26 November 2017

My Elite Experience at Ed Sheeran's Dubai Concert

I had been looking forward to a long overdue massage at home last Thursday night; my shoulders and back needed it and my appointment had already been scheduled.  But just before lunch, my sister called saying that she was invited to watch Ed Sheeran’s concert that night and if I wanted to join her.  Hello?! Free tickets to watch the sold out concert of one of today’s popular and amazing musicians?  Of course I said yes, even though it meant I had to (very embarrassingly) cancel my massage session for the second time.

22 November 2017

Friday Lazy Brunch at The Market Place, Marriott Hotel Al Jaddaf

Although Dubai is known to be fast-paced and busy because of so many things to see and do, the city slows down on Fridays because it's the weekend.  During the morning and afternoon, the roads are clear, people are more relaxed, and unless we have activities or appointments, most of us prefer to do our own things at our own leisurely pace.

31 October 2017

Lapita Hotel Staycation, Legoland, and Motiongate at Dubai Parks & Resorts

Back in August, a friend mentioned that their company was offering a summer deal for stays in Lapita Hotel. For a very budget-friendly price, the package included half-board (buffet dinner and breakfast) and tickets to Dubai Parks and Resorts Legoland, Legoland Water Park, Bollywood, and Motiongate for 2 days. Since the only plans we had for Sophie’s birthday was for her to celebrate it at school, Hubby and I decided to take advantage of the deal and book our family, my sister, and her son for a night’s stay on the last weekend of September.

18 October 2017

Filipino Food Fiesta at Olive Oil, Jumeira Rotana

Manila, Manila. I keep coming back to Manila…

As my family and I stepped into the lobby of Jumeira Rotana and walked towards Olive Oil Restaurant last Friday, it was hard to miss the strains of the familiar song. We had been invited to try the Filipino Food Fiesta, which is Olive Oil’s new offering for their Friday brunch, and upon seeing that the hotel’s all-day dining outlet had been adorned with colourful buntings near the entrance and at the bar, it instantly put us in the festive mood. And the photobooth with the Philippines’ “King of the Road,” made us more excited to see what was in store for us.

10 October 2017

Happy Emojis for Sophie's 5th Birthday

Ever since we received the news that Sophie was accepted in her big sister’s school, I immediately knew she would celebrate her next birthday there. And after speaking to her teacher during the Parents Orientation to make sure it was ok to have it on the date of her actual birthday, I set to work in planning and preparing.

04 October 2017

Lea Salonga at the Dubai Opera

Back in March, as soon as I heard the news that Lea Salonga was going to visit the Middle East and perform at the Dubai Opera, I knew I had to watch her live.  After all, watching her on stage was on my bucket list.  And besides, she's the Ms. Lea Salonga: two-time Disney Princess, Olivier and Theatre World Awardee, and the first Asian woman to win a Tony!  Add this to the fact that it would be the first time ever a Filipino would perform at the Dubai Opera. I simply couldn't pass the chance.
Which is why, even though they weren't cheap, I immediately bought tickets for Hubby and me with seats at the VIP area.  I decided that if we really wanted to enjoy the show, we should sit as close as possible for the best view.  And anyway, knowing the level and quality of how the original Kim of Miss Saigon performs, I knew it would be totally worth it.

19 September 2017

What’s New With Radisson Blu’s Fish Market?

If you haven’t heard, Fish Market in Radisson Blu Hotel, Dubai Deira Creek re-opened with its revamped look last September 6. And fortunately, Hubby and I were invited to experience its legacy the new way one night last week with Veronica, the hotel’s Senior Sales Manager. I remember we had dinner and Friday brunch there a few times before and as far as I can recall, back then the restaurant had the ambiance of those markets in Thailand where fresh seafood and vegetables are laid out, and the interiors are mostly made from bamboo. Well this time, it hardly looked like anything to what I remembered, because there were three major things that changed with Fish Market:

09 September 2017

ItadaKids Sushi and Maki Making Sessions

Even though Itadaki Japanese Restaurant is located all the way at Wasl Vita in Jumeirah, our family frequently dine there because we love their food and it’s our girls’ favourite place to eat. They have a wide selection on their menu, most of which are creative rolls of maki and sushi that are so tasty and delectable, you hardly need to dip them in sauce.

