30 June 2013

raffles hotel and their pre-ramadan iftar

If you remember, I posted recently how difficult it is for me to limit my food intake. Here’s just one of the reasons why: I received an invitation to try Raffles Hotel’s Pre-Ramadan Iftar which I simply couldn’t say no to. I’m sure if you received an invitation to free food at an elegant hotel, you’d go too. Anyway, the hotel opened in 2007 and its primary distinct feature is that it’s shaped like a pyramid. Well, it’s located in Wafi which has an Egyptian architectural theme, so I guess it makes sense. I’ll photoblog a bit ok?

glass doors opening to the hotel entrance
the hotel lobby water fountain
a miniature model of Raffles Hotel, Singapore
statue of an ancient Egyptian
one of the pillars in the lobby with Egyptian designs
i love the huge ornamental lights hanging from the lobby ceiling!
beautiful flowers displayed on the tables
you can comfortably sit here while waiting in the lift waiting area
the lift waiting area on the 3rd floor
view of the lobby from the 3rd floor
As soon as Hubby and I stepped out of the elevator, we were greeted by a staff who directed us to Azur Restaurant where someone else checked our names on the list and showed us to our table.
colorful lanterns in the restaurant entry
And now, on to the food =)
these dried fruits and nuts were placed on all of the tables for the diners to nibble on
The salad bar

a miniature dhow adorned the salad bar
the entire salad bar set-up
I didn’t get a chance to take pictures of the mains because there was always at least two people serving themselves, but it was a typical spread of Arabic food, including Hubby’s favourite: the roasted lamb ouzi.

image source
Here are the yummy assortment of desserts

I forgot to take photos of my plates of the salads and mains (or most probably I just wanted to devour the food right away), so this is the only shot I have of whatever I ate.
my helping of dessert
The slice of apple pie was very tasty; Hubby said the thin crust tasted like otap. The French mini-macaroons were sooo delicious! I’ve heard so much about them but I’ve never had the chance to try them, so when I saw these in the dessert spread, I took 3 pieces. Sobrang sarap talaga, I swear! Parang 2 bits of meringue with cream in between. The white chocolate pyramid naman had a smaller milk chocolate pyramid inside.

After we had our fill, we asked for green tea which the waiter gave us in a dainty white teapot, with a bowl of sugar cubes on the side.

Needless to say, Hubby and I had a very hearty meal that night.

Ramadan will be starting during the second week of July. That’s one month of fasting for Muslims. I just hope I’ll be able to lose some of my flabs during that time...unless I get invited to another sumptuous Iftar again =)

Raffles Hotel
Sheikh Rashid Road, Wafi
Tel: 04-3248888

26 June 2013

bmw no more

image source
Summer is really, truly here in the UAE. And I, for one, do not like it. It’s soooooo hot! As in scorching and sweltering hot! Yesterday, the temperature reached 42 degrees, and I’m sure that as the days pass by, it will get higher. For the past few mornings, as soon as I get out of the shower and wipe myself off, I already start to sweat. Kadiri, I know, pero ganon talaga ka-grabe.

When the summer began sneaking in to the country, whenever I would have to walk, I would use an umbrella to shield me from the rays. But on Sunday when it became unbearable and I felt my hair sticking at the back of my neck because of the sweat, I decided that I couldn’t take it anymore. It would be crazy to spend even a few minutes under the blazing sun, so I was forced to cut short my commute to the office.

Before, I could easily and comfortably ride the bus, take the metro (which doesn’t cost a thing in my case because it’s only one station after I get down from the bus), and then walk 400 meters from the station to the office. This entire trip would cost me Dhs2.30. But now, after getting down from the bus, I take a taxi to the office; costing me an additional Dhs10. So not only do I have to pay so much more, I keep the calories that I could have lost through walking. Kainis! And to think, it just recently started so I still have about 4 to 5 months to endure. Augh!

