August 7, 2016

Wellness Family Affair at Zen the spa

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Before we headed to our month-long vacation to the Philippines at the end of July, Ferald and I went to take the kids at Zen the spa for a swim, yes for a swim and I kid you not.

Zen the spa located at Al Ghurair Rayhaan by Rotana in Deira is currently offering the Wellness Family Affair package for the whole family.

photo credit
For the price of AED 500 (AED 600 during weekends), your family gets a 60 minute aromatherapy massage OR a 60 minute facial for Mom, a 60 minute aromatherapy massage for Dad and swimming pool access for 2 kids

Zen the spa Reception with water feature at the entrance
minimalist Zen the spa waiting area
The last couple of weeks before our much awaited vacation was busy and rather stressful as we try to finalize all our work before leaving. The kids on the other hand were both bored at home and so the whole family actually needed this quick break that Zen the spa offers.

Our treatment started at 7 pm. After ensuring the kids are comfortable at the lounge area while they wait for our treatment to finish, with the spa staff looking after them, we were immediately led to the the changing room. There's a separate entrance for ladies and gents. Ferald went on his way and I on mine. I changed to my over-sized robe, put on my slippers, remove all my accessories and headed to the couple room reserved for us where we meet again. Lights were dimmed and a soft relaxing music played at the background to set the mood.

Zen the spa treatment room

Ferald and I both had the signature aroma therapy massage using de-tress oil with almond oil as base, mixed with lavender oil. He has a male therapist and I had Ni-Made. My massage therapist asked if I have a part in my body that I want her to focus on. I asked her to untie the knots in my back and my shoulders that are both bothersome. She made sure that I am comfortable before starting with my de-stress 60-minute aroma therapy massage. She applied soft medium pressure, just the right amount of pressure I can handle. Not too soft nor too hard. I felt so relaxed I almost fell asleep but I stayed awake to enjoy every minute of it. I felt like a renewed person altogether. An hour of massage for me is enough but this time it seems my body is yearning for more. I would definitely want to come back for another treatment, maybe a body scrub and a facial next time.

After the massage, Ferald said he is so ready to take on any adventure I am going ask him when we get to Manila. :D So was I.

He went to change and went out to see the kids while I was led by Ni-Made to the relaxation room to have some tea. I finished my tea quickly to join my family who were already at the entrance of Bodylines ready to go to the swimming pool. The kids were excited.

The pool is open until 11 pm and we have plenty of time for kids to enjoy swimming. There is an adult pool and a separate kids pool both with many lounge seats. I didn't swim because I still have my period so Ferald went to the water with my kids to assist Prince who still needs to perfect his swimming skills. They have a lifeguard but I am more comfortable if his dad will swim with him.

kids pool

adult pool
It was past 8 pm and we haven't had dinner. We checked out their poolside menu and ordered. Few minutes later our dinner is ready. We had burger sliders with fries on the side for Prince and burger for Ferald. It was delicious, the burger patty was juicy and flavorful. I ordered panini and Mica had some nachos. We also ordered a Margarita pizza to share. I adore how they set up this pool side dining for us.

It was such a wonderful experience I tell you.

"Mommy this is the best day ever!" That's what nailed it because whenever the kids say that, it means they truly enjoy the experience. Ferald and I couldn't agree more, it was indeed the best day this summer everrrrrrrrr!

Thanks to Al Ghurair Rayhaan by Rotana and Zen the spa for this amazing experience.

*We are guest of Zen the spa but all words, opinions and photos are mine except otherwise stated.
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July 5, 2016

Eid Mubarak!

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Happy Eid to all our Muslim brothers and sisters here in the Gulf and around the world.

I wish you all a very happy and peaceful Eid celebration. May Allah accept your good deeds, forgive your offenses and ease the suffering of all people in the world.

To my Muslim friends and my brother Dinoh who successfully finished their month of fasting, Eid Mubarak!
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July 3, 2016

Sort Out Your Salon Appointments with VANIDAY

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If Zomato is your go to app for all restaurants, bars and dining places in Dubai and Uber is for all your private transportation needs, what is your go to app for all your beauty and wellness needs?

Did I hear you say VANIDAY?

For me too! 

VANIDAY ( is a wonderful app (available on both IOS or Android) that I discovered recently. It is user friendly and booking a salon has never been this easy. With over 700 member salons (ladies and gents), spa and wellness centers around Dubai in their sleeves with actual customer ratings, you can never go wrong with this app.

My hair needed some tlc and I used VANIDAY to book an appointment with Sky Star Salon in Al Rigga Road for cellophane color. Sky - the salon owner did my hair before and I was happy with my curls. 

I don't have Sky Star Salons telephone number though yet I picked up my phone, tap my VANIDAY app and booked away. All you need to do is 1. Discover. 2. Book. 3. Enjoy. How easy is that? 

I know, it's easier with pictures so I am sharing these screen shots with you for you to see how I booked with Sky Star using VANIDAY.

If you don't have the VANIDAY app, download it now, but before that, I have news for all of you!

Book your service with VANIDAY worth AED 80 or more and get a AED 40 OFF your bill using my voucher/discount code CARLA4VANIDAY!

Here's how to use it.

