Wednesday, June 28, 2017

April

What an amazing month March turned out to be, we celebrated our tenth wedding anniversary for an entire week, starting of at Le Meridien Al Aqah and finishing at Al Maha Desert Resort and Spa, with a trip to Jumeirah Beach Hotel and Emirates Golf Club inbetween!!  The weather has finally broken and we are experiencing a rise in temperatures, it's no secret I prefer the hotter months over the cooler ones. It's Easter this month, so I hope the Easter Bunny is really kind to you all. Have a fabulous month wherever are you are.

GA

Geordie Armani

Today is a wonderful day for the females of the species who have reproduced and brought some Kittens into this world.   Whilst I don't really celebrate all these commercialised annual events I do quite like Mother's Day, not because I get some flowers and a card but because it reminds me that I am a Mother and how special that actually is.  It is an absolute honour to be called Mum, it's a title I never thought I would ever have as I was a bit of a late starter compared to most in that department.

Whether you are a Mum or a Dad for that matter, make sure you remember the most important woman in your life today, your very own Mum! pick up the phone and make her smile wherever you are in the World.

I love you Mum

xxx

 

This weekend, after a wait of about eight years we managed to stay at Al Maha Desert Resort and Spa for the very first time, it certainly will not be the last.  It is the most amazing place and I truly hope that everyone has the opportunity to visit Al Maha Desert Resort and Spa at least once in their lifetime.

We arrived at the resort slightly earlier than check-in for two reasons; I was too excited to get there and I was dying to see Team Al Maha again, nothing to do with the Jumbo Prawns that I knew were going to be on the lunch menu, that I also knew I was going to order.  We arrived at the main gate of the resort where Desert Ranger Kathryn met us and transported us to the main hotel. It's about a 10 minute drive through the desert dunes, Kathryn told us all about the resort and told us that Maretha was actually our appointed guide, we met her when we got to the Hotel.  Checking in is a very simple affair which involves a bit of paperwork, iced towels and two very lovely fruit cocktails. After checking in we headed down the Al Diwaan Restaurant. I will write about the food at Al Maha in a separate article. After a fabulous lunch it was time for our Guest Relations Manager Myat to show us to our Bedouin Suite all 75 square metres of it! I have posted some pictures here as my description won't do it justice.

The Suites are just amazing, each suite has its own infinity pool, none of the suites are overlooked so you have total privacy, we had a few Oryx that kept popping their nose in for a quick peak, and a really pretty little Gazelle nearly came up to the pool for some water.  You can handle intruders like that any day of week!! Suffice to the say the rooms are the ultimate in luxury and you find photo's here, along with information about all the facilities in the rooms, check this link.

After a few hours of sitting around doing nothing I decided we ought to really get ourselves out and about and explore the Resort, so following a quick shower in the biggest shower cubicle in the world, and a quick call to reception we were in a Land Cruiser with Kathryn and heading into the Dunes for the Wildlife Drive, absolutely superb!! so informative, we saw some fabulous Oryx, the views were stunning and the driving in the dunes, though scary (wimp), I have to admit was brilliant. Did you know that Al Maha Reservation is actually 225 square kilometres? that is 1/5 th of the total land in the Emirate of Dubai!

We got back to the hotel just in time to meet up with Maretha to be driven into the desert again, (I was too scared to do the camel ride), to see the sunset Al Maha style, that's with a glass or two of ice cold champagne!! Absolutely spectacular and if you do visit Al Maha I can strongly recommend you do this activity.  You can do two activies per day that you are resident in the Resort, more information about the activities can be found here.

We were very lucky to have Maretha as our Ranger as she very kindly took us to see the Falcons after the Sundowner experience, I met an Owl, an Eagle and various Falcons, Maretha has a very loud Falcon that she takes care off, I pretty sure it's a Geordie really.

After an amazing nights sleep in what felt like the biggest bed in the world, with the softest pillows known to man, we were up and out an about again, this time we headed to Timeless Spa, I am not a great one for Spa's but do appreciate their beauty, I have taken plenty of photo's which you can find here. The main pool for resort is also at Timeless Spa but I guess most people use their private pool.