One day, we were informed that Itadaki would be having its own ItadaKids sushi and maki making sessions, so since we didn’t enroll Caila and Sophie in any activity this summer, we eagerly registered them for the first batch.

06 September 2017

6 Reasons to Try Al Dawaar Revolving Restaurant & Lounge

When the people at Hyatt Regency Dubai told me a few months ago that their revolving restaurant was undergoing a makeover, naturally I was thrilled.  After all, Al Dawaar is one of my favorite fine dining places so I was excited to see how it would look like.  But of course I just knew it would be amazing. 

Fast forward to last Sunday, my family and I excitedly stepped into the hotel lobby of Deira's iconic hotel after receiving an invitation to try the dinner buffet at their newly renovated restaurant.  As soon as the doors opened on the 25th floor, I immediately saw the huge change.  Practically everything was different!  In a good way, of course.  I was impressed the entire time Ji Eun (Al Dawaar's Assistant Manager) showed us around as she explained the transformation it had gone through.

20 August 2017

Visiting Prague, Czech Republic

I never knew about Prague until a few years ago, but I have to say that after our visit there last month, it is one of my favourite places to visit. With its castles, churches and cathedrals, it has the charm of the traditional Europe that made me want to visit it when I first learned about the continent back in grade school.

14 August 2017

Visiting Vienna, Austria

I love Europe. There’s something about its cities and historical monuments and castles that excite me. Which is why, when I insisted to Hubby that our family take a vacation this year during the kids’ summer holidays, the only option I gave him was Europe. After all, Canada was good but the fares were just too much. And Philippines, well, it’s rainy season. Fortunately, he agreed and I set to work looking for packages from different agencies and researching on how to get a Schengen Visa.

The end result: we visited Vienna, Prague, Budapest and Bratislava in 8 days! That’s approximately 48 hours (more or less) in each city/country, so you can bet it was like an Amazing Race ☺

31 July 2017

A Rant and Reminders from a Mom Who Blogs

I am very angry!

A picture I took and shared in this personal blog of mine was used without my permission. And what’s worse, it was my youngest daughter’s UAE Residence Visa and the one who used it was a man advertising his company’s visa processing services!

That’s the thanks I get for sharing helpful information, huh?!

13 July 2017

How to Apply for a Schengen Visa to Austria from Dubai

You’d think with the free time we have during Ramadan, I would have blogged more, right? Well, I really wanted to, but I opted to spend the time with my family more…until it was too late and the blogging part of my brain couldn't form a simple sentence to start a post ☺  Anyway, here I am pushing myself out of my blogger’s block to come up with something that will make up for my silence this past month.

And since our family is going on a trip out of the country very, very soon, it was only fitting that I share our experience on how we applied for our Schengen visas this time.  Yes, this time because before this one, I had already applied for three Schengen visas to two different countries (Germany in 2005 and 2014 and Switzerland last year). 

So, here’s how you can apply for a Schengen visa to Austria from Dubai:

07 June 2017

Iftar at Olive Oil, Jumeira Rotana

Ramadan Kareem, everyone!

How are you finding the holy month of Ramadan, so far? I'm sure you're enjoying the shorter working hours, right? ☺ Well, aside from the fact that I get to spend more time with my family, what I also love about Ramadan are the Iftars. Invitations from friends and companies to join them to break their fast is always a treat, and these are always great opportunities to get together and catch up.

So when I received an invitation from Jumeira Rotana for their Iftar Night at Olive Oil restaurant last week, I wasted no time and confirmed me and Hubby right away.
We arrived at the hotel located in Satwa at around 7:45pm last Wednesday night and were immediately welcomed by Ms. Monaliza Doush, Jumeira Rotana & Villa Rotana's Cluster Marketing & Communications Executive. Other blogger friends I knew had already arrived: Mauh of Blessed Days in Dubai, Jhoysi of The Thrift Trip, Carla of My Yellow Bells, and Doc Gelo of Beyond Toxicity were already relishing the food on their plates.