1. Tap on your VANIDAY app

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June 22, 2016

Ramadan in Dubai 2016: 7 Iftars To Try

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Woah! I can't believe we are already halfway through Ramadan. I know, it just goes so fast right and yet here I am, posting a blog about Iftar previews I tried before Ramadan. Life sometimes gets in the way and I cannot help it but I won't let this season finish without having to share with you all the wonderful Iftars I've tried.

All of the Iftar previews I went to at the beginning of Ramadan serves buffet except for one. I am blessed to received many invitations and I am truly grateful.

If you are going in any Iftar buffet, I encourage you to take just enough of what can be consumed by the body instead of the eyes. There have been reports I've read in the newspaper of how much food is wasted during Ramadan which deviate from its true sense. I do hope that something can be done to address this issue.

Ramadan is the time of giving, togetherness, and reflection. It is a month of fasting from sunrise to sunset where our Muslim brothers abstain from food, drinking, smoking and sex. This is done primarily to cleanse ones body and spirit of all the earthly pleasures.

It also means families and friends gathering at the dinner table at sundown everyday either at home, in a restaurant or F&B outlets at hotels around town. There are so many places in Dubai to dine and we are spoiled with options.

Here are some of the Iftars we've tried and what we say about it.

1. Iftar Preview at Dusit Thani Hotel Dubai

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May 30, 2016

Bodega: Your Filipino Street Style Eatery in Dubai

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Sometimes, a wrong turn can bring you to the right place.

When we couldn't get a table one humid night at Carinderia ni Tandang Sora in Deira sometime ago for dinner, we had no choice but to move on to the next restaurant nearby because the kids were hungry.

But you know what; we never really regret it because we discovered this dope place that every Dubai resident is talking about.

We found Bodega Street Food.

Have you tried? How was it?

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May 25, 2016

Carinderia ni Tandang Sora Now in Karama Dubai

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There are many new Filipino restaurants now in Dubai with brands originating from the Philippines and there are many are others that are home grown too, owned by Pinoys working and living in Dubai for many years who have the guts to venture into food business. One of it is the humble eatery named after a Filipina revolutionary Mechora Aquino also know as Tandang Sora (Elder Sora) hence the name of the eatery Carinderia ni Tandang Sora.

A little info about Tandang Sora: In her native town, Tandang Sora operated a store which became a refuge for the sick and wounded revolutionaries. She fed, gave medical attention to and encouraged the revolutionaries with motherly advice and prayers. Secret meetings of the Katipuneros (revolutionaries) were also held at her house. Thus she earned the names "Woman of Revolution", "Mother of Balintawak", "Mother of the Philippine Revolution", and Tandang Sora (Tandang is derived from the Tagalog word matandâ, which means old).

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Our Children's Birthday Parties-Two Ways

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My kids have a six year gap. Both were born in April but one in the beginning of the month and the other at the end.

We thought that celebrating their birthday at the same time is both practical and economical which we did during our daughters 7th birthday and sons 1st birthday. We chose a date to celebrate it (Friday since it's the weekend and many friends can attend) and pour all efforts to make it a memorable one.


Then they grew up and the day came when our pre-teen daughter and our six year old son have different ideas of a birthday party. The latter still wants a children's birthday party while his sister wants just a hang out with friends and schoolmates on her birthday.

Ferald and I only wants what's best for our kids and we imagined the type of birthday parties we can give them but they are both growing up and their opinion matters so we ask them what kind of birthday party they want and they gave us totally different answers.

Prince: I want a birthday party at Mc Donalds. (totally for kids his age)

Mica: I want a birthday party at Al Mamzar Park with my friends and classmates.

Ferald and I who swear to provide enough to our children put on our genie hat and zhazammm!!! gave them the party they asked for. Not an extravagant one but something that we can afford.

Prince 6th Birthday Party at Mc Donalds. 

Why a birthday party at Mc Donalds? Because he ask for it, and his decision made this birthday party planning simple for me because all I have to bring is the birthday cake and Mc Donalds takes care of the rest. They provide the venue with decorations and sound system, party host, food, loot bags, game prizes, a gift for the birthday celebrant, and special appearance of our all time favorite mascot Hamburglar.

Prince is six and I think this one will stick, something he can remember vaguely probably but will feel happy about it when he remembers. (I hope so)

I mean like this happy!

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May 18, 2016

Garage Clothing Ripped Boyfriend Jeans 3 Ways

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When Garage Clothing had a giveaway tour last year, I got myself a ripped, distressed boyfriend jeans. Thanks to one of the staff who literally ask me to turn around for her to see my hips and behind to tell me exactly which size will fit me. I have an hourglass body shape (or not) and I wasn't so sure in the beginning that what she gave would fit me but when I tried it at home, it was a perfect fit. I always have a hard time shopping for denim jeans and most of the time after trying it on, I end up returning it in the rack because it doesn't suit me.

Now, this Garage Clothing ripped boyfriend jeans that I got by chance is one of my favorite pair of jeans in my closet. Although I find it hard to style it sometimes, I already wore it three times, three different ways and I love it. Being an almost plus size me is challenging but as they say you have to learn how to dress your body type and not the size you want to be. Finding inspiration from Pinterest and Instagram helps a lot.

I can't wait to wear my ripped jeans again. For now here is how I wore it three ways.

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