The accidental Dubai tourist

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He was  in Paris and he sends me a picture of his shoes! NICE!

My cousin was stranded at Charles de Gaulle airport in Paris. He’s been on standby to what seemed like forever and our duty as his adorable angels was to keep him company via viber or what’s app while he waits for the opportunity to take his flight. His “adorable angels” consists of all of his girl cousins who were born after him. There are only 3 boys in our brood and in between him and the next boy are 6 girls, all of which treats him like a substitute older brother while he treats us all like his personal slaves😘.

In one of our conversations I said (as a joke!) that he should just pass by Dubai first to visit me! Instead of sitting there being miserable.

At 12 midnight (Dubai time) I got the call..

Joke’s on you! My sister said.
Anton is on his way to Dubai get ready! Oh and pick him up at 6am! Ktnxbye!

That was the shortest but most shocking conversation I’ve ever had with my sister in my whole life. As the shock of my sisters words settled down, I started tidying up the house and thinking of things for my cousin to do. One day and a half is not much so I wanted him to at least see what Dubai was all about. Less than 5 hours of sleep and running high on adrenaline we went to the airport to pick up my cousin.

When he walked out of the terminal, he was like a walking zombie, the poor thing. Waiting at Charles de Gaulle (I love saying this) for all those hours and depending only on McDonald’s free wi-fi to keep him awake can break anyone’s sanity. He was here now and it was all good.

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My cousin always the photo bomber.

Since it was Ramadan I explained to him that all shops and stores are open but restaurants and food stores are close so what was the point right? He was too spaced out to care anyway and all he wanted was to sleep. After a few hours of much-needed rest we drove him around to iconic places one would normally see people visiting Dubai go to. The boys were on constant protest because of the heat or hunger or something else that it was really a challenge to be a decent host and a patient mother at the same time. But we I managed and soon it was dinner time! After some food and some ice cream on everyone’s system we were all happy campers.

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We did still go home early (I still have two children ya know!) and the mayhem continued at home (I blame the gelato ice cream). After a few rounds of dancing and jumping on the bed, we finally settled and everyone was soon sleeping like a rock, present company included.

The next day, Arnie suggested we go to the other part of Dubai, the “old part” but I think Anton was much more interested in sleep. So after a morning playtime with the boys and a quick trip to the grocery we were in nap time mode once again. Present company still included.

Woke up to have lunch and it was time to take him back to the airport. It was a very short visit but sweet and much appreciated nonetheless. My cousin loves to travel and explore but on this trip we stayed home most of the time. But I think he still enjoyed his trip because he got to see me in mom mode. He has always been sceptical of my child rearing skills. I think it’s because he still thinks of me as the teenager he left in Manila 17 years ago who can’t even cook her own breakfast. I hope he was pleased to see that I am capable of taking care of my boys (husband included).

Anton’s day and a half in Dubai was a surprise to me and I think even to him but definitely a pleasant one at that. This is definitely one accident I wouldn’t mind having again and again.

Thank you again Anton for the visit and it was all our pleasure to have you here! You are always welcome to Dubai and in our home. ‘Till next time!10580043_10203295285036091_4474714612697260123_n

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Fat burger 2.0

Yesterday, we had to meet the husband after work so we had to kill time between school pick up and the husband’s time off work. Not willing to go home because this was a perfect excuse to go out! 😉. We found ourselves at Fat burger. I had Aden’s party here last year so I know the free play area will be perfect for our time to kill. I was pleasantly surprised to find out that they’ve revamped the menu! Their old menu consists of burgers and fries, which wasn’t bad but now they offer Buffalo’s chicken wings which upon “extensive” (Google) research I found out that it’s a franchise from the US.

20140516-045817.jpgAside from the wings, the Buffalo’s menu (I think they are still in the process of consolidating the two menus) also had some wraps, not being able to say no to a good-looking wrap, I tried the Sidewinder wrap.  Which later I discovered was basically just crushed burger in a wrap. It was ok but not WOW! Maybe I should’ve tried the wings, you think? The table before me got all kinds of wings and although it looked messy they seemed to be enjoying it. Good excuse to bring the husband back next time 👍 .

They also have an ice cream parlour type menu on the side which made me think, Where were they when I was living in Jumeirah and only walking distance away??? Would’ve been a nice place to have desserts on a hot summer night.