Anyway, moving on to the buffet spread.  Since Hubby and I were already late by the time we arrived, a lot of the dishes were already more than half-empty.  Fortunately, their Sous Chef Marius Weise, and the rest of the servers frequently checked the chafing dishes to make sure they were promptly refilled so we still had the chance to taste everything.
Unfortunately, I didn't get to take any good photos of the mains but there were several to whet our appetites and satisfy our hunger.  While I enjoyed the seafood dishes, Hubby frequently went back to the spread for his favorite item, the lamb ouzi. You can be sure he savoured every bite he took of the tender meat.
Thank you, Ms. Mona and the rest of the staff of Olive Oil Restaurant and Jumeira Rotana for such a delightful evening.   

Want to have your next Iftar at Olive Oil? The original price for the buffet is Dhs129 which includes Ramadan drinks and soft beverages, but you can avail of 50% discount by printing the voucher here.

Disclaimer: We were invited to the Iftar Night. However, all views and opinions are my own.

Olive Oil Restaurant
Jumeira Rotana
2nd December Street, Dubai
Phone: 04-3455888

Olive Oil Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato

31 May 2017

Anniversary Staycation at Grand Hyatt Dubai

Since we had already tried the food at Andiamo! and Peppercrab, and our girls told us during Grand Hyatt Dubai's Christmas tree lighting that they wanted to spend a night there, the 5-star luxury hotel located at the edge of Dubai Creek was a good choice for our anniversary staycation this year.   So taking advantage of their corporate rates and summer promotion, I booked our family for an overnight stay last weekend.

Arriving at 11am on Friday, we were promptly taken cared of by the valet, bellboy, and reception.  Now even though we've visited the hotel a number of times already, the lobby of Grand Hyatt Dubai always impresses me.  It's just so...grand!

22 May 2017

Grease the Musical

Back when we were kids in Papua New Guinea, whenever my siblings and I had the chance to borrow VHS tapes from our friends or the neighbourhood video rental shop, my sister and I almost always chose the movies with lots of singing and dancing. I guess it was because Papa was musically-inclined so he somehow influenced our preferences in movies. Some of our favorites until now are The Sound of Music, Mary Poppins, Chitty Chitty Bang Bang, Seven Brides for Seven Brothers, and Grease. I remember we enjoyed watching those movies over and over again, singing along when the characters sang, and not caring if we were out of tune ☺

04 May 2017

Doner Deli at Al Barari

I had received an invitation to Doner Deli’s event at their Al Barari branch a couple of weeks ago, but I wasn’t able to attend because it fell on a weekday and I was swamped with work. Fortunately, I had the chance to visit the same branch with my family over the weekend, allowing us to see and taste for ourselves what made it different from the shawarma that we’re more accustomed to.

The restaurant also has branches in Jumeirah, Dubai Marina, Al Barsha, and Fujairah.  Al Barari is not exactly near where we live, but since it was on the way to where we would be going to later, it was the convenient choice for us.  I also heard that there was a playground in front of the restaurant where kids could play, so being a mom, that was a plus.

02 May 2017

Happy 11th Work Anniversary to Me!

All over the world, the workforce celebrates Labour Day on May 1. While everyone enjoys the day off, we at this part of the planet continue to work simply because we don’t recognize the holiday here. On the other hand, this day is special to me because on this day in 2006 I joined the company I’m currently working at.

Can you believe it’s been 11 years? Time sure flies fast. Although it hasn’t been exactly a walk in the park, I have to say that I’ve been happy most of the time. I like what I’m doing, and the relationship I have with my colleagues and managers is great. Sure there were instances when we would have conflicts, but generally, we all get along fine. It’s also a bonus to be working for a multinational company that’s known worldwide for its quality products.

28 April 2017

Casa Pinoy Restaurant in Karama

One of the traits we Filipinos are known for are our love for food.  Whether there's an occasion to celebrate or we want to catch up with a friend, we have to eat.  Just go to Karama, Deira or Satwa, and you'll see several restaurants filled with kabayans enjoying their meal. We simply like to eat.