Eventually our stay came to an end and Maretha came to collect us and drive us back to the main gate where we picked up my Pajero and headed back to Dubai Town, as we drove back I wondered how long it would be before I heard the birds breaking the morning sun, or for that matter when I would see the team at Al Maha again, I know it won't be long.

This one is for Chef David, Chef Sebby, Vivek, Thaya, Sateesh, Myat, Kathryn, Maretha, Aaron, Hussein, Irfan, Radi and the rest of the Team at Al Maha who made our visit so special. We WILL be back!

You can find Al Maha on both Facebook and Twitter

GA

 

 

 

I wrote about Al Maha Desert Resort and Spa and what it has to offer its residents earlier, you can find a link here if you missed it. This article a separate one purely on the food that we enjoyed at the Resort, which is down to Executive Chef David Miras and Senior Sous Chef Peter Sebby and the rest of their amazing team.

After a quick and speedy check-in into Al Maha we headed straight down to the Al Diwaan Restaurant and nabbed ourselves a nice table on the terrace in the shade. The views are amazing, straight out into sand dunes as far as the eye can see, spotted with Oryx and Gazelle, with birds coming and going all the time. The tranquillity of the setting is breathless.  We were immediately offered water and a menu, I knew what I was having, yes seafood, seafood and more seafood.  So off we started on our culinary tour of Al Maha.

I ordered from the Ala Carte Menu a starter of Crumbed Crab and Scallion Cake served on Seasonal Leaves with Lemon Hollandaise Sauce, whilst my husband opted for Chilled Vichyssoisse Soup with White Truffle Espuma, the presentation of both dishes when they arrived was truly spectacular. I will post a link later of photographs for all the dishes we experienced at Al Maha.  We followed this with main courses of Jumbo Prawns with Bearnaise Sauce and Buttered Root Vegetables for me and Dorado Fillet with Spicy Chilli Sauce and French Fries for him, outstanding, the King Prawns were fit a King and cooked to perfection!  The Dorado was very tasty though I don't go too much on chilli if I am honest, unlike my spicy husband who has everything hot!  It was at lunch that we were telling Chef Sebby that we thought a Chilli Chocolate Creme Brulee might be a nice addition to the menu, he seemed rather impressed, not as impressed as my husband was as he had thought of the dish and now had himself down as some famous celebrity Chef!   For desserts we had the Vanilla Creme Brulee with Lemon Shortbreads, and the Baked Chocolate Torte with Orange Sorbet, divine!!

We spent the rest of the day exploring the resort but just managed to pop into the bar for a few little nibbles from the Afternoon Tea, my husband still claims the scones are the best he has ever tasted, I am rather partial to the mini onion quiches it has to be said. I am definitely more a savoury than sweet person, except when it comes to Creme Brulee.  We both agreed that the chicken on curry bread was a definite winner all round.

After sundowners we popped back to our Suite to freshen up and then headed to Al Diwaan for Dinner, my first Dinner ever at Al Maha, I was not to be disappointed.  I started of with (surprise surprise) Lobster Raviolo which was served with Granny Smith Beurre Blanc, my husband opted for the Asian Beef Remoulade with hints of Chilli, Bell Pepper, Fresh Tomato, Ginger and Oyster Sauce, we both said we could eat them again as they were that good. However we went on to order the Sauteed Monkfish Fillet with Coriander Risotto, Purple Sprouting Brocolli and Champagne Butter Sauce for myself and Wagyu Beef Saltimbocca topped with Sage and Pork Bacon with Wild Mushroom Risotto and Shallots Veal Jus.  There was alot of discussion about the "7 hours" Braised Shank of Lamb, but we came to our decision in the end, and we were truly not disappointed.  I adore Monkfish but has been a long time since I had Monkfish that tasted so fresh and flavoursome.  Desserts, yes we did and I honestly don't know how we managed it but I had the Al Maha Raspberry Ripple with Vanilla Greek Yoghurt Cream, Fresh Raspberries and Merinque, and my husband opted for the Lemon Tart with Strawberry Sherbet, fit for Kings is all I can say!

