No Ordinary Canteen

It’s the last weekend of the fantastic Dubai Food Festival so today headed to the Beach Canteen at Kite Beach. It’s such a great concept –  lots of pop up food outlets housed in shipping containers, right on the beach. Once you’ve chosen from all the food on offer, find a seat with a view over the ocean and the Burj Al Arab, and take in the scenery along with a few tunes from the DJ.

In terms of food, absolute hands down winner for me was Rice Creamery, a store devoted to selling Rice Pudding, I guess the clue is in the name! Now, no-one makes Rice Pudding like my Mum, but the “Crunchy Munchy” flavour I went for (Vanilla Rice Pudding with a Cornflakes topping)  ran it pretty close!

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Street Nights @Dubai Food Festival

Spent the evening at Street Nights, part of the #DubaiFoodFestival, in Al Quoz. A mix of pop up restaurants, DJ’s, boutique fashion stalls, and live street artists. For me, this feels like the sort of event that would happen most weekends in Melbourne, but it’s definitely not a scene Dubai would be well known for.

It feels like Dubai are still finding their feet when it comes to putting these sorts of events but this was a great evening which brought a really eclectic mix of people out. Even a February dust storm could not even but a downer on the evening.

Unfortunately I didn’t get to try all the food and drinks on offer,  buIMG_5096t it all looked so good, and it was great to be able to wander around the various stalls selling clothes, art and even bikes!

What impressed me most was the live art. The street was packed with artists who each had their own piece of “wall” where they could just get creative. Hands down winner for me, just because I kind of love Star Wars, was this creation of the Darth Vader battling Obi-Wan!

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It’s great to hear that more of these types of event are happening in Dubai. For me, it’s the opposite of the glitz and glamour that the city is really famous for. Looking forward to see what’s coming next.

Being a student again, in America

I’ve discovered internet radio!

OK so not so much of a discovery, and I kind of always knew it was there, it’s just I’d never really thought of using it before.

I absolutely love music. It’s a rare moment when I don’t have something playing out of somewhere. The thing is, I seem to get bored of what I’m listening to quite quickly, no sooner have I found a new band I love, I want to find another one. It’s a curse I’ve had since I was a teenager, when everyday on the walk home from school I’d have to resist buying a new CD, which I managed about 3 days out of 5. My Mum used to have a go at me over how much money I spent on music and my unarguable defense was that at least I wasn’t spending it on smoking! No comeback on that one. So, anyway, since I’ve first been listening to music, I’m always looking out for something new or different to try.

Radio stations are not really where I would normally turn to find new music, but one evening last week, sat on my couch, I started browsing on Apple TV all the radio stations I could connect with. Ambient, Blues, Classical………..College Radio. Going to university in the UK, college radio is not something that really hit me, or maybe it just didn’t hit the University of Salford! But then I remembered, how huge college radio in the US is. I was recalling all those R.E.M interviews where Michael Stipe would talk about how his band was launched on college radio out of Athens, which meant absolutely nothing to me in 1991. But now I’m thinking this might be worth a listen…..

Firstly, it’s not easy to start, there are 227 college radio stations to chose from on Apple TV. Not a problem, one quick search of “the best college radio stations” and I had it narrowed down to 20. And picking completely at random I’m now sat on my couch listening to Radio DePaul based out of Chicago. Forgive me for saying, I think the station name could do with some work, but so far loving the music they’re playing on their “Chill Out” show, which considering it’s early morning in Dubai must be Thursday night in Illinois.

Couple of crowd favourites so far: “Putting the Dog to Sleep” by The Antlers and “Josh Mcbride” by The Head and The Heart. I have no idea if this is new in 2015, but I’ve never heard it before, so it’s new to me. Shazam is at the ready to tell me more.

Bookworm

So for my first 30 day challenge I started with a real easy one:

CHALLENGE 1: READING EVERY DAY

I know this is pretty easy and I know that a lot of people will do this anyway. However, as much as I love reading, it’s one of those things that I never seem to have the time to do, or just never get round to. So, as I always start the year saying to myself I should read more, I thought doing this challenge would be a good way to start. Plus, I had a couple of other considerations. Firstly I was on holiday in the UK, so I would have more time to do something like reading and also, as I’d be travelling back to Dubai over the course of the month, I needed a challenge that could travel to the Middle East – build a snowman everyday was not an option.

I kind of knew I would enjoy forcing myself to read. I read 2.5 books in total over the 30 days, which for a start, is about what I would normally read in a year so already this challenge has boosted my output! I started out with Gone Girl, which I’d wanted to read for some time. It’s an excellently put together story, but having now read the book and seen the film, I find the ending a bit stupid. Rating 8/10!

After reading a few Jodi Picoult books I still can’t really decide if I like her or not, but I keep reading them so perhaps I do. I know, Gone Girl followed by House Rules, a book about a kid with Aspergers, doesn’t seem the most likely of transitions, but this book has sat on my shelf for years and never yet been read. It also has a horrendous carbon footprint as it has been shipped from Australia to Dubai, so it was about time it was read. A pretty standard book from JP, raising the usual human dilemmas, but if you like her other books you’ll like this one as much I guess.. Rating 7/10!

And finally, I’ve started but not finished, 11.22.63. Again, been on the wishlist for some time and got a copy for Christmas (thanks Mum and Dad!) – can’t give much of a rating so yet, but so far so good. It’s a Stephen King book so, have some high hopes!

I’ve definitely enjoyed reading more and forcing myself to read every day has certainly been a pleasure not a chore. So much so that so far I’ve kept the reading going beyond the 30 days, even if it’s just a few pages each night before the light goes out.