Of course I'm no exception. And when we heard there was a newly opened resto in the residential district where we used to live, Hubby and I decided to try it out.

14 April 2017

Mama's 75th Birthday (Part 4): Her Actual Birthday

Before anything else...HAPPY 76TH BIRTHDAY, MAMA! You're the best mother we could have ever asked for and we will always be thankful for the blessing that is you. We love you sobra, too much, super, to the max!
This post is already long overdue (one year, to be exact), so I had to blog about it today...otherwise I'd never hear the end of it from my family. So, here goes...

12 April 2017

Crocs #ComeAsYouAre Giveaway!

So as I mentioned in my previous blog post, I'm currently in a cool collaboration with Crocs as they begin their new campaign #ComeAsYouAre .  Honestly, I still can't get over the fact that they invited me to work with them; it's like being in the same company as these celebrities! Woohoo!
Anyway, here's the good news...

09 April 2017

How to Get a Personal Nol Card for Students

Since February, because Hubby often has errands to attend to or has to work on Saturdays, Caila and I have been commuting more frequently during weekends when we have to go out.  This led me to find out how to apply for a personal Nol card for her because students get a 50% discount on the original fare!

Fortunately, the steps to get one are pretty easy.

03 April 2017

#ComeAsYouAre With Crocs Isabella Sandals {A Review}

I used to own only 2 pairs of Crocs shoes: the Farrah Ballet Flats and Huarache Mini Wedge. I can't remember how long I've owned them, but for sure it's been around 3 or 4 years. Until now, I still use them because they're comfy, allows me to keep up with my kids, and just so comfortable! J

I was actually thinking of getting another pair when lo and behold! Crocs sent me an invitation to work with them for their new campaign. Of course I immediately said YES! And after a quick browse on the net revealed that superstars Drew Barrymore, John Cena, Henry Lau and YOONA recently joined Crocs as its global brand ambassadors, I was even more thrilled!

26 March 2017

The Day I Gave Sophie a New ‘Do

Yesterday I did a very bold thing…something I have always left for others to do even though I had to pay them because I was scared I didn’t know how and my kids would hate me if I made a mistake. But yesterday, I decided to face my fear and just do it.

I cut my youngest’s hair...all by myself! ☺

14 March 2017

Mama’s 75th Birthday (Part 3): Desert Safari

Wanting our guests to experience Dubai as much as they could during their brief visit, my sister and I decided to take them on a desert safari the day before Mama’s actual birthday. After all, it’s one of Dubai’s famous activities to do when in town, right? Since they weren’t fussy and our group was a big one (11 adults + 1 kid), we availed of Yalla Banana’s Dhs55 per person deal online and called the company to schedule our group once we received the vouchers via e-mail.

11 March 2017

Caila's Trolls Themed 8th Birthday

Since my sister treated Caila (and the rest of us) to a luxurious weekend stay at the InterContinental Dubai Marina as a gift for her 8th birthday, I knew I couldn't top that... material-wise, at least.  Thankfully, my eldest daughter had already told me how she wanted to spend her actual birthday and it didn't include a big party so we didn't have to dig too deep into our pockets this time. Whew! 

However, it did include giving away goody bags to her close friends and classmates at school.  It would have been an easy task (just buy treats and put them in bags, right?), but since she was so used to having a theme every year for her birthday, she insisted that there be a theme as well this year...yes, even though it would just be for the lootbags. This time it was Trolls. 

08 March 2017

Weekend Staycation at InterContinental Dubai Marina's Penthouse

"What's your plan for Caila's birthday?" my sister asked me back in January.  I replied that we weren't going to have any big celebration this year.  All my eldest wanted was to give goody bags to her friends and classmates in school and for me to take her to Dubai Mall and buy her a gift, followed by dinner with the rest of the family...just like what we did when she and Sophie each turned 3 years old. 

Well, my sister had other plans.  Remembering how extremely happy her niece was when she surprised her on her 6th birthdayAte Ning made arrangements for all of us to spend the weekend before my daughter's actual birthday at InterContinental Dubai Marina

22 February 2017

La Dolce Vita Friday Brunch at Andiamo!

