Tuesday, September 17, 2013

Spa Cordon at Sky Gardens

My colleague and I had the privilege to try one of the newest city spa in Dubai located at the concourse level of the Sky Gardens in DIFC. Spa Cordon which opened last November 2012 is the brainchild of Lea Cordon Rouf, a Filipina who has a global experience in operating spas.

We are welcome with a sparkling date drink as we arrived in the spa. The reception was small but neat and has a warm feel. Since I would like to document our experience so I ask the receptionist if I can take some pictures but I was told that it was strictly not allowed.

Since we are having a massage, we were ask to chose the essential oils we would like them to use for the treatment. I chose almond oil which is good for dry skin mixed with peppermint oil and my friend had grape-seed oil for oily skin mixed also with peppermint oil. After choosing the oils, we were ushered to the changing room, we put on our swimwear because we are going to use the wet facilities. Once we're on our swimwear we slide on to our robes and slippers and are directed to the connecting room - the spa wet area has a steam room, sauna and Jacuzzi and we were fully assisted by one of the spa attendant. When we are done using the wet area, we are ready to receive our massage treatment. We chose to have the treatment in the same room, we feel more comfortable that way than having a separate room for each of us. We first change to some disposable undergarment before we lie down on our beds. Lei - the therapist and her colleague are both very nice and kind, they even check with us if the lighting and music is fine before the treatment.

She let me inhale three times on the the essential oils first before applying it on my back and started massaging. It felt so good, divine actually. I needed this after all the stress I've had in the recent months. She knew I am stressed, my nodules are big and my back is very hard. Regular massage according to her will help to relieve stress.

The last stop was in a relaxation room where we are served with tea of our choice. I had ginger and lemongrass tea which smells like our very own salabat in my home country and my friend had some cinnamon and bay leaf tea with honey.

I manage to get a a screen shot of Spa Cordon from its website.

If you are busy and there is no time to escape the city, this day spa is a good option to relax, retreat, rejuvenate and revitalize.

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Tips and Tricks on Potty Training Prince

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I did it!

Peeing standing up wasn't an issue for Prince, he learned it quite very fast and he is a natural. He is less than three when he learned to pee on his own and also stays dry all night and only had very few accidents. He had his dad and his 4 year old cousin to copy when they are in the toilet doing their business they are his role models but something was left out, he relied on diapers for bowel movement. I was worried that he will get used to it and cling on it, I wanted him to understand that pee and poo both belong in the same place - the toilet - so when we run out of diapers, I did not get another pack so he will be encourage to use the potty. 

We showed him again his cars potty seat we bought many months ago-his choice of course, place it on the toilet seat for him to use. He was not comfortable with this idea, he would sit for few minutes and then stand up. On the third day, he probably could not hold it longer and he sit and succeeded. We are all proud of him so we rewarded him with his favorite chocolate. He was also proud of his accomplishment and promised to use the potty seat next time. That next time took two days, not bad right and hopefully it will be down to one day like everyday.

They say boys are longer to potty train compared to girls and it holds true for my daughter and son. If you are potty training your son right now you need to remember that

one: he needs a role model - dad or older brother or cousin (boys)
two: buy the necessary equipment like potty seat or potty - let him to chose
three: rewards and praises works

Do you have extra tips and tricks on potty training, please feel free to share it here. 
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Sunday, September 15, 2013

How did I sponsor my husband in Dubai

Hi guys! It's been a while since my last post. How have you been?

Me? Busy trying to put our life back on track. My better half became unemployed two months ago and our status in UAE was put to the test. We were pressured even more when it was time for his employment visa cancellation.

The best thing that happened to us, after all our efforts and a few buckets of tears was, we finally got him a Dubai residence visa under my sponsorship. Stress down to 50%. How did we do it? Let me share it with you.

In Dubai, there is a visa called the husband's or father's visa. This is a type of residency visa whereby your sponsor is your husband or your father. In my case, I became my husband's sponsor. But there's a catch. My profession falls into a category that is not qualified to sponsor a husband in Dubai. For that reason, we approached the humanitarian section of the Dubai Immigration office to ask for the committee's consideration.

