About time for an update…

It’s been over a year, but I think I’m back. Here’s what I’ve been up to.

Well hello. It has literally been ages. I think my last post was way back in October of 2015, about Kanpai in Dubai (aha, that rhymes, yes I sat here giggling away). You’ll have to bear with me, I feel like I’ve literally forgotten how to form entertaining and half-decent sentences since I last wrote a post. I wholeheartedly apologise for the mess of words that no doubt is to come.

If you’ve read any of my previous posts, you’ll know generally speaking I can be quite a chaotic writer, you would think being a postgraduate student at present that writing would be a fundamental necessity. Somehow I think I’ve got worse. I know, I know that’s probably not the case but have you ever felt more stupid even though you’re being educated. That is me – right now.

But this post isn’t about my questionable writing skills, it’s about an update.

I’m not sure if you’re aware, but I relocated to Dubai from the UK to finish my studies in the September of 2015. Fingers crossed, in May of this year I’ll be finishing and I’ll be well on my way to finding myself a real adult job. Honestly, I’m super excited to finish, and to return full-time to England, my home.

Dubai has been a struggle for me, to say the least.

I think a lot of that has to do with the limited amount of time I spend with people. I’m constantly studying, and where as the people I do know out there prefer to head to the beach (understandably, for a beautiful sunny country) or head out for a night clubbing – I’m not a beach goer (self-confidence crisis always likes to strike) and dancing the night away in shoes I can’t walk in make me uncomfortable. It’s definitely my fault that I’ve made limited connections, but it is something I’d like to work on for the rest of my time in Dubai.

I was lucky enough during 2016, to visit a whole load of places during the Summer months whilst I was back home with my dad, I’ll be writing a post or two on my blog about them with some of the photographs I’ve took whilst I was there.

  • Vienna
  • Milan
  • France
  • Czech

I spent Christmas at home in the UK with my dad, and at the moment I’m still in England, spending the last couple of weeks before I head back to university to finish my degree program.

In some ways I’m looking forward to going back, but in others I dread leaving. It’s a bit up and down. I want to finish as soon as possible so I can finally really settle down and find myself a nice little job to start saving for a little place of my own, or at least a flat share.

Honestly guys, I’ve missed you and I’ve missed this. Blogging and just letting go of feelings, it’s such a relief. I hope I can keep this up.

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Kanpai, Downtown Dubai – Food/Restaurant Review

Since I moved to Dubai, I’ve been really busy starting my postgraduate and settling into life. I haven’t done any blog posts since moving here and I know that really needs to change. So I decided to kick things off with a review about a Japanese/Asian Fusion Restaurant and Bar in Downtown Dubai, Kanpai.

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Located in Souk Al Bahar just beside the Burj Khalifa, this gem of an Asian restaurant can be found hiding on the second floor. I say hiding, but in reality as you walk towards it you get greeted by this handsome gentleman along the walls.

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It might seem a little strange to feel slightly intimidated as you enter Kanpai, but with those wonderful Samauri-esque greeting you, you might understand my fear. However in reality my family and I were met but some really warm and friendly front of house staff, who took us to our table, asked how the music was for us and really made us feel special about having booked our table with them.

Interestingly enough, whilst we were there Kanpai was having a photoshoot to help further their brand in Dubai. Even though there was this photoshoot going on in the background with the occasional flash of a flash gun or the fake laughter of models told to: “enjoy themselves,” in the next few pictures I didn’t feel like it hindered our visit at all. Perhaps, occasionally they was a longer wait time then we perhaps would’ve liked, particularly when it came to getting the bill, as there were more people dining then, but honestly I felt they dealt with the situation very professionally.

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We had a wonderful server, whose name I’m sure was Mignonne or something similar but in reality she looked just like my favourite Abbi Sciuto from NCIS. I literally couldn’t handle the similarities, she was gorgeous and was there when a glass needed refilling or to guide us through the menu, namely the cocktail menu helping us chose from the different varieties of alcoholic/non-alcoholic drinks which we could then make alcoholic. I have to say I was totally impressed with her as a waitress, as the restaurant seemed to fill she did seem to be serving everybody and she handled that pressure wonderfully. She looked as if she was enjoying herself, she was friendly, calm and helped sort out any issues we had at any given time alongside everybody else.

