my old furniture. I think the TV is almost vintage! haha

Without further adieu I share with you my precious cheap finds.

  1. Shelves organiser from ikea at only 10aed each (I got 3)20140718-214912-78552980.jpg
  2. Shoe rack also from ikea @ 35aed20140718-214913-78553840.jpg
  3. Fortune Plant @ 40aed20140718-214916-78556626.jpg
  4. Kids chairs @10aed each20140718-214915-78555797.jpg
  5. Frames @ 20aed each20140718-214919-78559458.jpg
  6. Brand new Coffee maker @40aed20140718-214914-78554928.jpg
  7. Ikea poster with frame @40aed20140718-214917-78557439.jpg
  8. Vanity Mirror @ 8aed20140718-214919-78559175.jpg
  9. glasses @ 3aed each20140718-214918-78558218.jpg
  10. Butter dish @ 8aed 20140719-115304-42784700.jpg

Phew! I think that was the most shopping I did ever in my life and I only spent less than 300aed now that’s a whole lotta savings!

If I sound like a walking advert, it’s because I am! (an unpaid one at that hehe) I’m just really happy and excited about my finds and savings. Now as I look at my home, I feel like it needs a million things, which means a trip back to Bu is inevitable!

 

P.S. Special thanks to Tita S for bargaining for me and to Tita LM for opening their home to us city folks! Until our next shopping expedition ladies!  

 


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