sarah vs the world

Not a video game, not a comic, not a band, but an amazing adventure continues...

Friday, November 01, 2013

Back in Australia....then onto the UAE!

So it has been a good few months since I have updated the blog.  Of course a lot has happened so let me get going....
I got back to Sydney pretty much just as it was starting to get a bit warmer again.  I managed to spend a bit of time seeing a few people.  I went up to the base of the Blue Mountains (well before they were burning) to visit the Riddells.  Had a lovely time with their family. 
 Owen on the slide
Me and tiny Abby
I also managed to get in a full day of fun with Andrew Mackonis and his amazing son James.  The flying fox was obviously a highlight of the day.  Even I loved it. 
I moved back into the lovely Anne-Marie's house and got back into jogging along with a bit of swimming.  The pool across the street from her apartment has just reopened and was free admission at the time.  So I definitely took full advantage of that.  The water was lovely and heated, so I would just run home very fast immediately following....
I also arrived back in time for amazing blood orange season.  I got a bit obsessed with them and how many different things I could make with blood oranges.  AM would agree that the most successful attempt of creating delicious ways to enjoy the blood orange was this:  The blood orange granita with dark chocolate melted over arrowroot biscuits.  I will need to keep making this.  It was amazing.  Even just the granita on its own. 
I managed to spend a bit of time just doing usual things in Sydney.  Went to see Paul Kelly play.  Celebrated my birthday a little low key with a round of lawn bowls and some high tea.  It actually happened to be a very nice weekend in Sydney in August.  It's still hard to go from having your birthday in summer to having it in winter....but doing it in Sydney was just fine. 
Paul Kelly - this really was an amazing show
 High Tea at Gunners Barracks
 Lawn Bowls at Marrickville
Then I packed up all my stuff and jumped in the car with AM on a long long drive to Adelaide.  We spent 2 days driving through some crazy places in Australia, but made it there just fine.  
We had lunch on the Cobb fav aussie slang from Hobart
 It was pouring with rain when we arrived in Adelaide.  We could see it as we drove in.
Then I got to the lovely Lydia and Michael's house.  I was able to spend some time with Lyd in her last pregnant weeks just cooking lovely food and enjoying their warm fireplace.  I went for a jog in their neighbourhood in the Adelaide Hills, we stopped in at Hahndorf, hit up their local craft market and even ate some blood orange granita that I made!  It was a great time.  Thanks for having me, Lyd and Michael!  Can't wait to meed little Eden John in person.
The lovely trees near their house
 Lyd with her giant kransky in Hahndorf
Then it was back into a hire car for a long drive to Melbourne.  I had a few people to visit over there, plus more storage unit sorting etc.  I managed to get a lot done there too.  
Saw King Kong
 And DA on stage in Hot Shoe Shuffle
 Visited Melb's amazing Chinatown for Peking Duck
 Stopped in to say hello to Bianca, Jeremy, Kaelen and Isaac
 Had a beer with Tall Dave and Adam
I also spent some time with Steve and Rachelle.  We then met up with Edwina at White Rabbit brewery.  Ed and I spent the weekend in the Yarra Valley which was lovely!  Hit up a few wineries, had lovely food, went to the top of Mt Dandenong and even went to the new chocolate factory. 
My fav...Yering Station

 Ed samples the cheese platter at the Yarra Valley Dairy
I then spent a bit of time at Daz's house just waiting to hear about my pending flight to Dubai.  It was good to hang out with him.  One night, it was strangely warm in Melbourne, so we had Chloe over for a BBQ which led to several bottles of wine and a pretty late night.  But we had lots of fun.  Thanks for letting me stay Daz!

Then it was on the plane....I am doing a bit of consulting on a few things over here, including getting to work on a project with the lovely Dawn James again! We are based outside of Abu Dhabi.  So arriving in the warm weather was superb.
The coming photos will make you think that I am not doing any work, but I assure you I am.  Photos will become available as soon as I am allowed to share.  
I found us a fabulous deal one weekend (which we will definitely do again) at the St Regis on Saadiyat Island.  We got Friday brunch (a necessity here in the UAE) with unlimited champers, overnight accomm inc breakky on Sat and 4pm check out on Saturday.  We took full advantage of everything on offer!  I am addicted to St Regis now.
The buffet
The prawns...unreal
 The pool...we actually had our sunbeds in the pool.  We never left.
The Grand Mosque Abu Dhabi.  I haven't been in yet, but will def get there before I leave.
Dawn and I also managed to get away for a few days to Ras Al Khaimah.  We booked into a villa which had its own pool at the Banyan Tree in the middle of the desert.  It was beautiful, but the service didn't quite live up to our expectations.  Not to mention how many kids were there.  It didn't really seem like the place to take them.  It was a spa resort after all.  But it was nice to get away. 
These were crossing the road on the way there....
At one point the GPS was not helpful unless you spoke Arabic!  It must have been Bakalakadaka Street....
Our pool...which actually had no sun and was too cold to get in.  Disappointing.  I did jump in a few days and managed to stay in it for a while.
 The Moon Lounge Bar....we did have several cocktails here on several different nights.
Dawn in the crazy cot/crib like chair at the Moon Lounge
We then headed back to Dubai for day of shopping and indulging.  We started with coffees at the Armani Hotel.
 We then took the lift in the Burj Khalifa to the 123rd Floor
 For High Tea at Atmosphere
This was the view from the top.  You can sort of see the Palm in the background on the water with Atlantis Resort just on the tip.  The Burj al Arab is also in this photo. 
We were soooo full by the end of high tea.  But it was amazing.  We then headed back.  As I said, work is definitely happening as well.  I promise.  This weekend we are off to the F1 to do a bit of secret shopping, posing as guests.  Should be great fun.  Hoping to see Jay-Z and maybe MUSE.  
Hope all is well with everyone.  If you happen to get to this part of the world, drop me an email.  It's where I will be for the next little bit anyway.
Lots of love,