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You’ll probably want to hear about the food at some point. But very quickly, the setting.

Honestly I don’t know what everybody’s problem is in Dubai, but for some reason and maybe it’s just me but the last few places I’ve been to the lights have been turned so low they might as well have been off, Nobu I’m literally pointing all fingers at you. Whilst Kanpai was a little dark for my liking actually being able to read the menu without asking for a nightlight, and being able to see the food in from of me as well as the people opposite me was an absolute bonus. The lighting was low enough to set an atmosphere but not low enough to destroy any chance of mood. in the same way the music, which when we entered was pretty loud (probably due to the photoshoot), was turned down to make sure we could all hear any person on our table. Honestly touches like that really make the evening so much more enjoyable. Whilst it was pretty classy inside I loved that I wouldn’t necessarily have felt out of place wearing some smart casual trousers and flat shoes, it just felt like there were no pretensions. For me that is amazing, there is nothing worse then going to an eatery, a club or whatever and feeling like you don’t deserve to be there.

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As for the food, well if telling you we had two lots of starters before our main course doesn’t speak volumes for the quality of the food I don’t know what does. There was plenty to go around, and everything from the Spicy Chilli Edamame Bean to the Vegetable Spring Rolls was a wonderful experience for your tastebuds.

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The chefs and management at Kanpai seriously outdid themselves with their starters, and achieved a succinct and beautiful matching Asian delight. I was impressed with the speed that the starters came out, and there was no problems with us ordering in our very awkward fashion: Starter, Starter, Main without given any time to prepare anything else. Really well done for the starters:

  • Spicy Edamame Beans
  • Crab Cakes
  • Vegetable Spring Rolls
  • Some interesting, not to sure if I liked them/didn’t like them mango and vegetable parcels

Honestly, I can’t qualify if I like the last food item or not, I had one thought: “Not my thing,” and then went back for more because I’m sure it was.

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Main course, for me went a lot like the first course. I ordered:

  • Roast chicken in a spicy cream sauce with mushrooms and baby potatoes

It was delicious. But, and yes really this shouldn’t be a but, BUT: a) I wish the potatoes has been cooked a little longer and b) I felt like I could have had a much bigger portion. But then I’m a pig. Even after two loads of sharing platter starters I wanted more food, which does go to show how well prepared the food was.  We only had a slight problem with one dish, that thankfully wasn’t mine (evil laugh), that was slightly too cold but they rectified the situation immediately, and honestly it’s not even worth complaining about.

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As it was a birthday, they very kindly let me choose a desert for the birthday girl – my beautiful mum, and wrote: “Happy Birthday Veda” (surprisingly her name) on the plate. I chose the desert called Ka, or Fire which was some kind of cheesecake which was set on fire at the table. The photograph I have of it is not wonderful but you get the generally idea. I like they came out with a sparkler as well, and thankfully enough when I asked them not to sing happy birthday because my mum would have sunk under the table stayed true to their word and just brought it all out. Enough for her to be embarrassed, not enough for her to disappear – a good balance I think.

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If you want to book a table at Kanpai – which I strongly suggest visit their website or call them on 04-441-9262. Their opening times are 12pm – 2am.

A fabulous restaurant, with some amazing staff, food and just pure quality entertainment.

The Prospect of Getting Fitter – Adidas Adipure 360.2 Celebration Review

The prospect of getting fitter is always such a nice thought, but a terrible idea. I know that I don’t want to stay in my hole of self-hate and instead want to go and get that extra-gorgeous dress which would look so nice if say I dropped half my body weight but I just love food.