It was when our desserts were being presented that Chef Sebby appeared and presented, yes you guessed it, Chilli Chocolate Creme Brulee!! That is what I love about Al Maha so much, they listen to their guests, Chef David told me that at least ten tables wouldn't be ordering from the regular menu and it wasn't a problem for the kitchen, ever.  Needless to say the Creme Brulee was perfect and we hope to see it on the menu regularly.

Obviously we slept rather well that night and the next morning we headed back to Al Diwaan for Breakfast, I honestly couldn't eat another thing but did just manage half a portion of Eggs Benedict which was Organic Poached Eggs on Pork Ham with Hollandaise Sauce, whilst my other half satisfied his taste for spice and went for the Burghee which is Indian Style Scrambled eggs with lots of spice! there was an extensive breakfast that accompanied the Al Maha Breakfast Menu, the next time I visit I am not going to eat for a few days before I get there!

If there is one thing this Resort do well it is too look after their guests, they know they have alot of returning guests who go back year after year, I think I know why, not only is the location amazing, the staff outstanding, but the two Chef's in charge are amazingly talented passionate men who have a love affair with food that goes way further than just cooking it, I have always believed you are born to be a Chef, these two and the rest of their team truly were.  That leaves me just to say thank you for an amazing culinary experience and I hope to see you all again soon!! oh and here are the photographs of the food we had to eat during our stay at Al Maha Desert Resort and Spa.

Al Maha can be found on Facebook and Twitter

GA

 

It was November, my car was turning 4 in December and for the previous year it had been in the back of my mind that maybe it was time to let her go and trade her in for a newer model (thank goodness my husband hasn't done that with me). Anyway, being a great believer in fate I duly advertised her and she was sold to the first lady who came to see her. It was love at first sight, just like it had been for me four years earlier when we had bought my first ever brand new car in the UAE.  So, with that decision taken out of my hands we headed down to Al Habtoor Motors to order the new one, which was very simple as I knew exactly what I wanted.  The deposit was paid and we headed down to the HSBC Bank to apply for the loan that we needed to get the new car. The very nice man in the bank gave us gifts and told us it would take two working days before the loan was transferred into our account, however it was the day before Eid .....

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Living in a Muslim Country we all to often hear the phrase Insh'Allah used in our day to day lives. The correct translation means "God Willing" or "If is God's Will". Often the phrase is used when making plans for the future, a holiday, a special event, it is customary for Arabic speakers to add the phrase Insh'Allah at the end of the sentence to ensure that it will happen as per God's will.  This is no different to the Bible where it is stated in the Epistle of James that people should remember that they never know what tomorrow will bring, so the will of God should be acknowledged when making future plans.

Last week 7Days reported that there had been a tragic accident in Al Ain where two young children had lost their lives due to their Mother's negligence behind the wheel.   Not only was she speeding, the children, we fear were not safely strapped into the car. The car was a 5 seater car, with 7 occupants, we don't need a degree to figure that assumption out.  7Days posted a link for the article to their home page on facebook, where people were able to leave their comments relating to the tragedy.  It deeply saddened me that people think that this accident was God's will. It was God's will to force a woman to speed which lead to her two children losing their lives?  I don't think so.  I am pretty sure the lady in question had her foot on the accelerator not God.

When is this attitude going to stop? when are people going to take responsibility for their own actions and not fall back to God, and use him as the reason these tragedies happen? God gave us life, a life that we control through our own actions. God gave us intelligence, for us to use to protect ourselves and the ones we love from harm.  If you truly believe that God is responsible for everything then why did he give us the resources to create seat belts and car seats?  he did that for us to use, to keep us from harms way.

Nothing will bring back those children and the family will have to live the rest of their lives with the guilt that comes in association with a tragedy of this nature, did God wish that on his people?

Let's hope this case has increased awareness in the UAE and that we see a change in attitude towards road safety. I have written in the past about the Buckle up in the Back Dubai campaign, now it is of even more relevance. Also equally annoying is where these words "it's a cultural thing" are used, it's not a cultural thing, it is downright ignorance. You have the intelligence to use your own seatbelt, why not have the same intelligence to tell your children too?

Anyway, I hope this has increased a bit of awareness ...... Insh'Allah

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