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 Anyway, life goes on and things change and it seems like Fat burger does too! I’m happy they made the changes, I just hope they take better care of that play area. A year after and it looks a bit torn up with holes on the nets and broken parts.

Oh and if you were in any way concerned, we were able to kill an hour and a half at the place without a hitch. Keep in mind that our usual meal time is 15-20 mins tops before they get bored and ask to go. This time the boys were busy playing, they did eat their food in the car since they were too busy but I didn’t mind this at all because I had the table to myself and enabled me to start writing this post!!!

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Kid’s order meh! haha

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Whenever I see curly fries on the menu I always have to get one. I think it’s from my love of the seasonal twister fries from Mcdonald’s.

I hope your weekend is going great so far!!

 

 

 

 

 


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…


Flea Market Adventures

You’d think that with us moving to a two bedroom apartment we’d have more space for all our stuff. Well I’m sorry to disappoint you, but we don’t. At least in our last apartment we had a storage room to house all my skeletons, (out of sight, out of mind situation) now in this new place we don’t have that luxury. All the clutter is everywhere, in sight and on my MIND – driving me CRAZY all the time.

site_logoMy solution? Get a table at the Dubai Flea Market and sell my unwanted preloved stuff. I’ve had a couple of friends that has sold at the market and only has good things to say about it. With this in mind, I started sorting out my things and getting them ready to sell. I gave myself a rule, anything that I have not been wearing or using for the past 6-8 months was going on the sale.

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This was the result

Dubai Flea Market is an organized event held every month at three different locations in 3 different weekend dates. There’s one at Safa Park which was the first venue and the most popular one, at Mirdiff for our brothers from the north and at Ibn batutta for the folks down south. It’s very easy to get a table online and on the day off, first thing you do is get a table, set up your goods and the organizers will just pass by to get your permit to confirm you. The tables are on a first come first serve basis so be sure to be early if you want a good spot. All in all it was very well-organized. All the rest are clearly stated on the website, trust me it’s not a complicated process at all.

I chose the Ibn Batutta event because I had to think of a way to entertain my boys while I was busy selling at the market. Having the event  at the parking lot of the mall made it a no brainer for my needs. Other sellers were complaining though that there were fewer people compared to Safa Park, but this didn’t bother me at all because my main concern was to keep the kids boys entertained. Special shout out to Arnie for watching the boys for 4 hours straight.

My business plan was simple, all small items for 5 aed and all clothes and bags for 10 aed. The goal was to first gain back the 250 aed which was the amount I paid for the table and the rest is what I would consider my profit would be like the cherry on top of my sundae (IF I was allowed to have a sundae that is). After 30 mins. I got my 250 back so I dropped my prices to 5aed and didn’t even argue when somebody would haggle for a lower price, even gave some away for free. I wasn’t feeling greedy and to be honest they are doing me a favor helping me get rid of my stuff.

All my things that I sold were pre loved items and have served their purpose well, so to get 5 or 10 aed from them in return was already a sweet surprise. In the end, I was a few fills richer from my flea market adventure but gained a thousand in experience and a million more in the delight in knowing my beloved material things are in a better homes, where they will be much appreciated by their new owners.

I’d like to make a special mention to my friend Karen, thank you so much for keeping me company this afternoon and for buying most of the stuff too haha. She didn’t have to waste her Saturday sitting in the parking lot with us flea market folks but she did anyway and hopefully she had fun too.

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Would I do it again? In a heartbeat! But sad to say my flea market things took me 9 years to accumulate so maybe it will take awhile before I have enough things to do this again.


Lila Cafe

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This hidden gem somewhere at the Tecom area was the venue of a children’s party we recently attended to. I wanted to write and share about it because it was my first time here and I thought the place looked interesting for a party venue. I like how the space is wide and open with high ceilings. With it’s all white walls and contemporary furniture any event would surely be perfect for this place (with the right styling – of course!). More than an event space, it’s a café first and foremost plus they also serve shisha in the evenings at their outdoor space. I’m excited to spend some quiet mornings here once Adrian starts school at Regent, which was only about two blocks away from this space.

