Right after I landed from San Francisco, I had two very special guests come to stay… Mum and Dad!

They were on their way to Australia to visit my grandparents and decided to stop over in Dubai for a couple of days to break up the journey a little.

As a pre-Christmas treat, I took them to afternoon tea. I chose the Waldorf as it’s on the Palm, so it has a great view over Dubai.

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I got back yesterday from a lovely week with my family in Australia. My cousin Sarah studies at university in Melbourne, and my Aunty and Uncle and Grandparents live in Canberra.

The original plan was for Sarah to come and visit in Dubai, but somehow that ended up not happening and I decided to make the most of my staff travel benefits (as I like to do every month!) and fly to Australia!

The flight was looking pretty good, with around 40 spare seats, so I booked my ticket and packed my bags. However as I double checked the loads the night before, suddenly there were only 3 seats available to Melbourne! Luckily the guys at staff travel did their best and I managed to get on, even it was the dreaded middle seat! But who’s complaining when you’re paying practically nothing 😉

13 hours later I finally arrived in Melbourne airport, and Sarah came to pick me up. As it was only around 6am we headed back to hers for the most important thing – sleep!

After some much needed sleep it was onto what somehow turned into a theme for the rest of the week – breakfast! Or more like brunch, although not in the Dubai sense of the word (going out on a Friday from 12-4 and eating and drinking as much as possible!).

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The morning after I landed from Hong Kong it was straight back to the airport….this time to pick up Mum! She’d flown out overnight to visit for a couple of days. As it was around 7am we went to my apartment for a cup of tea and a quick snooze. As it happened Dad’s flight got changed and he ended up having a layover in Dubai! So we popped over to his hotel to admire the views from his room on the 40th floor, and most importantly get some sun at the pool.

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We ended up staying most of the afternoon just lounging by the pool, relaxing and swimming. 

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After a while Mum and I walked back to my apartment to get ready for a trip to the Dubai mall. Dad stayed at his hotel to get some work done and arranged to meet us later for dinner. Mum was in search of a ball dress for my little brother’s high school graduation ball, and after browsing many shops and trying on quite a lot of dresses, we finally found one!

Dad came over and I cooked dinner and we had a very lovely evening!

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The next morning we decided to go and get some more sun, this time on the beach. My airline gives us free access to lots of hotel pools and beaches, however when we arrived at the Westin (our first choice) it was apparently a public holiday so no free entrance! Luckily there’s another hotel just down the road which we can use, so we headed on over there.

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After roasting in the sun and swimming alongside plenty of jellyfish in the sea we had a quick dip in the pool before heading back to mine to get ready for a surprise treat that I had planned!

Mum still had no idea where we were going and we soon pulled up to the beautiful Palace Downtown Hotel for….. Afternoon Tea!

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Lovely views from the huge windows inside the Al Bayt lounge, where afternoon tea is served.

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After choosing which type of tea we’d like, our waitress brought over two towering stands full of exquisite sandwiches, cakes and pastries, and most importantly, scones with jam and cream!

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We slowly made our way through it all, only leaving a couple of scones to take home with us.

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Once we’d finished, we had a stroll around the grounds of the hotel and admired the towering Burj Khalifa.

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Anyone for shisha?

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We then crossed over the bridge at Souk al Bahar for another walk around the mall. We may or may not have stopped at Laduree for some macarons to eat later…. 🙂

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We decided to go to the cinema as almost all of the films are in English. (Mum and Dad live in Austria so almost all of the films they see at the cinema are in German).

Even though we were still stuffed from the afternoon tea we sat outside for some dinner overlooking the fountains and the Burj. We managed to watch 4 separate lots of the fountains, each with a different song!

On Mum’s last morning we woke up early and headed down to the marina.

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I had originally planned on a walk around the Marina Walk, however for some reason a lot of it was boarded up or had scaffolding covering it. So we found a cafe serving breakfast and sat down in the shade. Even at 10am it was over 35 degrees! Summer has most definitely arrived in Dubai!

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The cafe we chose was located right next to the Dhow boat station (along with lots and lots of expensive yachts!) and we decided spontaneously to go for a boat tour. We ended up being the only passengers on there! 

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The trip took us along the marina, one side of The Palm, down JBR and back to the marina.