Sponsoring a husband in Dubai - Step by Step Process

Step 1: We went to a typing center and have an application typed for an entry permit, paid 250 AED

Document required:

1. Passport copy of the sponsored person with a copy of the canceled visa
2. Visa cancellation paper and termination letter
3. Sponsor's passport copy and visa page
4. Arabic salary certificate issued by the sponsor's employer
5. Attested marriage certificate
6. Passport copy of children with visa page (if applicable)
7. Attested tenancy contract (Ejari for Dubai) must be in the name of the sponsor
8. Water and Electricity Bill (DEWA)
9. Three months bank statement

Step 2: We presented the papers to the humanitarian section.

At first, I was told that my profession is not qualified to sponsor my husband which I am already aware of. We requested the good local lady if she can accept and allow me to try to have my papers presented to the committee. She told me to go to the cashier and pay committee fees of 130 AED and come back to her. I did what I was told. After scanning my application, she gave me a small receipt and told me to wait for 7-10 working days. Believe me, it was the longest 10 days of my life. I stayed patient, praying that the good heavens are with me on this. On the 7th day, I received an SMS asking me to go to Dubai immigration to follow up on my husband's visa application.

I waited patiently on the bench for my token to be called. When I was called, I gave the small receipt to the same local lady who received my application when I submitted it the first time. She looks at it and went to the shelf where all the papers are filed and took my husband application. She checked it, looked at me and asked if he is inside the country and I told her yes.

Step 3: She then handed over to me a bunch of paper and ask me to pay 2000 AED deposit and 680 AED for the inside country and come back to her. The feeling was overwhelming. I had to ask her again if it was approved before the idea sinks in. It has been approved by the committee. I was thrilled that I am approved to sponsor my husband and that there's no need for him to go for a visa run. I paid the fees and went back to her then she issued me the pink paper. My hands were shaking when I received it. I was so happy.

Step 4: The process didn't finish there. There was plenty of things to do. She told me to go for typing again for a change of status. For this typing, I paid another AED 610. This is actually better than leaving the country because it's the same amount of money we will spend on airfare had I sent him to Kish Island. When typing is done, I went back to the entry permit - ladies section. I gave the passport and entry visa. There it was stamped to show that he had entered the country and gave me a change of status paper.

Step 5: From then onwards, we have two months to stamp the visa to his passport. To do that, he has to go for a medical test which is more or less AED 300 and Emirates ID application AED 170 for 1 year. When these are done, we went back to Duba Immigration to submit the papers and passport and the visa was stamped to it. The issued visa is only valid for a year.

It was indeed a very long process and it requires almost a fortune but it is cheaper and less stressful than going for a visa run every now and then until he gets fully employed again. He had quite a few interviews already and we are patiently waiting for the right opportunity to arrive. I hope it comes soon.

***This is based on our personal experience and yours might be different. Please bear in mind that Dubai Immigration asses each case differently.

Have you ever experienced something like this before or are you in the same situation right now? Please feel free to leave your comments below.

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Wednesday, July 17, 2013

Molten Chocolate Cake

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I bought some ramekins a long time ago, probably 3 to 4 years back but I never used them. I put them in good use the other night when I baked some desserts.

Molten Chocolate Cake is one of our favorite desserts and I tried to re-create it at home. It turned out just fine and we had a very rich molten chocolate cake topped with a scoop vanilla ice cream for dessert after dinner the other night. It was so good I finished one serving of the cake with two scoops of ice cream.

Bed time came and I couldn't sleep, Ferald neither and even the kids were all feeling the same. I was up until 4 am, thank God I have Sydney Sheldon book to accompany me after Ferald already find his comfortable spot to snooze. Sorry to say but I blame it to the chocolate but what can I do it was all so good, so yummy. I promise, no lies.

I actually did the shortcut on how to do this but it's up to you if you would like to follow the long way or the short way. The short way worked for me and I have no complaints.