As for a kid’s party venue, (which was the reason we were there) I would suggest to get a good entertainer. With all the kids hyped up on sweets and with a big open space it’s a recipe for a chaotic afternoon. Which is what happened to us, the boys were running all over the place going up and down on the WHITE chairs because there was no one to rally them all together and keep them entertained.

The host did share with us that they chose the place because they heard from a friend that they had a  chef/cook that was Filipino. So with that information alone, I was sure the food was going to be to our liking. For parties, they told me you can choose your dishes from a menu and from your choice of dishes dictates the price. So I’m guessing they can cater to any budget you have.

I’m sorry my pictures don’t give the place any justice. But if you are in the hunt for a unique event place in Dubai, I suggest you give Lila Cafe a visit, I hear they have good sandwiches (might be worth a try).

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Lila Cafe:

Ground Floor, MCN Hives Building
Tecom, Dubai, Near Ramee Rose Hotel
PO Box: 454834 Dubai
Telephone: +971 4 454 3064

I’ve attached an article from AHLAN! to give you more information on the café: http://www.ahlanlive.com/restaurant-review-lila-cafe-258386.html?page=1


We all scream for ICE CREAM!!!

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my ice cream monsters

I come from a family of self-proclaimed ice cram addicts. Whether it be an addiction for gelato, yogurt, popsicle or sorbet name it and one way or another me and my cousins are sure to love it! It was my destiny to marry someone who loves ice cream too (it was actually a requirement – kidding!). Naturally our children are addicted to the stuff too.

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When the Korean ice cream craze started in Manila I was there on holiday so I got to share the joy of MELONA and MOCHI with my family.

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Even Kris Aquino swears by their MOCHI

Months after I got back, I was looking for a store here to get my supply and with sheer determination I found 1004 mart, I’m not sure but I think it’s the only Korean grocery in Dubai. I tagged their website but it’s in Korean so unless you can read Korean… go ahead. But they do have a facebook page click here. They don’t only sell Korean ice cream they have all sorts of Asian ingredients you will not easily find at our local groceries here in Dubai.

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On my last trip I experimented on some frozen assorted fish cakes which I cannot wait to try out. There are suggested recipes at the back so when I’m feeling up to it, I will try it out and tell you all about it.

Here’s a map I got from their FB page, in case you would like to visit.

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Summer is for sports (?)

To keep my little man entertained for the summer, we enrolled him at summer camp. There are a lot of establishments offering summer camp programs here in Dubai you just have to choose the program that your kid likes. For us it was really a no brainer, we have boys so it had to be something with sports. E-Sports Holiday camp was perfect for Adrian, since he has not shown any inclination to any specific sport yet E-Sport’s summer camp have different sport activity everyday for the kids to play. One day they could be swimming, then tennis the next and basketball etc etc.

They have many venues here in Dubai and the closest one to our house is in Winchester School. They only have the program for the month of July at Winchester and so we enrolled Adrian during the last two weeks of July. If I had my way, I would’ve applied Adrian from the first week on immediately after school ended but Arnie wanted Adrian to rest a bit from school, after all it is HIS summer vacation.

From the beginning Adrian has resisted going to summer camp every morning but in the afternoon when I pick him up he is his usual smiley self. I was getting worried because he might be being bullied by the bigger boys at camp but since they separate the groups by ages I hope that is not the case.

At the back of my head I am always wondering and a bit worried why he always cries in the morning, it’s so out of his character because he loves going to school. But every time Arnie drops him off at camp there’s always a big drama fest one time Arnie said 3 coaches had to carry him inside the gym because he was kicking and screaming.

Then this morning as we were getting ready he said

“Mommy, I don’t want to go to camp, want to stay with mommy!”

I think my heart broke in a million pieces when I heard him say these words. But kids are smart you know, they know how to pull on your heartstrings, it may be because he can watch Disney channel all day or play with his iPhone when he is home but in my mind my son wants to spend time with me (delusional but a mom can dream right?). And so,I made the decision that instead of enrolling him in the same program in another school for August maybe I’ll just keep my Adrian close to me for a while. Soon enough there will be summers where he would rather go out with friends than spend it with me so I’m going to cherish these moments for now.

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Adrian being consoled by his fave coach

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free play for early birds before the session starts

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activity schedules for the different age groups

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