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The girl working on the boat insisted on taking lots of pictures of us 😀

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At one point we sailed right past the SkyDive Dubai runway and we saw lots of parachuters floating down.

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Before we knew it it was time to get back to mine, have a quick dip in the pool and for Mum to pack her bags.

We made it to the airport just in time for her flight and she got the last seat!

Thanks for coming Mum! 🙂

 

P.s. If you want more regular day to day updates of what’s going on in my life, follow me on Twitter and Instagram @rachelwwilson!

So after a month of no blogging I decided it was about time I wrote something again! Sometimes life gets in the way and things happen that you weren’t expecting.

The best cure? A day out with your best friend. Luckily, after a few tough weeks and not everything going as I had hoped, this was exactly what was on the cards, and after a busy flight to Manchester I was ready to go.

I hopped on the train to Sheffield, where Lucy is at university, and it was a beautiful sunny day. She was waiting for me at the train station, and we strolled down one of the main streets for a browse in the shops. (Of course!)
As she had to go to lectures in the afternoon and I had to get back to Manchester in time for the wake up call, we only had a few hours to spend together. After a spot of shopping we headed over towards the cathedral.

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We chose a little cafe next to the cathedral and sat by the window.

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Before we knew it, we’d ordered cream tea…scones with jam, clotted cream and a big pot of tea! 

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We sat and chatted until Lucy was going to be late for her lecture and I was going to miss the train if we didn’t stop talking, so she dropped me off at the station and we went our separate ways. The day was definitely far too short, but it was so lovely to catch up and get some much needed advice from one of the people who knows me best!

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I tried to get a picture of all the lovely hills covered in tiny little lambs, but of course the train was going a bit too fast! When I see the beautiful countryside England has to offer, I do sometimes wish I still lived there….and then I remember that 99% of the time it’s raining, haha!

A day trip in the sunshine with my lovely best friend was just what I needed, and it has definitely cheered me up a whole lot!

 

P.s. If you want more regular day to day updates of what is happening in my life, follow me on Twitter and Instagram @rachelwwilson!

 

Yesterday my friend Michelle and I decided to spend our day off doing something a little different (and very British!) by going for afternoon tea. After a bit of research online I chose Rhodes in Residence at Grosvenor House in the marina. Created by celebrity chef Gary Rhodes, it’s the first Michelin starred afternoon tea in Dubai!

We chose the “Classic Afternoon Tea” which included a free flow of soft drinks, fresh juices, and of course multiple pots of tea. We started off with some fresh orange juice and I went for some classic English Breakfast tea. Our first course was a beautiful array of finger sandwiches. Our waitress actually presented each course to us, and we had smoked salmon, roast beef, cream cheese and cucumber, lemon chicken, and quail’s egg and cress. As well as that we were served some melt-in-your-mouth mini cream cheese and herb croque monsieurs, and a duck pastry. 

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Just as we thought the savoury part was finished, we were given the special of the day, some delicious hot salmon and potato balls!

After that came the part I had most been looking forward to…scones! We were a little bit disappointed when they arrived as neither of us had expected them to be quite so small, but in hindsight this was probably a good thing! Onto our second pot of tea by now, we devoured them with jam and cream.

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Next came the cakes. Chocolate muffins, honey dundee cake, lemon and blueberry cake, victoria sponge, buttered raspberry crumpets, and Eton mess. All served warm and deliciously fresh. 

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We were both struggling by this point and didn’t manage to finish all the cakes, so they very kindly boxed them up for us….and we forgot to take them with us! 

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I just had to put a coupe of pictures of the bathroom on here as it was so pretty, even with a special seating/mirror area to re-do your make-up! 😉

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Full to the brim, we popped over to the Observatory bar at the Marriot (52nd floor!) for a cocktail, only to discover it was happy hour! Success!

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I had a lovely girly day catching up with Michelle and eating lots of sandwiches and cakes, and we shall definitely be doing it again!

P.s. sorry for the awful quality of the pictures, I only took my iPhone with me as my bag was too small to fit my camera in as well, ha ha!

 

P.p.s. If you want more regular day to day updates of what is happening in my life, follow me on Twitter and Instagram @rachelwwilson!