It’s beginning to look a little like Christmas

Xmas IMG_1377

It was about this time last year that we had a conversation about what our Christmas in Dubai might look like. Should we take the Christmas decorations with us? Surely not. Likewise, the oversized fake tree that comes down from the loft every year? No, that would be ridiculous too. Wise decisions. Without all the familiar festive paraphernalia to hand it is easier to break away from convention and adopt a fresh approach. Deep down, I think the attempt to simply replicate what we usually do in this very different location would make me feel a bit sad.
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Pick and Mix Christmas

Waitrose

I never dreamed that I would be able to achieve my idea of a perfect Christmas whilst living in Dubai but it is shaping up nicely to be just that. Black Friday, Cyber Monday and all the rest of the hideous panic buying that makes the countdown to December 25 a nightmare in the UK, is not happening here. It probably is at some level but that is my point, really. You don’t have to take part in all that if, like me, you hanker after a calmer lead up to Christmas. (more…)

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Letter from Lebanon

Beirut 9 IMG_0891

I can still hear the worry in your voice, echoing in my head from several months ago when I first dropped Beirut into the conversation. Well, Mum, I went, I survived and I’m back safe and sound. I would have rung you by now to tell you all about it but since we can’t have those conversations any more I thought I would write down what I would have liked to share with you about this trip. (more…)

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Chickens, hens, eggs and chocolate

Chicken, hens and chocolate eggs

The title might suggest a bit of an Easter theme but I am not about to launch into a post on new beginnings, rebirth, fluffy animals or indeed, chocolate. The chocolate in the title was trespassing on serious cheesecake territory and the egg was more spherical than ovoid. Confused? Me too. It’s these misleading menu descriptions. They do it to me every time. They lull you into thinking that you know what you ordered. Too late, you realise that chef, in a burst of madcap inspiration (culinary genius that he is) has deconstructed your favourite dessert. The clues were there after all. I might have guessed that the passion fruit and yuzu cheesecake sounded too good to be true.

When the waiter leaned in, eyes reverently lifted skywards, whispering that chef’s ‘signature dish’ is a not a ‘traditional’ interpretation, my internal dessert alarm went to red alert. Afters was about to go down the Swanee. (more…)

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Bling it on

Bling IMG_0515

Understated, subtle, restrained and unadorned. Dubai does not understand these concepts, much less live by them. How very refreshing.

Perhaps it has something to with the dazzling sunlight bouncing off the city’s waterways and courtyard pools, or the way the glass and marble facades of the buildings appear to glimmer in the heat of the day. Glitter and sparkle seem almost natural elements here and quite appealing to this Brit, recently arrived, with skin as pale as whitewash from too many Yorkshire winters. (more…)

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