I followed the recipe from here but I did follow the procedure I saw on YouTube how chefs do it. This recipe yields 5


1/2 cup unsalted butter
170 grams semisweet chocolate chopped
3 large eggs
1/3 cup granulated sugar and 1 tbsp granulated sugar
1/3 cup flour
1 tsp vanilla extract
1/8 tsp salt or cream of tartar

Preheat oven 400 F or 200 C. Butter your ramekins and coat with granulated sugar, set aside

Take a heatproof bowl placed it on top of the pot with boiling water (no contact) or a double broiler and melt butter and chocolate. Remove bowl from heat, whisk in eggs one at a time, sugar, vanilla extract, flour and salt, whisk until combined, pour in the ramekins and pop in the oven for about 10 to 15 minutes. Once it's cooked, remove from the oven and let sit for 2 minutes. Run sides with a sharp knife and transfer to a plate, topped with scoop or scoops of vanilla ice cream or your favorite fruit. serve and enjoy.

1 serving can actually be shared by two but I am warning you it's so good, I'm sure you'll ask for more.

Happy eating.
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Tuesday, July 09, 2013

Baking at 10

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as in at 10 pm. Mica whose on school vacation is into baking. Her requests to bake at past 10 pm sometimes gets into me but yes I am a mom who would not forsake her children request to learn so yeah we were mixing and folding batter at suppose to be bedtime. And note I am awake since 6:30 am which means by 10 pm I am already a zombie. To add up to that, the little guy seems to be so enthusiastic about her sisters qualms of me not diving into their fits tugs me forcibly into the kitchen. Pulling and pushing and wet kisses and big hugs is how they entice me to pull out the ingredients from the pantry.

What did we bake? Banana and Nutella Muffins

If you want to make a batch of 12 of your own banana nutella muffins you will need
1 3/4 cup of flour (better if you have self raising flour)
2 tsp baking powder
3/4 cups sugar
2 eggs
1/2 cup melted butter
3 ripe bananas
1 tsp vanilla extract
nutella - depends on how rich you like your muffins

Pre-heat oven to 180C or 350F. Line your baking pan with muffin liners. In a bowl mix flour, sugar and salt and in another bowl add eggs, butter, vanilla and mashed bananas. Tip wet mixture to dry mixture and fold. Divide mixture into twelve cases half full. Add warmed nutella in each batter in the case and swirl. Swirling is the fun part for the kiddos but be sure not to turn the whole thing chocolatey. Do this for all and then pop it into your over and bake for 20-25 minutes. Stick a toothpick in the middle of the muffin and when it comes out clean it is done. Let to cool down and serve while still warm

The little helper can't wait and was telling me to take the semi cook muffins out of the oven and look there he was after I serve it on the table. It was still hot that's why he could not touch it but boy he was the first to taste it.

Trivia: Nutella is a brand name of hazelnut chocolate spread.
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Monday, July 08, 2013

Running in Al Majaz

This is hard to say but I stopped going to the gym, the lazy bum in me is more dominating than ever but I have found a new way to get moving and get fit. I used to wake up now early on Fridays to run in the park nearby our house. A five minutes walk and I can start my days exercise. I know it is not enough and I must exercise at least 3 times a week and I need to find another way to get moving.

Last Friday I run carrying a towel and my mobile phone and without water and I took a lot of photos using the phone camera. Al Majaz Park and Al Majaz Waterfront is picture perfect in the morning.

Free play area for kids, Carrefour on the background where we used to buy our groceries

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Sunday, July 07, 2013

DSS - Bedtime Stories

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Today is the last day of the month long Dubai Summer Surprises and surprise surprise, I almost forgot about taking the kids to some fun entertainment around. Each malls in Dubai has their own events tailor made for kids and loadzzzz of sale for the adults. So before DSS bid us good bye, I took the kids to Mall of the Emirates last Thursday after work. We watch Bedtime Stories. Oh no... it's not the Adam Sandler movie, its actually an acrobatic show for the kids. My son and daughter were so delighted in this fun filled show. Upload the video on You Tube to share here. The girl in pink, what is she callled? A Contortionist - one who contorts especially an acrobat capable of twisting into extraordinary  positions

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