La Dolce Vita is Italian for "the sweet life."  Andiamo! means "let's go!" Put them together, and you get an invitation to enjoy a life full of pleasure and indulgence...or in my case last Friday, to a feast of delectable Italian dishes with Hubby and my two girls at Grand Hyatt Dubai's newly refurbished restaurant.

I remember being very satisfied with the food when I had dinner with my family at Andiamo! for my birthday three years ago; so having come from a tiring walking activity in the morning, I was really looking forward to our brunch that day.

10 February 2017

Sophie's Last Minute Book Character Parade Costume

When it comes to resourcefulness and creativity, nothing brings out these qualities faster from a mother than her child who has an activity or requirement at school and there's no time or budget to go out and buy.

Yes, that's what happened to me when I read in my youngest's school diary that they were having a Book Character Parade the following week...and only remembering that she still didn't have a costume two days before the actual activity would take place.  Aacckk!

25 January 2017

Simply Fish at Brasserie Quartier

Ate Ning and I had another opportunity to have a sisters night out while dining in one of St. Regis Dubai’s restaurants last week. If you remember, the first one was last August for Tomahawk Thursdays at J&G Steakhouse.  This time, the invitation she received was for their Tuesday offering called "Simply Fish" at Brasserie Quartier. The restaurant serves mainly French cuisine, so it was adorned with chic and classy décor everywhere we looked, creating a sophisticated but relaxing ambience for the diners to enjoy.

19 January 2017

Asian Lunch Buffet at Liwan, Al Ghurair Rayhaan by Rotana

For the past few months, my family and I have been having our Saturday lunches in fast food restaurants or food courts in the malls.  Not exactly healthy, I know, but we're always outside at 1pm, and by then, we're all hungry and we want quick fixes to fill our growling tummies. However, last Saturday was different as we were treated to a delectable spread of Asian cuisine in Al Ghurair Rayhaan by Rotana.

17 January 2017

Downtown Slide and More at the Burj Plaza

Bored at staying home almost everyday last week (because our nanny is in the Philippines for vacation and it's my turn to be the stay-at-home mom until she returns), I begged Hubby to take me and the girls out last Friday.  Although we needed to buy some groceries, I didn't want to just visit the mall and go to the supermarket; I wanted a change of scenery.

Fortunately, Caila remembered seeing a giant slide at Downtown Dubai when we passed by the area a week before and asked if we could go there.  I agreed, and we convinced Hubby that that would be the place we would go to that afternoon.

14 January 2017

A New Miyako at Hyatt Regency Dubai

Nine months after our visit, I received another invitation to dine at Hyatt Regency Dubai's Japanese restaurant Miyako.  This time, though, it was because it had been recently renovated so it was a great opportunity to see what changes it had gone through.

My family of four arrived in the hotel lobby at 7:30pm one night last week, met with their Sales Manager, and we proceeded to the "new" Miyako.  As we approached the restaurant, we immediately noticed its new look.  Instead of the brownish-yellow marble wall with the red and black logo, it was now covered with vertical pieces of wood and its name done with horizontal pieces.

10 January 2017

Sisters in Switzerland: Kempinski Grand Hôtel des Bains

Judging from the title and my previous post about our trip, I’m sure you’d have guessed that my sister and I stayed at the prestigious Kempinski Grand Hôtel des Bains when we were in St. Moritz last year. Unbelievable huh?!  Even I still can’t believe how lucky we were!

The hotel certainly lives up to its name. Everything about it shouted luxury and grandeur.  Very impressive!

09 January 2017

Try Everything

Happy New Year!  I know it’s late but it’s the only and best way I could think of to start my first post of 2017☺

So, a new year.  Since the beginning of January, I've been wondering what 2017 has in store for us. What are my plans to make it an unforgettable year?  What am I going to do?  To tell you the truth, I don't know, and I'm not the type who makes resolutions at the beginning of a new year simply because I've always felt they were nice to see listed down on paper, but so difficult to achieve in reality.

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