Anyways, in order to prompt and preferably push me onto my path of extra-healthy, working out and getting fitter path I have, wait for it, purchased a new pair of trainers. I will note that before this I was going to review a different new pair of trainers which I fell in love with but my dog ate them. No joke. She ate them. So instead as I found these beauties. I would also like to establish the fact that I have never in my life purchased anything from Adidas. Never. Up until now I, very wrongly I’m sure pictured the Adidas brand in a Sunderland and Essex both remaining unnamed nightclubs. Yes, this did actually happen and no I don’t want to go into the details about how horrified I was that tracksuits were allowed in night clubs (i really tried not to judge) however! I’m so happy I discovered these trainers and actually some of their other more gorgeous training gear.

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For too long, Adidas has been at least in my mind a stereotypical brand type for chavs (sorry, nothing against you all I was once one too) and although I’m sure they’ve probably always had nice merchandise, my new trainers are just gorgeous, and so is some of their other range. Anyways enough about my stereotypical judgement which as per usual is probably wrong, and more about my lovely trainers.

Called the Adidas Adipure 360.2 CC – Celebration (longest name every for a pair of runners) I chose mine in a pretty mint colour. These shoes have an interesting cheetah spot pattern along them, which really isn’t that consistent but does it give it a more chic feeling. I also think and hope it makes them more unique. I hate the three stripes but what can you say, I can’t ring up Adidas and just say please change your logo. I guess I could try?

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With the upper shoe made from air mesh meaning lots of breathability for your foot, it keeps your tootsies cool whilst you work up a sweat. The breathability of these trainers is really the main focus of this shoe I feel, with the lining made of mesh as well. I love that on the bottom of the rubber sole there are gaps for added breathability. What I did notice when I got these pretties home was that they aren’t overly flexible which for me is probably a shame as I love a whole lot of foot movement but I was told by the shop keeper, who obviously had no interest in selling them to me at all that they would work for my needs, i.e. getting fitter.

Personally.

I think they are lovely, but I will be the first to admit I haven’t worn them to work out in. I’m off to Cubaton tomorrow evening though, so i guess terrifyingly we will see how they stand up.

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I actually couldn’t find them on the Adidas store, and was having trouble loading images to see if my shoes were the same as on the website so I tracked down another pair, American but you get the idea. On that website they are $90.

I think this might be them, but like I said I can’t actually see the image to verify. Whoops.

In Dubai I paid AED 475 which converts in GBP to approximately £80 which is probably a usual price for a pair of good quality trainers although I hate to say I made a purchase for trainers of that price, however I’m going to ignore it.

Tell me what you think, pretty colour or should have gone different?

A Girl Is A Half-Formed Thing, Eimear McBride – Review

IMG_8710Well, this book was not what I was expecting as I hurriedly picked it up as I rushed through Dubai’s Al Maktoum Airport. If perhaps I had been looking more closely I wouldn’t have picked up such an unobvious piece. However if I had looked, and had spent a little more time looking over at some other books I would of missed out on a piece of literary genius. Truly. Literary genius. I finished the book approximately three minutes and 27..28 seconds ago and I’m speechless. My mind is in turmoil.

I won’t lie to anyone and say this book was a breeze to read, when I sat on my seven-hour flight and opened it up I thought: “What the heck is this crap?” As a reader I am used to grammar and sentence structure all in pretty much a straightforward and easily understood manner. The book however, started like this: “ For you. You’ll soon You’ll give her name. In the stitches of her skin she’ll wear your say.”

I mean, what!?

But I stuck with it, and boy am I glad? Glad because it’s a masterpiece, for me this is the epitome of what I love reading – something new and different. But I question that gladness purely on the fact that I am currently traumatised by the subject matter of the book and quite honestly it’s ending. And nope, I will not give it away but wow.

As a debut novel Eimear McBride can pat herself on the back, bake herself a couple of cupcakes and gorge on them because this book is darkly perfect. It provides all I didn’t realise I wanted from a book. It’s uncomfortable reading – it’s disturbing and passionate and the structure of it, written in the narrator’s head in a James Joyce-esque way gives it an element of madness. Mcbride explained that closely she was influence by Joyce with one of his quotes placed above her desk: “One great part of every human existence is passed in a state which cannot be rendered sensible by the wideawake language, cutanddry grammar and goahead plot.” And this is what McBride’s novel does. McBride takes the sensible everyday language you expect and she turns it into a masterpiece of incoherent but understandable phrases exquisitely positioned to tell a story.