I’m already considering adjusting my schedule so that I can ride with Hubby when he leaves for work in the morning. This way, I can leave the office earlier (that is, if my bosses don’t have any last minute urgent requests). However, I will still have to walk the same distance from the office to the metro; and from the looks of it, the sun and temperature at 4pm seems to be the same as the sun and temperature at 8:45am. So parang wala lang din.

The thing is, ten dirhams is just too much to spend for a short distance ride, but I don’t want my health to suffer because I chose to endure the summer heat and burn a few calories.  So what other options do I have?  Any suggestions?

By the way, in case you haven’t figured it out yet, BMW means Bus, Metro, Walk =)

22 June 2013

the marriage prayer

Our recent weekend began and ended with the Marriage Enrichment Retreat 1 where Hubby and I were part of the service team. The retreat calls for a separate post because so many things happened and I’m still having second thoughts on whether to share all the details or just parts of it.

In the meantime, I’d like to share this clip that one of the speakers showed yesterday. It’s a song wherein the lyrics are a prayer, and it’s a very beautiful prayer for all married and soon-to-wed couples. 

27th of may 2013

Hubby had applied for a week’s leave from work from the 26th to the 30th of May; and since I was still on leave that week, this gave us an opportunity to spend the day of our anniversary together. We didn’t do much though, because we had already booked our family for a 2 night stay at a hotel for the upcoming weekend, and our gifts to each other were already magastos. So we just celebrated that day simply.

We started that day by attending the morning mass at St. Mary’s Church, just the two of us. Again, it was a refreshing change to be able to sit inside the church that wasn’t packed. After that, we went back home.

Later, Hubby and I left again to take care of some errands. And then, because his hair had grown too long and I wanted a new look for myself, we each went to separate parlors to have our hair cut. Right after that, we passed the time at Caribou Coffee in Deira City Centre where we took advantage of one of the coupons in our Entertainer books (which we won, by the way) and their free wi-fi to download some apps on Tisay. By lunchtime, we headed back home for a delicious home-cooked meal prepared by Mama.

The 27th isn’t complete for our family without a meal outside, so that evening, we all went to Mall of the Emirates to meet my sister and have dinner at California Pizza Kitchen. Again, we used another Entertainer coupon at the restaurant. After we’d had our fill, we took the kids to The Toy Store where they simply enjoyed looking around. We ended the night early because Caila still had school the following day; so since Hubby and I were both on leave and we would be staying in a hotel that weekend, Mama, Gabe (my nephew), and Yaya Juliet left with my sister, and our family headed back home in the opposite direction.

And that’s how we spent the day of our 5th anniversary.

20 June 2013

motivation quotes

If I had a room all to myself, I’d print each of these quotes on A3 paper and stick them on the walls.

When I saw these, it was as if they were all talking to screaming at me.  Relate na relate ako. Ikaw, nakaka-relate din ba? =)

18 June 2013

5th anniversary gifts

To avoid being disappointed or not happy with the gifts we receive from each other, Hubby and I have agreed that it’s simply easier to ask what the other wants. Sure it loses the thrill of surprise, but at least it saves us the trouble from wasting time thinking of what to give and roaming around the mall. Plus, at least we’re sure the other will like and appreciate the gift.

wasabi-coated green peas

Thanks to our manager who arrived from his business trip to Japan yesterday, I got to taste these peas for the first time.
Even though I still don’t know how to read Japanese, I knew what they were when he gave me the pack. Obvious naman kasi. And although I can’t bear spicy food, I was determined to try it, simply because they’re from Japan. And besides, I always use wasabi in the sauce for makis and sushis, so I guess I could handle them.

17 June 2013

pinas trip: visiting papa

After a week of homesickness and missing my family, the day of my flight back to Dubai finally arrived. There was still one important thing that I hadn’t done, and I knew that if I boarded the plane without doing it, I’d be disappointed with myself.   

So Friday morning, I settled myself behind my cousin on his motorcycle, wore the helmet, and we headed off to Papa’s grave at Manila Memorial Park. He had been using the bike for several years so he easily weaved in and out of the morning traffic. The last time I had ridden a motorbike was back when we were still in Papua New Guinea, so the experience was familiar and thrilling at the same time. I wish I had my picture taken; it would have been really cool.

pinas trip: the wedding of salme & gracie

The day of Salme and Gracie’s wedding finally arrived on the 23rd of May. Naturally, I was looking forward to this event the entire week because that was the sole reason of my quick vacation to the Philippines. The wedding ceremony was held at the St. Therese of the Child Jesus Shrine and the reception at L’Aquinum Garden in Antipolo. I had no idea where or how to get to those places, but fortunately, my uncle knew. Since I didn’t know anyone at the wedding (except for the bride-to-be), I asked my cousin to go with me. Unfortunately, he got held up with something and only told me 3 hours before we were supposed to leave that he couldn’t make it. Grrrr!!! So, I had no choice but to go alone. I told my uncle that he could join me, pero nahiya sya and opted to just wait, saying bahala na lang sya kung paano nya palilipasin ang oras. Haaay!

ang hirap magsimula

It’s been more than a week since I said that I had to start losing weight, and although I knew that it meant that I should reduce my food intake, or lessen the amount of fatty foods I put in my mouth, (plus exercise, of course) I didn’t think it would be so hard. If I were a regular working mom who simply spent her time between the office and home, it would be easy for me to eat before six and escape to the nearby park for a brisk walk, jog, or run each day. And for the first few days when I did, I really believed that I could.

05 June 2013

pinas trip: ninang-bjorn bonding

To continue with my short trip to the Philippines, aside from visiting my father-in-law and attending the wedding (of course, that calls for a separate post), the only other people I was able to hang out with were the members of one family: Ate Marge, Jhe, Weng, and Bjorn. We agreed to have lunch somewhere in Glorietta on the 22nd of May, so that Wednesday found us meeting up at McDonald’s where I met my inaanak for the first time.

According to his parents (Jhe and Weng), it takes a while for Bjorn to warm up to people he just met, but fortunately for me, he warmed up to me right away and showed his cute bibo self. Ok, I admit, it helped that I had brought a bulldozer toy which instantly made his eyes light up when I gave it to him (pang-suhol ba).

i need to take action now!

I seriously have to start losing weight! I know I’ve been growing bigger in all areas of my body lately, but I didn’t realize how huge I’ve become. Before, I could easily fit in XS dresses and blouses; now I have to look at the M and sometimes L sizes to find clothes that I can comfortably fit into. Sure, it took years for all the changes to happen, but still, I can’t believe how much I’ve neglected my body! See the photo below?

04 June 2013

pinas trip: pinoy movies

As promised, I’m back! Ang bilis noh? Hahaha! Ok, honestly, as soon as I published my earlier post, my fingers were itching to blog. There’s a lot of things I want to share here kasi, and if I delay it more, I might forget about them or I wouldn’t be interested to blog about them anymore because my enthusiasm for them might die down or fade. Anyway, so, here I am.

i'm back...sort of

Dear BnT,

I know I’ve neglected you for a few weeks. I’m sorry. During my week in the Philippines, I just didn’t feel like blogging. Almost all of my days were spent out of the house and in the nearby malls just to escape the summer heat.

As for the second week of my leave which was back here in Dubai, well, I was just enjoying the free time I had with my family, making up for being away from them for 7 days.

But finally, I’m back...well, not completely, I'm afraid. There’s so many things I want to share and tell you about, but these will just have to wait because I'm still swamped with reports and pending tasks that I need to do.

Not to worry though. Just give me some more time and I’ll be back to blogging again. I’ll try to sneak some bits of kwento in between. Sorry!

Anyway, whatever happens, I WILL update this blog. I promise. The deadline I’ve given to myself for the next post is this coming Saturday. If I don’t have anything by then, I’ll...err...hmm...uhh...basta! Sure ako that I shall return =)

Catch you later!


PS. Thank you for being so patient and understanding.  And thanks for accommodating whoever drops in to see if I've updated you.  I really, really appreciate it.

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