And what a story she tells.

The main point of the story is about a young Irish woman and her relationship mainly with her adored brother. Her brother whose survival from childhood brain cancer has left him the favourite in their religious maniac mother’s eyes, and her the outcast. She, who fights all of her brother’s battles as well as her own and protects him from a world of judgement. As we watch through the endless river of words McBride sews together a girl who grows into a woman, who has to endure the pious eyes of her mother, the abuse of her uncle and then by default her early awakening into sexuality. McBride leads the reader on an unapologetic path of self-destruction all the while hoping that the girl will pull herself together and escape from the torment not only received from her brother and mother, but also herself.

This powerfully tragic novel by McBride leaves no doubt in my mind that it will be a classic. A classic in every sense of the word.

Traumatising but totally worth it.

Buy it here on Amazon

Nail Station Fun – Dubai

My nails are presently a state. But, that doesn’t mean I’m not avidly purchasing new and exciting nail polishes to try out on my idly biddy bitten little nails. In fact it’s quite the opposite. Yesterday alone I purchased two new nail polishes from a company that up until yesterday at 12:18pm I had never heard of. So let me introduce…

The Nail Station Paris

IMG_8682Now why I’ve never heard of a company that basically has the word nail in when I google nail polishes as much as I do is a mystery to me. But alas, I am only human and sometimes things do just pass me by, like phone bills and traffic light signals. No I’m only kidding, sort of.

Anyways I discovered the entire range of colour heaven and although I wanted to place all the contents of The Nail Station’s stand into my too small bag I decided quite sensibly to just chose two of the colours. I then spent 45 minutes deciding which two but that’s is not the point.

I ended up with two pretty boringly obvious standard colours, but ones that I just thought yes to. One is a stunning blue called Cocorico and it emphasises all I love about the colour blue. It’s wholesome and works beautifully with a pale complexion or if your are lucky enough to have a tan it works great with a bronzed effect as well. I fell in love with it as soon as I saw it and honestly I just thought that the warmth it has was unusual for a blue tone.

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The second colour is a white called Mont Blanc. Yes I know white is so white. I will admit know that aged 22 I have never had white nails. This was a first for me and although I loved it on my nails, I think it looked totally different and was really eye-catching on my toes it just looked like Tipex.

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Both these colours are superb for the winter months, the white needs no explanation and the blue just simply looks good with everything. As I purchased them in Dubai for 49AED each I’d reckon they would be about £7 back home but I’m not sure. I also am not actually aware of them being available in the UK just yet but fingers crossed they will make the crossing soon.

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For more information visit the Nail Station website.

A little bit of home

Love a bit of home.
Love a bit of home.

 

So, I love coming to mum’s house. She’s one of those people who is just fun, without trying. I think she’s pretty much got it down. She lives just a bit far away – Dubai, and although I guess distance can be hard it’s just so easy to think of the free holidays I get to go over and see her.

Life is not bad!

So at present I’m sitting in a beautifully cooled air-conditioned room, as it’s far too hot outside just relaxing. I love some of the furniture and art that my mum and step-dad have added into their new home. It really does suit them completely, not too mention I’m thinking of ‘borrowing’ most of it when I move into my own place and just putting it there.

One of my favourite pieces is the light shade, which is Moroccan-esque and totally my choice. It’s black with beautifully intricate cut-out detailing and it lives just above the dining room table. I’ve still not quite worked out how I’m going to sneak this back home to England, but somehow I’m sure it will work.

Some more of home, this time some of the art they've picked up.
Some more of home, this time some of the art they’ve picked up.

What’s truly amazing about Dubai, is the amount of diversity here. There are so many different people, who come from different places, who believe in different things and who act and live so differently from what I’m generally used to. One of the most interesting thing is learning about these different cultures, religions, and everything in generally.

I’m truly blessed to be able to visit such a place and learn all about different people and different things. If you can I would definitely come to Dubai. It’s so out of this world.